TIME TO FIX OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
By Beth Lindstrom
Illegal immigration is wreaking havoc on America. It has eroded faith in the rule of law and compromised our national sovereignty because of our inability to secure the border. It also has undermined the many millions of foreigners who seek to enter the country legally, patiently playing by the rules as they wait to pursue the American Dream.
It is time for us to fix our broken immigration system.
Lately, the difference between legal and illegal immigration has become confused. So let there be no misunderstanding: I support legal immigration, it makes our country rich and diverse. I also believe there should be no sanctuary for anyone breaking our immigration laws, and least of all for violent felons living in so-called “sanctuary cities.”
My opponent, Senator Elizabeth Warren, is such a zealous supporter of sanctuary cities that’s she’s gone around the country campaigning for them as if localities should be siding against our elected government and with illegal immigrants who in some cases have committed serious crimes.
President Trump has proposed important reforms that address the top priorities of both sides in the debate. He would increase funding for the border, end extended chain migration, abolish the visa lottery program, and offer legal status to 1.8 million young people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is a reasonable compromise and I support it, but it is only a first step.
We must also implement an enforceable employer verification system so that employers can easily verify the legal status of job seekers. We should crack down on those employers who continue to hire illegal immigrants with stiffer fines and penalties.
At the same time, we need to improve the legal immigration system so that we prioritize the recruitment and retention of skilled workers from around the world. That does not mean we close the door to people in desperate need; we will always be a refuge for those seeking a better life. But it does mean that we begin to move to a merit-based system that considers the needs of our economy and the skills, education and work history of people who seek to come here.
It is simply not right that we make it hard for the best and the brightest to come to America, yet those without skill or education are able to simply walk across the border.
Where appropriate, we need to fix our visa programs so there is an adequate supply of temporary foreign workers. This is especially true in places like Cape Cod, where a chronic shortage of seasonal workers makes it difficult for employers to fill summer openings.
A lot of men and women in both parties are ready to get behind credible border security, employer verification, and other fair and sensible reforms. We must be careful not to exploit the immigration issue – there’s been too much of that already from both sides. We just want to solve it, and I am ready to help.
(Beth Lindstrom is the former Director of Consumer Affairs for Massachusetts and a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate)