Diversity Is Our Strength
WHAT I THINK:
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is way past due. We must insist that Congress resolve this issue and that the Dream Act be maintained in the short term until comprehensive immigration reform has become law. Our borders must be protected to keep out those who are bringing in drugs or would desire to harm our citizens. We must look carefully at our current border control system and create an environment that fosters fairness, compassion, and transparency. As one of the most powerful police forces in the country, the US Customs & Border Patrol (CPB) and US Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have not been held accountable for their actions. The current rounding up of innocent illegal immigrants who have been living here for decades with no criminal history must be stopped. These men and women have been the backbone of our economy for years and have done many of the jobs that our more educated workforce is not willing to do.
Our current immigration situation on the Mexican border is a humanitarian crisis. As the richest nation in the world, we should be focused on how we can go to Central America and help these people make positive changes to their living conditions. Climate Change has ravaged their ability to grow food and they are literally starving to death. We have the resources to galvanize a humanitarian commission to take on this challenge and bring them solutions for sustainable agriculture, combatting corruption, breaking up gangs, education reform, and building a sustainable economy. Once we are able to bring them long-term solutions to their situation, they will no longer be seeking to immigrate to the United States in mass numbers.
Our illegal immigration problem is actually a symptom of our unskilled labor shortage. Many of the jobs that illegal immigrants do are not desirable for the US worker and even if they would do them, they would demand higher pay. This creates a problem for a variety of industries such as agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and construction, etc. Employers have to get the unskilled laborers to keep their businesses running. So, they simply look the other way and hire illegal immigrants for low wages to do the work others will not do. The current immigration system uses the voluntary E-Verify system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Since the program is voluntary, it is virtually useless to prevent employers from hiring and abusing illegal immigrants.
WHAT I’LL DO:
I will vote to protect the Dream Act to ensure these well-vetted and responsible young adults have a pathway to citizenship that’s fair and equitable. These young people are here working and serving our country and deserve to receive protection I will work to push for comprehensive immigration reform and expanded guest worker VISAs. This will allow companies in the construction, HVAC, plumbing, hospitality, agriculture, restaurant, high-tech, manufacturing, and solar industries to continue to meet the demands of the growing economy. We cannot allow the lack of a clear and comprehensive immigration policy to become a barrier to companies to staff their businesses. Inaction on comprehensive immigration reform will eventually stifle our economy. Legal immigration has always been at the heart of what makes the United States unique, self-sufficient, and successful and it should be encouraged.
I will work to ensure that the US Customs & Border Control is transparent and accountable. They are the most powerful police force in the country and have been allowed to operate in the shadows. Our region is reliant on the labor from immigrants and I will fight to make sure that our neighbors are treated fairly and with compassion.
The E-Verify system should be made mandatory for all employers in specific high-risk industries, such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, etc. that are known to use illegal immigrants in their business operations. As soon as that happens, corporate America will demand comprehensive immigration reform. I will put forward legislation that makes E-Verify mandatory for all high-risk employers in the United States.