From John McCain:Border Security and Immigration Reform
I have always believed that our border must be secure and that the federal government has utterly failed in its responsibility to ensure that it is secure. If we have learned anything from the recent immigration debate, it is that Americans have little trust that their government will honor a pledge to do the things necessary to make the border secure.
As president, I will secure the border. I will restore the trust Americans should have in the basic competency of their government. A secure border is an essential element of our national security. Tight border security includes not just the entry and exit of people, but also the effective screening of cargo at our ports and other points of entry.
But a secure border will contribute to addressing our immigration problem most effectively if we also:
Recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America who reject the siren call of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez, support freedom and democracy, and seek strong domestic economies with abundant economic opportunities for their citizens.
Recognize the importance of pro-growth policies — keeping government spending in check, holding down taxes, and cutting unnecessary regulatory burdens — so American businesses can hire and pay the best.
Recognize the importance of a flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top. It should provide skilled Americans and immigrants with opportunity. Our education system should ensure skills for our younger workers, and our retraining and assistance programs for displaced workers must be modernized so they can pursue those opportunities
Recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which includes learning English, American history and civics, and respecting the values of a democratic society.
Recognize that America will always be that “shining city upon a hill,” a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life built on hard work and optimism.
Border security and our failed immigration system are more examples of an ailing Washington culture in need of reform to regain the trust of Americans. In too many areas — from immigration and pork barrel spending to Social Security, health care, energy security and tax relief — business-as-usual politics prevents addressing the important challenges facing our nation.
And, from Obama’s Blueprint for Change –
BARACK OBAMA’S PLAN FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
“The time to fix our broken immigration system is now. … We need
stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace. … But for
reform to work, we also must respond to what pulls people to America.
… Where we can reunite families, we should. Where we can bring in
more foreign-born workers with the skills our economy needs, we
–Barack Obama, Statement on U.S. Senate Floor,
May 23, 2007
AT A GLANCE
Barack Obama has fought for comprehensive immigration reform that secures our border, fixes our broken immigration bureaucracy and puts the 12 million undocumented immigrants on a responsible path to citizenship.
If Congress does not act in the interim, Obama will revive immigration reform in the first year of his
Undocumented Population is Exploding
The number of undocumented immigrants in the country has increased more than 40 percent since 2000.
Every year, more than a half-million people come illegally or illegally overstay their visas.
Immigration Bureaucracy is Broken
The immigration bureaucracy is broken and overwhelmed, forcing legal immigrants to wait years for
Immigration Raids are Ineffective
Despite a sevenfold increase in recent years, immigration raids only netted 3,600 arrests in 2006 and have placed all the burdens of a broken system onto immigrant families.
BARACK OBAMA’S PLAN
Create Secure Borders
Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.
Improve Our Immigration System
Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.
Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire
Bring People Out of the Shadows
Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.
Work with Mexico
Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal
Crack Down on Employers
Obama championed a proposal to create a system so employers can verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
Fix the Bureaucracy
Obama joined Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to introduce the Citizenship Promotion Act to ensure that
immigration application fees are both reasonable and fair. Obama also introduced legislation that passed the Senate to improve the speed and accuracy of FBI background checks.
Obama introduced amendments to put greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together.