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, with 11 million illegal immigrants living in the shadows of our society.
President Obama's politically-motivated Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program only made the situation worse, giving desperate Central American families the false impression of a free pass into the United States and leading to our current border crisis.
House Republicans took action this summer and approved two bills to solve the border crisis and ended President Obama's effort to create amnesty by decree, bypassing the Constitutional process:
H.R. 5272 freezes and defunds President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This legislation was based on an earlier bill I had co-sponsored.
H.R. 5230 provides $694 million to meet immediate security and humanitarian needs at the border, including increased National Guard patrols, accelerated judicial proceedings for young illegal immigrants, and appropriate medical and physical care for unaccompanied minors until they can be returned to their home countries.
Beyond the current crisis, our first priority must be to secure the border. History has shown that immigration reform is doomed to failure if our borders remain porous.
Securing the borders is also a critical national security issue, as it is vital that we know who is in our country.
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 speak at a citizenship ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, and I continue to attend and speak at those deeply moving ceremonies on a regular basis.
My office works daily to help constituents navigate the legal 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 office at 704-362-1060 or my Mooresville office at 704-696-8188.
We need to secure the borders, ensure the rules are fair, support a suitable work-visa program, and provide real consequences for those who break the rules.
America is a nation of laws, and we function best when those laws are applied fairly and evenly.