Perhaps the most hotly contested issue between Democrats and Republicans currently is immigration reform. This is a deeply personal issue to many North Carolina residents because around 8% of our population was born outside of the United States. I believe that all people deserve a voice and to be treated equally; those who immigrate to this great nation are no different.
‘All people are created equal,’ it is in our Declaration of Independence and still rings true today, we must treat all people equally. We are defined both by how we treat those in need and the fairness and equality with which we acted. Let me be clear, I believe in allowing the immigrants who are already here to stay. But I believe in fairness as well, so they must contribute and become a functioning part of our economy and government.
This immigration reform and acceptance should be a layered process, and would benefit both the immigrants and the United States as whole:
- All immigrants must be in the system for the reason they are here. Whether they are here as students, tourists, refugees, asylum seekers or guest workers, the vetting process must be thorough and consistent.
- All currently present undocumented immigrants must register for work. This will allow for them to become legally employed as a guest worker, which in turn brings them into the tax system. This creates additional inflows supporting social security and the health care system. As long as there are no employment gaps longer than 6 months they and their immediate family can stay in place.
- While participating in this system, immigrants can become eligible for social benefits. Benefits such as education, health, and safety are reasonable expectations for anyone participating in our society. They will also be allowed to apply for citizenship through regular channels, but there should be no preferential treatment based on already being resident in the United States.
- Deportation must be streamlined and humane. Examples of situations where deportation would happen include criminal infractions and non-employment for more than 6 months. In the case of the non-employment they would be allowed to voluntarily leave and then reapply for an approved status without penalty.
The goal of my immigration program is to treat all that are involved with both consistency and fairness. To view each person as a fellow human that is pursuing what is best for them and their family. America was built on the hard-working backs of immigrants, I see no reason why allowing them to bring their ingenuity and diligence will not continue to benefit North Carolina and the United States.