The United States is a nation of immigrants and was founded on ideals that honor this tradition. The feedback I hear from my neighbors in south-central Michigan and other Americans is nearly unanimous: our immigration system is broken. I believe it is in dire need of real, lasting reform, and I propose we begin with:
Securing Our Borders
Failing to secure our borders and ports of entry poses a security risk to our citizens and ignores the rule of law. In the 114th Congress, I helped pass H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act which funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More recently, in July 2015 I supported and the House passed H.R. 1634, the Border Security Technology Accountability Act, which make border security technology more efficient. We must also provide law enforcement with the proper training, technology and resources to enforce our current laws and reduce the threat of drugs, weapons, and human trafficking coming across our borders.
With the on-going threat of ISIS and the Syrian refugee crisis, I have joined my House colleagues in passing commonsense measures to ensure the safety of the American people. H.R. 4058, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act requires that, in addition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) screening, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shall take all actions necessary to ensure that each covered alien receives a background investigation before U.S. refugee admission.
Michigan has a long and rich tradition as a welcoming state, and we can provide humanitarian assistance while at the same time prioritizing the safety of our citizens. We need absolute certainty that rigorous vetting procedures are in place and enhanced safety measures are taken to protect the people of Michigan and all Americans.
Enforcing the Law
With over 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States, it is apparent that we need to do more to uphold our laws. Our current system encourages people to break the law and punishes those who abide by it, ultimately harming both prospective legal immigrants and hardworking Americans. I believe we must empower state and local law enforcement, and equip Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce federal immigration law, and demand that the Department of Justice uphold the laws in place. Also, we must ensure local and state officials are fully complying with federal law. For this reason, I supported in July 2015 H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act to make a state or local subdivision ineligible for state criminal alien assistance program funding if it has any law, policy, or procedure prohibiting or restricting communication with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or prohibits state or local law enforcement officials from gathering information regarding an individual's citizenship or immigration status.
Cutting the Red-Tape for Legal Immigration
Census Bureau - Population Clock
Immigrants who want to join our citizenry should be encouraged and assisted in doing so the same way millions of immigrants have legally done so for generations. We need to create a work permit program that eliminates bureaucratic red-tape and meets the evolving needs of economy, especially our agricultural, educational, and technological sectors. Right now, more than half of the undocumented population are visa overstays, which highlights the difficulty in renewing work visas. Instead of punishing lawful immigrants with a burdensome system, we should instead work towards fostering an environment where employers’ needs are being met by job-seeking, productive individuals who want to work.
As the House considers its own package of bills to reform immigration policy, please know I will support measures that honor our nation's founding tradition of legal immigration, secures our borders, and addresses the bureaucratic red-tape which prevents legal immigrants from entering our country and helping to meet our workforce needs.