By Senator Marco Rubio
April 23, 2013
Americans believe in the value of immigration. We are the most generous nation on earth to immigrants, allowing over one million people a year to come here legally. They come here in pursuit of what we recognize as the American dream – the chance to live in freedom and have the opportunity to work hard to make a better life for themselves and their families.
The problem is that our legal immigration system has been broken for decades. It has enabled 11 million people to come here illegally or overstay visas. It is a bureaucratic and inefficient system that does not address the needs of our economy.
All this has further deepened the American people’s mistrust in the ability of their government to perform basic functions.
Leaving in place a broken immigration system -– and the millions of people whose identities are a mystery to us –- is simply not an acceptable option. This must be fixed.
That is why I am advocating for securing our borders, improving enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration system and changing it so that it prioritizes welcoming people to the U.S. based on skills, not just on whether they have a family member already living here.
And that is why I support a process to identify and register those who are here illegally. They will have to submit biometric data in order to pass multiple national security and criminal background checks, pay $2,000 in fines, pay taxes, and learn English and American civics. They won’t be able to get any federal benefits like welfare or ObamaCare.
Before they can even apply to become permanent residents, they will have to wait at least ten years. They will have to get in line behind those who are trying to come the right way.
They will have to wait until we have a system in place to prevent illegal immigrants from being hired.
They will have to wait until we have a system in place to track people who overstay their visas.
And they will have to wait until we implement plans to spend at least $5.5 billion dollars to secure the border through more border patrol officers, more technology and more fencing.
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