America is a melting pot, a nation made unusually strong by the wonderful blend of those who came to this country legally, with a strong work ethic, searching for the promises and opportunities of the American dream. My ancestors came from Europe, and part of my wife's family emigrated from Lebanon.
Sadly, today's immigration system is badly broken. Because of misguided reforms in previous generations, we now lack a fair, orderly, and efficient immigration system. Far too many individuals are in the shadows of our society, while others are caught in a cycle of poverty and government dependency.
Clearly, reform is necessary.
However, it is critical we carefully consider the options and avoid unintended consequences. For example, amnesty would only encourage additional illegal immigration, making the problem worse.
Our borders must be secured first. This is a basic national security issue, as it is critical we know who is in our country. After the borders are secured and we stem the tide of illegal immigrants, further reform becomes easier to implement.
We are proudly a nation of immigrants, and I salute those who play by the rules and make the effort to enter America legally. Surprisingly, I was the first United States Congressman to attend a citizenship ceremony in Charlotte, welcoming our new friends and neighbors.
We need to ensure the rules are fair, provide for current employment needs, and provide real consequences for those who break the rules.
America does not punish children for the mistakes of their parents, so it's only fair we provide a pathway to citizenship for those illegally brought into our country as children. We should also consider citizenship for undocumented immigrants who earn advanced degrees and those who bravely serve our country in the military.
Amnesty is not an option, but national security dictates we bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows. Undocumented workers who desire to stay in the United States should be offered the opportunity to register with local authorities, providing fingerprints or other physical identification in exchange for some sort of work permit or legal status, but not citizenship. The privilege of citizenship should be reserved for those who respect the law and are willing to follow the legal immigration process available for generations.
My office routinely works to help constituents navigate the immigration system, including assistance for those who fall through the cracks. Any constituent who needs help navigating federal red tape is encouraged to call my Charlotte at 704-362-1060, or my Mooresville office at 704-696-8188.