Compare candidates views on the issues
There is wide agreement the current immigration system is broken. The federal government has failed for years to secure the border, and today there are more than 11 million people illegally within the U.S. Companies struggle to get the high-skill workers they need, visitors overstay temporary visas with impunity, consumers face rising food costs because there is no functioning guest worker program, and foreign students at U.S. colleges return home to start companies instead of creating jobs here.
On top of this is the human tragedy of families separated, desperate immigrants perishing in their attempt to reach the U.S. or falling victim to human smugglers, and illegal immigrants living in the shadows.
Immigrants can be a source of vitality and growth in our country. They are often highly motivated risk takers who understand that hard work represents the surest path to success, which benefits the economy. They also often fill jobs where it is tough to recruit native-born Americans, at both the high- and low-end of the labor market.
Sensible immigration reform must include securing the border and ensuring foreign visitors do not overstay their visas. Deportation of 11 million people is simply not feasible without the creation of an unbearable police state that would wreak havoc with the American economy and our freedoms. A legal status that does not include citizenship should be considered for illegal immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding, while deportation of those who commit serious crimes should be the top priority of immigration officials.
Avenues to legal immigration should be expanded, including allowing more visas high-tech workers college graduates receiving degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, and other areas that contribute to the U.S. economy. A well-designed guest-worker program for temporary or seasonal workers must also be created, ensuring U.S. industries that rely on seasonal labor are able to get the workforce they need.
Expanding legal avenues for immigration will lead to a reduction in illegal border crossings, because few will be tempted to try if the legal alternative is relatively easy. Responsible immigration policy would focus on preventing those with criminal or terrorist backgrounds from entering the U.S., and allowing greater ease of entry for others allows more resources to be focused on stopping those who intend to harm the country from entering.
There should also be a renewed focus on assimilation, ensuring that those new to America embrace their new home and understand what is expected of all Americans.
And responsible immigration policy must be brought about through the proper process, meaning legislation in Congress and not Presidential diktat.
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