We are a nation of immigrants. As the grandson of immigrants, I strongly believe that immigration is the lifeblood of our nation. But today our immigration system is broken. For too long the federal government has not done enough to secure our borders or enforce immigration laws already on the books. The border situation is even more serious now because it's not just undocumented workers trying to enter the country looking for work but rather organizations seeking to exploit our porous borders to smuggle weapons and drugs into the U.S. So, it is imperative that we take serious measures to solve the border problem, not just talk about it.
As we seek to fix problems on our southern border, we must simultaneously address undocumented immigrants who are already here, specifically recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress must take action to protect these young adults who know no other country to call home, which is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1468, the Recognizing America’s Children Act (RAC). This legislation provides a path to legal status for young people known as Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as children. Specifically, the RAC Act would provide a 5-year conditional legal status to young undocumented immigrants if they pursue higher education, continual employment, or military service. These individuals would be eligible for permanent residency if they continue to meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a clean criminal record. This bill offers a permanent and fair solution, while supporting the values of the United States of America and helping the American economy.
As Congress works to craft an immigration package, I will also advocate for the federal government to (a) find ways to better meet employer needs by streamlining and expanding U.S. visa programs; (b) require employer use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system (also known as e-verify); and (c) implement biometric entry-exit visa tracking for those who overstay their visas. I have cosponsored E-Verify legislation and supported the STEM Jobs Act to provide green cards to graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Under our current system, we educate scientists and engineers only to send them home to work for our competitors abroad. We should modernize our system to keep that knowledge and talent here at home.