Our country is great due to the hard work of immigrants who contribute and helped build this great nation we so love.
Just as my family and so many before and since they came seeking opportunity to take care of their families and to chart a new future. That is why the immigration issue is so important to me. I believe Immigration reform is a human rights and an economic issue and one that requires a bipartisan comprehensive approach to improve.
During my time working as a Senate staff member, I helped countless families navigate the complexities of what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), State Department, and consular officers in embassies across the world. I saw the immense challenges people had immigrating legally, much less how others enter illegally. We must reform the legal pathways to immigrate while mitigating the illegal paths others choose.
Immigrants help our nation meet our workforce requirements. Many are essential workers who are keeping our farming, agriculture and food supply moving, keeping the restaurant going, individuals making sure our grocery stores are operating, and our trucking and transportation system workers ensuring products arrive at their intended destination.
I support a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that:
- Improves border security and enforcement by redirecting funds for a border wall to more effective safety and security measures
- Reforms the current inadequate quota system and waiting period for people from designated countries
- End family separation policies that orphans children left in the US when parents are deported
- Continues US direct foreign aid directed at specific countries to stabilize the issues that cause people to come to the US illegally – lack of work in their home country, political persecution and violence, economic strife, food insecurity, climate change, amongst other issues
- Stricter enforcement of temporary and visitor visas for those that overstay
- Creates a temporary protective status that gives people a way to live and work in the US legally. Those that broke the law should make amends – pay a fine, pass a criminal background check, pay back taxes, work in an area deemed an essential service, low-income community or another area with critical worker shortages, and meet a minimum residency requirement prior to gaining a legal or permanent residency status
- Grants legal permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients
- Tightens H1-B visa and other employer visa categories to deter those who use this status to usurp the system
It is long past the time to address the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country. It is impractical to think we can deport them all, completely shut down our borders, or build a wall long and tall enough to keep people out of the country. It is simply not possible, nor practical. We need a bipartisan compromise and achievable solutions, not divisive fear-mongering rhetoric designed to drive division and fear, less partisanship, and more bipartisan compromise.