So how does the federal government modernize our immigration system?
Both sides oversimplify immigration. On the one hand, there’s the real human element here. These are folks that come to this country in search of a better life. Many are desperate. They’re doing what many of us would do if we found ourselves in that position. On the other hand, we have to have immigration laws, and they have to be enforced. We can’t be the only country in the world that doesn’t enforce its immigration laws.
The question is, what laws and what enforcement do you want to see?
The important thing, when I talk about enforcing our laws, is we can’t have this attitude that, well, I understand that they broke the law, but now that they’re here we’ve got to look the other way. We have millions of people waiting to come here legally. What do I tell them when they come looking for help to expedite the process? Do I tell them to enter illegally because it’s quicker and cheaper? What we need to do is, No. 1, win the confidence of the American people. And that means continuing to improve border security. The border has gotten more secure, but there is still some more work to do. A lot of that is just a function of funding, and, secondarily, some sort of electronic verification system that is cost effective and that businesses can use to verify the eligibility of the people they’re hiring. We need to modernize the legal immigration system—that includes a guest worker program, an agricultural worker program. We need to have visas that take into account the need, for example, of high-tech jobs. If you do these things … it becomes easier to deal with the people that are here undocumented.