My great-grandparents found hope and opportunity on the shores of this fine nation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. America offers the same promise to millions of people around the world. The hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding immigrants who renew our country and add to our diversity and strength should not be exploited to create a massive underclass—such an approach opposes our values and hurts all working families. On the contrary, we should establish a path for them to earn full participation in the America they help to build.
The current immigration system must be replaced by comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders and enforces the rule of law, respects the dignity and dreams of immigrants, reflects our values, and recognizes the needs of our communities and businesses. We must effectively address both the security and economic interests of our nation.
Therefore, I support the bipartisan compromise reached through the leadership efforts of Senator Salazar that does the following:
- Provides a transitional pathway to citizenship for qualifying immigrants
- Boosts the number of border agents
- Tightens border security and work-site enforcement
- Establishes an identity verification system
- Sets aside 40 percent of future visas to be allocated on a merit-based system, awarding points for education and skills needed in the U.S.
This plan is fair, tough, enforceable and realistic, and brings millions of people out of the dark shadows and into the American mainstream.