Our immigration laws are flawed, broken and drastically out of sync with our values and the current and future needs of our economy.
I will work to be part of the solution so that we can improve the integrity of our border security while ensuring that our prosperity and economic stability are not hindered by conditions on our borders or the state of our immigration laws.
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Millions of undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. Yet current immigration law only allows for the allocation of 226,000 visas for those wishing to immigrate through a family member, and 140,000 visas for those immigrating through an employment relationship, and increase in that number would require legislative action on the part of Congress. This massive discrepancy between the reality of the number of immigrants waiting for a visa and the number of visas being granted results in this country losing out on much needed talent, results in families being divided and results in a disconnect between the current law and our values and economic reality.
The current process in place imposes further hardships on U.S. citizens and their families by requiring many of them to process their immigration applications through the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, and to live there for extended periods of time because of the manner in which they initially entered the United States. Let's not put U.S. Citizens and their families in harm's way by forcing them through a broken immigration system that does not match the values and economic conditions of our country.
Immigrants also provide a new dimension of culture, vitality and economic growth to our country and our region in particular. The State of Texas is home to 4,142,031 immigrants of whom only 32% are naturalized citizens. These persevering people contribute billions of dollars to our economy, pay taxes, pay for tuition and excel educationally. However, if these immigrants were to be removed from the country, Texas alone would lose over $69.3 billion in economic activity and 403,174 jobs would be lost.
If elected to Congress, I commit to:
We are a nation that needs our young, enterprising aspiring Americans to feel welcome to stay and to continue to contribute to our society. By supporting the Developmental Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, we can encourage young immigrants to complete their college careers, serve in the military and embolden immigrant youths to pursue their paths to United States citizenship without the fear of deportation. A humanitarian and economically sound bill to pass for our country as a whole, the DREAM Act provides a path to citizenship for a generation of young people who were brought here as children and only know life in the U.S.
Reform of our current policies is crucial to the growth of our economy and the vibrancy of our culture. Through immigration reform, we can continue to improve border security, focus our resources on pursuing those who pose a public safety or national security risk, strengthen our employee base, and keep families united.
If elected to Congress, I will work to make sure that Congress makes well educated and researched decisions based on the most updated data available, allowing a more flexible visa system that accurately adjusts to our economic and market conditions. Most importantly, I will work to ensure that the people of El Paso, the ones actually living on the border and dealing with the implementations of immigration and border security policies passed in Washington, have a voice in this very important discussion.
Through immigration reform, we can empower immigrants to come to the U.S. legally, discourage the abuse of the visa system, encourage employers to hire legally documented workers, enrich the American presence in the global economy and reduce the exploitation and discrimination of foreign workers.