Illegal immigration a problem
Published 2:59 pm Monday, March 27, 2006
During my recent county visits throughout the state, one issue was brought up at every meeting - illegal immigration.
My goal during these meetings is to learn from Alabamians about the problems they face each day and issues that concern them.
This is a problem that must be addressed immediately and comprehensively.
I believe the first step in immigration reform should be to stem the flow of illegal aliens moving across our borders.
Each day, thousands of illegal immigrants enter the United States with little or no resistance.
And although accurate statistics are difficult to obtain, we can estimate that currently there are at least 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
We have also experienced breakdowns in national security, weapons and drug smuggling across our borders, disruption of U.S. military training programs and, maybe most importantly, an overall decline in respect for the laws of this land.
While there are currently 11,308 border patrol agents protecting our country, I believe we must work to increase the number of agents and ensure that they are better-trained.
We must commit the resources and effort necessary to protect our borders.
In addition to border enforcement, I believe that effective reform should contain practical measures to track immigrants who come here legally and ensure that they abide by the terms of their visas.
Those who blatantly violate the law, such as visa over-stayers, should be deported.
Further, I believe that we should work to establish a more efficient and accurate method for employers to confirm the legal status of potential employees.
Such a system will allow employers to more readily and easily comply with the law.
I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.
I believe that granting legal status to those who have broken our laws, by entering the United States illegally or overstaying their visa, is simply wrong. We must not reward bad behavior.
We do not turn a blind eye to lawlessness in any other respect in the United States.
Continuing that practice with respect to illegal immigration is a mistake that we must not make.
We must not forget that those immigrants who have made our country so great have done so by coming here legally.
To date, a number of immigration reform proposals have been introduced in both chambers of Congress.
I intend to support the strongest, most comprehensive immigration reform that comes before the United States Senate for consideration.
Alabamians, I have heard your concerns, and I will continue to work to represent your interests.
In the coming weeks and months, Congress will consider this and many other issues that directly affect you.