America has a rich and proud history of immigration, my grandfather migrated to Little Falls from Slovakia in 1912. He, like so many immigrants today, came in search of a better life.
The world has changed a lot since those days, but America remains a beacon of hope for those around the world who yearn for freedom and opportunity. If we are to continue to honor that proud tradition, we must first secure our freedoms here at home – by ensuring we remain a nation of laws.
The need to reform our immigration system highlights one of the best examples of the failure of elected officials from both political parties to perform their most basic responsibilities. They have absolutely failed to secure our borders and ensure we know who is entering our country. This is a national security issue, a law and order issue and an economic issue.
Today our immigration system is a disgrace with more than 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States outside the law. At the same time immigrants trying to come here legally can wait more than 15 years to obtain legal citizenship. A system that penalizes those who follow the law and rewards those who do not is in clear need of reform.
In Congress, I will work to promote a common-sense immigration policy that enhances our nation’s security and promotes economic vitality.
First and foremost, we must secure our borders.
No amnesty, we must enforce existing immigration laws.
We must cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.
We must address immigrants who came here illegally. If they have committed crimes they need to be deported. If they have been upstanding citizens we need to send them to the back of the line, with penalties, to become citizens.
We must perform comprehensive background checks on every individual seeking entry into the county to reduce the possibility of domestic terror attacks.
We must perform “extreme vetting” on immigrants coming from troubled regions of the world such as the Middle East or nations that support terror.
We must shift the focus of immigration policy to encourage the entry of those with skills we need to grow our economy.
We must also reform our guest worker visa program to ensure our farmers have steady and reliable access to the skilled labor they need to run their farms, regardless of their sector of agriculture or size of their farming operation.
Finally, according to Kauffman Foundation more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in 2010 were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. Indeed a study earlier this year found that immigrants created almost 51% of US startup companies who advanced to being valued at more than $1 billion.
We need these jobs and we are home to the finest colleges and universities that are educating many of these immigrants. That is why we must look closely at reforming our immigration system to ensure that we have an opportunity to keep the brilliant innovators, scientists and would be entrepreneurs who are the job creators of tomorrow.
In Congress, I will work to advance legislation like the EB-JOBS Act of 2015 to provide qualified entrepreneurs with a two-year green card that would be revoked if certain financial and job-creation requirements aren’t met.