Today’s national security begins with our ability to defend our nation’s borders from the flow of illegal traffic. I am an outspoken and positive voice on the issue of border security in the Congress. We must use all tools to reduce potential threats at our border. When I listen to our federal and state officials and officers who are on the front lines of our borders and speak with our border security and immigration offices, I have learned about the challenges and complexities they face on the border. I made three trips along the U.S.-Mexico border during my first term in Congress. It was important to see and understand the complexities of all sections of our southern border and that is why I will continue to participate in border visits.

People from all over the world are traveling to Mexico, discarding their travel documents, crossing the U.S. border, and taking advantage of American goodwill and regulations by using “credible fear” rights of persecution in their home country. I believe we must maintain our status as a beacon of hope for those who would like to flee a life of persecution in another country. However, we must be vigilant to protect Americans here at home and prevent those who are coming to our nation from abusing our laws or causing harm to the American people.

The House of Representatives is considering several bills pertaining to immigration reform. It is of utmost importance and priority that our final immigration bill provides a fair and equitable solution for those individuals in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; reforms our agriculture visa program to make sure those immigrants working in our nation’s agriculture industry are in our country legally; provides for increased security measures along our nation’s southern border; and empowers our border patrol to keep bad actors, such as terrorists or members of transnational gangs, out of our country.