As the son of Cuban exiles, the continued I am proud of our nation’s rich ethnic diversity. I know, from first-hand experience, the great and generous spirit of the American people and the opportunities our nation provides to all who are willing and able to work for it. This spirit is what attracts so many immigrants to our nation, searching for a better life for themselves and their families. However, we have to maintain an orderly process to promote legal entry into our country.
Our nation, like any other, has the right and responsibility to secure its borders. We must be able to know who is coming in and out of our country, and we must insist all border traffic be legal. We must also show compassion to the victims of our broken immigration system – young men and women brought to our country as children by no fault of their own.
To do this effectively, our immigration system must be modernized. We need the capability to track visa holders who overstay, making-up nearly half of the undocumented population in America. Our nation needs an expanded guest worker program that will help fill the jobs Americans are not seeking, especially in agriculture. And while we must demand accountability from those who enter our country illegally, we should establish an earned path to legalization for those who have abided by our laws and contributed to our economy – especially those who were brought to the country as minors by their parents. These young people have grown up here, they love this country, and they should be granted an opportunity to become American citizens.
It’s why I joined with Republicans and Democrats to force House Leadership to hold the first comprehensive immigration debate in over a decade. The compromise legislation I helped craft would have guaranteed $25 billion in funding for border security, reformed asylum laws that are currently being exploited by human traffickers along the Southern border, modernized our legal immigration system to focus on merit and better complement our economy, and provide an earned bridge into the legal immigration system for nearly 2 million young immigrants who were brought into the United States as children. I strongly believe that one day soon, legislation like it will become law.
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