Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Arnold on immigration

I'm pretty much in agreement with Arnold here...

Our goal should be to create a policy that reflects our national motto: e pluribus unum — Out of many, one. Here are the basic immigration principles that have always guided me and that I believe should guide Congress.

First, immigration is about our security. The first order of business for the federal government is to secure our borders. And Washington simply must do a better job of it. We learned on 9/11 that not all those who cross our borders want to share in the American dream. A few want to replace it with a nightmare. If we don't know who is coming over our borders, we won't know what they might do. And in a post-Sept. 11 world, that is a risk we cannot take. Congress must strengthen our borders. That's why as governor of California, I have supported legislation to end human trafficking and stop the issuance of driver's licenses to those who aren't legal residents. By bringing folks out of the shadows and into the light, we help immigrants, and we help America.

Criminalizing immigrants for coming here is a slogan, not a solution. Instead, I urge Congress to get tough on those illegal immigrants who are a danger to society. If an illegal immigrant commits a serious crime, he must leave the country — one strike and you're out. No excuses, no delays.

Second, immigration is about our economy. The freest nation in the world, and the freest economy in history, depend on a free flow of people. Immigrants are here to work and contribute. I support efforts to ensure that our businesses have the workers they need and that immigrants are treated with the respect they deserve.

We should pass a common-sense temporary worker program so that every person in our nation is documented. We can embrace the immigrant without endorsing illegal immigration. Granting citizenship to people who are here illegally is not just amnesty … it's anarchy. We are a country of immigrants, yes. But we are also a nation of laws. People who want to be citizens will want to do it the right way.

Finally, immigration is about our values. Too often the debate centers on what immigrants owe us. Too seldom do we ask what we owe them. Above all, we owe it to our country and our immigrants to share our values. We should talk about our history, our institutions and our beliefs. We should assimilate immigrants into the mainstream. We want immigrants to not just live in America but to live as Americans.

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