Illegal immigration overburdens our schools, hospitals, court rooms and other public services and institutions at a tremendous cost to taxpayers. It is estimated that more than 11 million people reside in the United States illegally – an estimated 3 million of which reside in California alone. Furthermore, the escalation of violence on the border is spilling over into our communities and threatening the safety and well being of our citizens.
While I understand the desire to live in the United States and participate in the American dream, rewarding someone for breaking the law sends the wrong message, especially when the government enforces the law in some cases but not others.
To combat illegal immigration, a comprehensive approach must be taken. I have consistently called for the completion of the border fence, as well as increasing the number of border patrol agents. I have also been a strong supporter of the E-Verify program, to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires.
In addition to addressing illegal immigration, our current legal immigration system must be reformed. We must take a balanced and practical approach. This includes making our country more accessible to those who can fill critical needs and also stiffening penalties for those who continue to violate our laws.
Our technology companies have a high demand for engineers and others with advanced skills. For years, foreign students have come to the United States seeking the benefits of the first-class, world-class higher-education systems we offer. They receive the skills they need to revolutionize industries, transform economies and create an untold number of jobs. Yet our broken worker visa system costs American jobs and puts us at a competitive disadvantage.
For that reason, I have been a long-time supporter of increasing the number of visas given to foreign students receiving advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to create jobs and support companies throughout California and the nation.
Since 1973, a security search at airport checkpoints has been deemed constitutional as long as the search is “limited in its intrusiveness as consistent with satisfaction of the administrative need that justifies it.” The public outcry against the newly implemented TSA procedures directly reflects the deepening distrust the American people have in their government.
If the TSA is going to be taken seriously and not as another dysfunctional federal agency, there needs to be a stronger effort by the Department of Homeland Security to organize and administer the agency to provide the American people security without conflicting with our basic constitutional protections.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Reducing excessive wait times and ensuring security for individual travelers and commercial activities at American ports of entry is a key component to the revitalization of America’s – and California’s - economy.
American based companies and their employees rely on secured, efficient, and effective border management to conduct commerce every day with our neighbors. A current shortage of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers continues to produce excessive delays in the processing of legitimate frequent border crossers, pedestrians and international commercial carriers even with improved infrastructure.
The Department of Homeland Security needs to identify steps necessary to provide sufficient CBP officer staffing at these ports of entry to facilitate a smooth and secure process. I stand ready to do all that I can to ensure that our ports of entry are operating efficiently while providing the utmost security.