We are and always have been a nation of immigrants, and our diversity makes us stronger culturally and economically. I believe in keeping our nation and borders safe, but I also believe in uniting families, welcoming refugees, and addressing the challenges faced by over 12 million undocumented immigrants. I have a long record of supporting bipartisan efforts for comprehensive immigration reform, and will continue to work toward national and local solutions to the problems in our current immigration system.
A Pathway to Citizenship
Twelve million undocumented immigrants in the United States are living in the shadows, and as a result of their status face immense challenges. The creation of a rigorous path to citizenship for these individuals, as well as the expansion of legal visa programs, would keep families together and be in keeping with America’s values. It would also strengthen our economy and security. I have been a consistent supporter of a pathway to citizenship, including the 13-year path laid out in recent bipartisan reform legislation. While this legislation has not yet passed, I remain committed to achieving comprehensive reform in the near future.
I am particularly concerned about the fate of DREAMers and their families. DREAMers came to this country as children, and in most cases have worked hard to excel in school and contribute to their home in the United States. These young people deserve to legally stay in the country they love while they pursue their citizenship.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I take any security threat to the country very seriously. I believe that effective border security is a key component of comprehensive reform, and is essential to the rule of law. At the same time, I do not support efforts to criminalize immigrant communities or to militarize the border. We should be focused on protecting our border without giving the inaccurate impression that our country believes all immigrants are dangerous.
Growing Our Economy and Holding Employers Accountable
Immigration creates jobs, increases our tax base, and strengthens our economy. Comprehensive reform would also level the playing field so that American citizens are competing for jobs on even footing, because it would prevent employers from intentionally hiring undocumented workers in order to pay them under the table or skirt the minimum wage. We can further eliminate the incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers by holding them accountable through systems like E-Verify, a system for verifying the immigration status of employees.
I believe that one of the cornerstones of our country is that we welcome refugees from around the world who are escaping violence, oppression, and disease. These men, women and children come to us looking for help and as Americans we have a responsibility to provide it to them. As long as I hold a position in Congress, I will advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees from all countries to make a home in the United States. I will continue to fight against discrimination in our immigration system and challenge the Muslim travel ban.
President Trump’s Travel Ban and “Extreme Vetting”
President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, which are making their way through the courts, are the wrong approach to immigration reform. I believe that the President’s order restricting entry to the United States from six predominately Muslim countries is unconstitutional and discriminatory. By banning immigrants and refugees from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, he is closing our country’s doors to individuals facing violence and unrest who seek safety and opportunity in the United States. I take any security threat to the country very seriously, but this order casts all immigrants and refugees as terrorists, overlooking the millions who have come to our country legally and peacefully.