Issue Position: Securing Our Border and Fixing Our Broken Immigration System

Issue Position

Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Issues: Immigration

"For far too long, the federal government has failed us when it comes to immigration. Arizona, and our nation, needs a comprehensive solution on immigration that works for workers, employers and our security."

Arizona shares the second-longest border with Mexico, after Texas. Every day, law enforcement fights a losing battle with criminal drug, weapons and human traffickers as well as workers and families looking for a better life here in Arizona. Sinema believes now is the time to act, and supports a comprehensive approach that increases resources to ensure our border is safe and secure, creates a market-based solution that meets the demand for skilled and unskilled labor in our country, and settles the status of millions of undocumented workers in our country. Mass deportations are not an option -- not only would the cost to taxpayers be astronomical, but it would be unfair and inhumane to many families. Sinema believes instead that we need to create a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented workers that requires them to get right with the law by paying back taxes, paying a fine and learning English as a condition of gaining citizenship.

Because she believes that the violent criminal syndicates that physically abuse and harm people must be stopped, she has stood up against the smuggling cartels that profit from human smuggling. Her law to toughen penalties against the landlords of "drop houses" used by the cartels to house illegal immigrants, often against their will, was recently signed into law.

She has also stood up against politicians who have targeted immigrants with unfair efforts that go too far. In 2011, when Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce introduced a package of anti-immigrant bills, Sinema teamed up with conservative legislators, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders to stop these bills, including one that would not recognize "birthright" citizenship, a right guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the US Constitution. Sinema helped build a coalition strong enough to move conservative votes away from Republican Senate President Russell Pearce to defeat the bills.

Sinema is also proud to support the DREAM Act. She believes that children who grew up in the U.S., who came here through no fault of their own, speak English and think of themselves as American should be allowed to become American citizens. Many of these students know no other country but ours, have served in uniform to defend it, are educated and ready to work, and deserve a legal path to U.S. citizenship. In addition, the DREAM Act would help reduce the federal budget deficit and increase our military readiness. Sinema helped lead the fight in support of the Arizona DREAM Act in Arizona, and will support it in Congress.