America is a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of laws…
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
--Theodore Roosevelt, 1907
We are blessed to be a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws.
The crisis on our Southern border underscores the inadequacy of our federal government’s efforts to secure that border and the mixed messages that are being sent to people living in Central America by President Obama’s clearly stated reluctance to enforce our immigration laws.
Our nation's immigration laws need to be thoroughly reviewed and extensively changed. However, first and foremost, we need to enforce our existing immigration laws and take all necessary steps to secure our borders.
Since my earliest days in Congress, I have been active in the effort to secure our borders. Back then, I voted for the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-208) to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted and to increase sanctions against those who enter our country illegally. I also supported efforts to end welfare and food stamp benefits for non-citizens (P.L. 104-193).
Regrettably, it took the horrific events of September 11, 2001 to draw the nation’s attention to the glaring shortcomings in our immigration enforcement system. Since that time, however, I have strongly supported several pieces of important legislation: the USA-Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, e-Verify, the Border Security Act, the VISA Reform Act, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) overhaul.