Thank you for taking the time to contact me about federal immigration policy and illegal immigration. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
The history of the United States is filled with stories of people born outside our borders who came to seek citizenship and a better life. However, few would disagree that our immigration system as it exists today is broken. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that in 2009 there were approximately 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., compared to 8.5 million in 2000. These numbers reveal the serious challenges we face as a Nation in determining what to do with those who reside here illegally and how best to secure our borders and reduce the number of people who come to the U.S. illegally each year. I believe securing our borders is our highest priority. During the debate, I supported doubling the number of border patrol agents, as well as placing strategic fencing at critical crossing points along the border. I also believe that the government must enforce existing laws that include harsh penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants. Businesses should be required to submit the Social Security or immigrant identification numbers of any job applicant to a computerized system that will determine if they are permitted to work, and should be sanctioned if they do not comply with this protocol. I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, and there is no place in our country for illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. I strongly supported a measure to bar such individuals. I also believe that English is the common and unifying language of the United States and the best way to continue that is to ensure that non-English speaking individuals have opportunities to learn the language. We need to find a solution to the guest worker problems as well, and this is an issue that will benefit from further debate and consideration. The issue of immigration can be controversial, but I strongly believe that Congress must continue to work toward resolution of this crisis. We must forge a solution to both legal and illegal immigration that is comprehensive, tough, practical and fair. Please be assured that I have been gratified to hear from my constituents regarding their concerns, and that I will continue to keep your thoughts in mind as I consider this issue. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you. For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania. Sincerely,Bob CaseyUnited States Senator