The United States immigration system has long been broken and is in desperate need of sensible solutions that both secure our borders and provide individuals an opportunity to build a better life in America. Securing our borders is the first step in creating smart and achievable immigration reform. Without secure borders, any other efforts to reform our immigration systems will be in vain. In addition to protecting the border, we must also provide legal pathways that are fair and efficient so those who wish to come to the United States have a legal avenue to do so in a timely and appropriate manner. Without these goals working in tandem, America will continue to face the challenges and strain our immigration system has experienced for far too long.
I have visited the southern border to witness the humanitarian and security crisis firsthand. What I saw was alarming: border patrol agents working round the clock to stop the flow of drugs and illegal activity while also caring for and processing the thousands of people who have already crossed the border. Our border patrol agents are the first line of defense on our border, and federal law enforcement agencies work closely with them to detect drug shipments, intercept human traffickers and combat violent cartels and foreign threats. As border agents are consumed with families and children crossing the Rio Grande, that collaboration is undermined, making it easier for drugs and people to be trafficked into the U.S.
Additionally, Congress should pursue policies that help the United States compete and win the global battle for talent. Attracting and retaining highly-skilled, entrepreneurial individuals – especially those who we educate at American universities – will boost American innovation, propel economic growth and create jobs for Americans.