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My Turn: America needs a firm, fair immigration policy

Three elements characterize a functional immigration system: clarity, enforcement of the rule of law and fairness. Today in America, sadly, none of these three characteristics epitomize our immigration system.

Even sadder still, perhaps, is the lack of will to tackle our challenges. President Obama, the one person who could lead an effort for reform and enforce our border security, appears much more interested in using the issue for his political advantage than making a difference. Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are powerless to make needed changes without cooperation.

The result? An immigration system that rewards illegal immigrants at the expense of legal immigrants; thousands of foreign-born young children who cross into the U.S. on the assumption that they will be accepted; and an extremely porous, dangerous border.

Creating a predictable, fair and well-enforced immigration system can help restore the American dream.

New Hampshire is a place that fosters hope in the American dream, a dream that people from all over the world seek. My maternal grandparents were just such people. A little more than a half-century ago, they left Italy – a country that was still struggling to rebuild after the reign of Mussolini – setting course for the United States.

My mom was a young child when her family moved across the Atlantic, settling in Massachusetts where my grandfather worked in a factory and my grandmother as a seamstress. My mom encountered challenges early on as she adapted to new life in a new land. Teachers considered holding her back in grade school because her English needed improvement, but she persevered and ultimately graduated – salutatorian of her high school class. She then graduated from Tufts University, married, is a high school teacher and has passed on that passion for service and achievement to her children, which include an Air Force captain and doctor, an accomplished musician and Fulbright Scholar, and a candidate for Congress.

My grandparents – and millions of immigrants like them over the centuries – embody the spirit of American idealism: their search for freedom and a better life for themselves and their families.

Today our nation is facing a great challenge of what to do with the thousands of individuals streaming into our country illegally through our porous southern border, including children who immediately invoke protections under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. As the child of a first-generation American, I can appreciate the optimism of these new arrivals and the hope of a better life.

But we are a nation of laws. And our immigration laws should be enforced. The president has flouted the letter and spirit of these laws by refusing to secure the border and governing by decree, without the consent of Congress.

Right now there are literally thousands of foreign-born young children – in the care of the U.S. government – being housed along the southern border and in places throughout the country. These children, often without their parents, are claiming asylum under DACA.

The thought of these frightened children so far from home without their parents breaks my heart. And as an American, I know that we all agree these kids should be treated with compassion while they are here.

But I believe the necessary action is to send these children back to their families and homes.

Preventing future illegal immigration requires us to guarantee there is no amnesty for illegal immigrants. We also must prevent President Obama from using “executive amnesty,” and work towards pragmatic and security-based solutions that encourage legal immigration. The president’s proclivity to selectively enforce existing laws, and then make up his own when he sees fit, is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.

America deserves a firm and fair approach to immigration, with leaders who will bring about real progress at securing our border and addressing the other problems with our legal immigration system.

It’s time we stand up and demand not only a smart and safe immigration policy, but also honorable leaders who have a real interest in solving the issues that are important to us.

As a daughter who has heard the stories about the challenges and blessings of coming to this country – legally – I want to ensure that America remains the beacon of hope and opportunity for others to enjoy for generations to come.

(State Rep. Marilinda Garcia is a Salem Republican running in the 2nd Congressional District.)

Legacy Comments18

I still remember the following words written on the board in my first Economics Class "People respond to incentives". These incentives can be positive or negative. Let's start by taking away some of the incentives that bring people to this country in the first place. First, pass laws that punish employers who hire illegals. Fine the officers and directors of companies that violate the law with escalating penalties. 1st offense = 1/2 salary fine, 2nd offense = 75%, 3rd offense = 1 year in jail. Secondly, do not allow illegals to attend public schools, or in any way mooch public money. Start there, and the majority of illegals will stop coming. Once you stop the illegals who come for economic reasons, the only ones crossing the border will be coming for criminal reasons. They'll be a lot less of them, and easier to police. Bottom line is these folks have an incentive to come here. Jobs, free education, healthcare, aid.... Take away the incentives!

Marilinda, you are a typical, useless, Republican. You blame the President for the failings of the Speaker of the House. Boehner, and his Tea Party partners have blocked EVERY effort the Democrats have made to introduce sanity into the US immigration laws, since 2009. Until recently, the laws signed by GW Bush which specify how childhood arrivals are to be treated, were relatively inconsequential; but, after drug cartels advertised that the US would keep childhood arrivals, tens of thousands of latin America parents began sending their children to the US. Boehner, another typical useless Republican, continued to do nothing, until President Obama used his office to do SOMETHING. Which, of course, the typical, useless Republicans challenged with court action. So, Marilinda, be useful: withdraw.

another perfect LIDV comment from Walter

Wally, the existing laws would work IF we followed them. The point is that Obama wants to enroll millions of Democrat voters. It is NOT "sanity" to not secure the border and allow anyone to stay here illegally. That is "insanity", moreover, just because you and Obama think something should happen in a certain way does not obligate the Congress to go along, they represent the "people" not ideologues. Moreover, your hatred of "Republicans" is so immature Carly, honestly, it is soooo state employee"ish".

So, Itsa...clearly you don't know much about the National Republican Party. So, you belong in BPR's LIDV community. BTW.... which state department did you work for?

I worked for the state for a couple of years. Then I grew up and got a real job with real responsibilities and not make-work single tasking BS. I opted to do real work and not rely on a graduate to retirement public sector on-the-dole job.

Ahhh; what's an LIDV?

Something stupid BPR made up.

TCB, I always figured it was in reference to some Long Island DiVorcee that burned PBR many moons ago, since he's the only one who ever seems to use this lame acronym. However, upon further review, I see it used in a January/2014 CM thread. Scroll down to a post by "jim...wrote", and find "Low Informed Democratic Voter". As I said, it's pretty lame. Here's the link..............

silly uninformed LIDV's - LIDV is part of the national political lexicon...... Proving again how massively uninformed you all are


So 90's Carly. I would think that at 70 you would have one heck of a time rolling on the floor but then again, you worked as a public hack, so, maybe not.

Ridiculous. It is congress's fault there is no immigration policy.

did you know that there is actually a long standing immigration LAW currently on the books that democrats choose to ignore and NObama wipes his feet on it like a door mat. NObama uses the Constitution for his door mat on the rear door where he jaunts out to his 400 political fundraiser. When will NObama start being a President? Did you know Congress has appropriated the money for a FENCE that he refuses to build? - liberals .....sheeeeeesh !

There is immigration policy, it is called the LAW. It is called securing the border as was voted and signed into law in 2006. It is called not playing politics as our failed president has done to add to the Democrat voter rolls.

Marilinda, I am supporting you, I will vote for you. However, here is what is just and fair. If you come here illegally, you need to go back and follow the existing, fair, immigration laws. There should be no 'amnesty' as that I snot fair to those who have stood in line and done things the right way. We need to change the law that if a child is born here that the parent is allowed to stay. We need to seal the border and send the signal that we are a sovereign nation. Those children being granted asylum? It should not be happening, most are between 15-18 years old and many are gang members. As far as executive amnesty is concerned, if that happens, Obama needs to be impeached and removed from office. We don't need "reform" as that means "change" for political expediency, not an improvement to the current system which is NOT broken. God's speed Marilinda in defeating Kuster, let's make this her LAST stand.

You will be POTUS one day!

meanwhile back at the Kuster ranch she is looking for the southern border on a map. Kuster is a 100% guaranteed vote for the massively partisan GRIDLOCK democrat leadership. speaking of Kuster - anybody seen her at any town halls? - where is she hiding?

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