America has a unique history. We are a melting pot, a nation made unusually strong by the wonderful blend of those who legally entered our country in pursuit of dreams and the limitless opportunity made possible through hard work, not lineage or privilege. My ancestors came from Europe, and part of my wife’s family emigrated from Lebanon.
Today, the melting pot is under stress because of a broken immigration system and unsecured borders.
Border security is also a critical national security issue, as it is vital we know who is in our country.
Recent terrorist attacks around the world remind us how radical Islamic jihadists will use every means available to destroy our freedoms and way of life. With compassion and clarity, we must take prudent steps to enhance the screening of those entering the United States from terrorist hot spots. President Trump’s leadership on this topic has been a welcome shift from what I believe was the previous Administration’s misguided open door policies. President Trump’s executive order, reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a positive step to ensure the safety of American families.
The troubling existence of “sanctuary cities” also creates security issues for hardworking Americans. The senseless murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco is just one tragic example.
In response, I urged my colleagues to support Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004), which enhances penalties for deported felons who return to the United States without permission, and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003), which cracks down on sanctuary cities. Both measures passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong support.
The first and most critical step to immigration reform is securing our borders. No immigration reform will be successful until we block the flow of illegal immigrants.
We must remember we are proudly a nation of immigrants, and I salute those who play by the rules and undergo the substantial effort to enter America legally. Surprisingly, I was the first United States Congressman to speak at a citizenship ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, and I continue to speak at these deeply moving ceremonies on a regular basis.
To keep American families safe and defend our freedoms and way of life, we need to secure our borders, enforce the law, and ensure the rules are fair.