Ensuring our borders are secured and protected, and ensuring the safety of our citizens, should be the highest priority of our elected officials. That is something I have spent the past nine years doing in the military.
Consequences of our out-of-date immigration system are stains morally and hurt us competitively. We are, however, a nation of immigrants, and part of this issue comes down to whether or not we are willing to punish children that have known no other home for the “sins” of their parents. The vast majority of people that come to this country do so seeking opportunities to work hard and have a safe community to raise their children. However, we need to take great measures to ensure that those coming to this country embrace the values that make us a great nation. We need a 21st Century immigration system, flexible to commitments already made by our government, and competitive to recruit and incentivize opportunities for the most talented individuals.
I support DACA--as long as these individuals are not criminals, we need to provide them with amnesty. It would be cruel to send them back to a country they have never known. Democrats, however, entirely abandoned Dreamers with the recent spending bill, proving that they aren’t actually all that interested in defending the people they claim to care about. We can’t wait any longer to forge a compromise over DACA, security on our southern border, and merit vs. lottery-based immigration. The longer we wait, the longer we starve ourselves, as a country, of human capital, resources, and labor. Today, American businesses compete with foreign companies. Tomorrow, that competition will grow fiercer. As a younger American, this problem was not taken care of by my predecessors. We have been having the same exact debate for decades. I will fight, tirelessly, for immigration reform. As a candidate willing to partner with people I don’t necessarily agree with to do so, I am uniquely positioned to tackle this problem.
Legislatively, my first immigration reform will be to create legislation that fast-tracks citizenship for foreign interpreters that served the U.S. Military and State Department on our deployments overseas in exchange for their service to our country and the risks they took to do so. Right now, there are thousands of such individuals who have been tortured (sometimes to death) by our enemies while waiting for the citizenship we promised them. An intelligent interpreter living in Kabul, Afghanistan (much less a remote village) cannot complete the sometime hundreds of back-and-forth emails, faxes, and submission requests required by the current system to become American citizens. This simple issue exposes how unmerited, inefficient, and bureaucratically complex our system really is.