We Need Bipartisan Immigration Reform
This week, President Obama visited the Southwest to speak on an issue that's vitally important to New Mexico and all border states - immigration reform.
In 2007, I supported the efforts of former President George W. Bush to overhaul the immigration system, and I applaud President Obama for again bringing this issue to the forefront.
In his El Paso, Texas speech, President Obama echoed my thoughts when he said:
The most significant step we can now take to secure the borders is to fix the system as a whole so that fewer people have the incentive to enter illegally in search of work in the first place. This would allow agents to focus on the worst threats on both sides of our borders, from drug traffickers to those who would come here to commit acts of violence or terror. That's where our focus should be.
Meaningful reform is about more than just building a fence or arresting undocumented immigrants. In a border state like ours, it's making sure that federal, state and local law enforcement have the necessary resources to secure the border and keep our communities safe. It's taking steps to bring the millions of people already living here illegally out of the shadows, included deporting undocumented criminals while providing a path to earned legalization that includes learning English and paying back taxes for individuals who have become productive members of society. It also includes penalizing employers who illegally hire immigrants.
Comprehensive immigration legislation is necessary to fix our broken borders and advance the educational and economic progress of the country. I hope that the president's speech is just the beginning of a bipartisan effort to pass real reform.