The United States of America is a nation built by immigrants. And New Mexico owes so much of our strength to our proud immigrant heritage. I'm fighting in the Senate to make sure we have immigration policies that match our values and needs as a state and a nation, and to ensure that we treat those who come to our borders with dignity, respect, and humanity.
Enacting a Fair Immigration Policy
People from around the world come to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their families. They bring with them a hope for the future, a desire for success, and cultural vibrancy that makes America great. One of our greatest traditions as a nation, I believe, is our history of welcoming immigrants to our land. Comprehensive immigration reform is necessary to fix our broken system, and to bring the millions of undocumented immigrants living in this country out of the shadows.
We also need to enact a DREAM Act to make sure that DREAMers -- people who know no other home than the United States of America -- can stay in this country and continue contributing to our communities and economy. The president's heartless decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has sent the lives of DREAMers into chaos, and they deserve certainty.
Ensuring Humane Treatment and Oversight of Immigration Policies
In the United States of America, children and families seeking asylum at our borders must be treated humanely – with basic human needs met, such as food, clean water, sanitation, clean clothes – and they must be treated with dignity and care for their health and safety. To tolerate anything less is to tolerate the degradation of our very values as a nation.
The majority of those arriving at our borders are fleeing horrific violence and danger in their home countries. They are coming to the United States to seek safety and a better life for their children.
I am fighting to hold the Trump administration accountable to make sure that children and families are treated with dignity and care.
I have championed measures to improve transparency and the quality of care for migrant children in federal custody, and ensure their physical, mental, and emotional health.
I continue to call for oversight hearings in Congress to hold the administration accountable, and require CBP to answer for its treatment of migrants.
I am committed to fighting for humane immigration policies that reflect New Mexico values. I believe we need comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants living and working in our communities.
I am also an original co-sponsor of the Keep Families Together Act, which would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border.
As well as a cosponsor of the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act, which would require the government to appoint counsel to unaccompanied children.
And a cosponsor of the Human Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act to protect the safety and wellbeing of minor children who have been left alone after their parents have been arrested or detained by U.S. immigration authorities.
Solving the Root Causes of Migration
I believe that the U.S. should address the root causes of migration through engagement and diplomacy with Central American countries. I support humanitarian policies that will ensure that families don’t have to flee their homes to find safety and security.
This year, I introduced the Central America Reform And Enforcement Act in order to tackle the underlying issues driving migration to the southern border.
And I have more legislation in the works to set humanitarian standards for treatment of people arriving at our border.
We cannot stand by as the Trump administration tramples on what it means to be a New Mexican and an American, as the president and his administration vilify immigrants, send ripples of fear through immigrant communities, and treat innocent children and families like criminals. This is not who we are. I won’t stop fighting until we live up to our values as a state and nation built by immigrants.
Keeping the United States Safe
As I have long said, we need to make smart investments at the border that will increase international trade and bolster economic development, ensure national security, and protect the health and safety of asylum seekers, officers and agents, and our communities. Seeking asylum has long been a form of legal immigration and asylum seekers applying under that process should be treated humanely and in accordance with our long-standing laws and values. One of our strongest traditions as a country is welcoming those who are fleeing violence and persecution— who, despite living through horrific conditions in their home nations, come to the U.S. with a desire to contribute to our communities and the country.
We face complex challenges at our border, and those challenges demand serious and common-sense solutions, like those included in legislation I have introduced in Congress. Instead of focusing attention on building an ineffective border wall funded at the expense our military readiness, I have introduced legislation that would improve recruitment and retention of Border Patrol staff in the most remote parts of New Mexico's border region and invest in technology, resources, and equipment in remote areas like the Bootheel. We also must invest in our ports of entry, and make sure that we are enacting policies to facilitate trade with our neighbors – one of the bright spots of New Mexico’s economy – instead of putting up roadblocks. And we must immediately reverse the Trump administration’s reckless policy of not allowing asylum-seekers to present themselves at official border crossings – which has badly worsened the humanitarian challenges at our border – and cruelly separating parents from their children.