It is time to forge a just immigration policy that acknowledges that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Our current immigration system is broken and it needs to be fixed. We need to secure our borders. This is a matter of national security. We need to enforce our laws. We are a nation that believes in the rule of law. We need to provide opportunities for undocumented immigrants among us, who wish to pursue an earned pathway to some form of legal status, to come out of the shadows. Such a pathway would be subject to appropriate penalties, waiting periods, background checks, evidence of moral character, and a commitment to full participation in American society through an understanding of the English language.
An earned pathway to legal status is not amnesty. I oppose amnesty. And I ask those who label an earned pathway to legal status as amnesty to stop politicizing this debate needlessly and to acknowledge the difference.
The time to forge a rational consensus is now. America is a country of immigrants, a melting pot of individuals from various ethnicities and cultures. This country was established based on our rich heritage of immigration, and, in accordance with a just immigration policy, this country will continue to thrive. America deserves a just immigration policy that secures, not closes, our borders; enforces the laws; provides a temporary guest-worker program; and one that otherwise offers a pathway for earned legal status.
We are compelled by our common faith and heritage to acknowledge that the history of immigration is filled with stories of triumph and tragedy. While Latinos are often the subject of today’s immigration debate, nearly every American today can trace their ancestry to one or many foreign lands. America’s astounding success can be largely attributed to the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, and we have proven to the world that people from diverse backgrounds can come to America, live in peace with their neighbors, pursue their dreams, and succeed. The overwhelming attraction of America is her freedom. As the world’s standard-bearer for freedom, America’s light shines as hope for the world. We must never quench the torch of liberty. We must always stand for the freedom that makes our shores the object of desire for people without hope. America must always stand for liberty. It is the privilege of a freedom-loving people.