Like millions of other Americans, my father came to this country searching for a better life for himself and his family. As a result, I have lived on the US-Mexico border throughout my life, and for these reasons immigration reform has a special and personal interest to me.
I believe that America needs strict, intelligent, and comprehensive immigration reform. I support an immigration plan that includes improved border security, a better system for the legal entry of workers and a realistic proposal for dealing with undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.
First and foremost, I agree that our borders require more protection. We have all heard about the high crime rates in our border communities. Recent measures to address such problems include measures to deploy members of the National Guard in a support role along the border and the use of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, both of which I oppose.
Our goal should be to create smarter borders, not fences and walls. I also believe that the duty of securing our nation’s borders is better left to the professionals who have been assigned this responsibility and who have been trained for the mission such as Border Patrol agents who are familiar with the daily challenges that we face on the border, and have been provided the technology and resources they need. We can also take stronger command of our borders by implementing stricter screenings at our consulates and ports of entry, better use of technology, and by ensuring that our law enforcement agencies have both the necessary staff and resources to do their jobs.
Furthermore, to secure our border we need a temporary guest worker plan that creates a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country for a limited period of time. If an American employer is offering a job that American citizens are not willing to take- backbreaking agricultural work in the fields, hard work in our meat-packing plants, or labor on their hands and knees to scrub the floors of our hotels- we ought to welcome into our country a person who will fill that job. Such jobs should be available to any American who wants to do it first, but many of us know all too well that oftentimes there is no one willing to do these jobs.
Lastly, I believe that criminalizing all undocumented men, women, and children is wrong. It would be both highly unlikely and impractical on many levels to imprison every illegal immigrant in our country due to the negative budgetary and economic impact it would have on our nation. We have a moral obligation to maintain the standard of living for our citizens and our guests by upholding basic humanitarian principles and values.
Americans by birth or Americans by choice, we are Americans. And together, we must act to make our journey together a safe and orderly process that preserves and fulfills the American dream, “with liberty and justice for all”.