Immigration is an issue that reflects who we are as a nation.

Our country was built by people of all nationalities that chose to make America their home. We pride ourselves on both our diverse backgrounds and unique cultural heritage while we celebrate our national unity.

E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one

Often immigrants that come into the United States are fleeing crime and poverty. Many also come from countries that are at war, where they live every day in fear for themselves and their loved ones. They are looking to us for help and a safe place to live and build a life.

Today our immigration system is broken and in desperate need of repair.  This issue is not just a problem we can fix today and forget about tomorrow.  Because immigration is such an integral part of who we are and where we came from it is also a defining aspect of our American character and our shared history.

Today in our Nation, more than 11 million people are living in the shadows without their required documentation. Our Nation cannot continue to function effectively while being hobbled by a two-tiered system.

A system where one group lives free while the other group must be quiet and subservient so as not to attract attention.

A system where one group can demand the right to a living wage by marching in the streets while the second group has to exist on whatever substandard wage their employers allow them to have. This system of economic slavery only exists because politicians in Washington DC have allowed it to exist.

They could fix this problem tomorrow by enforcing existing laws that make it a crime for a company to hire undocumented workers.  They could, but they won’t. Politicians are directed to look the other way by their corporate donors because there are enormous sums of money at stake.  Too much profit would be lost if corporations had to pay these shadow workers minimum wage.

I believe we urgently need to fix our broken immigration system. The current system tears families apart and keeps workers hiding in the shadows.  We need to create a path to citizenship for law-abiding individuals who are here, making a better life for their families and contributing to their communities and our country.

That being said, there is one small step that all of us should agree on right now.

It has been a long-standing policy of the United States Government to turn a blind eye towards undocumented immigrants and their illegal status when they enlist in the military. These individuals are encouraged to enlist even though they have no green card or any other legal documentation.

They honorably serve their entire enlistment contract and then they are released from active service. These U.S. military veterans, some wounded or dead, were led to believe that their service would guarantee them a pathway to citizenship. Unfortunately, the minute they are returned to the civilian world they can be and have been deported back to their home countries.

The funny part about the whole process is even though they have been deported; they are still eligible for VA treatment if they can find a way to the nearest VA clinic.

I think this treatment of honorably discharged US military veterans is outrageous.

I propose that the Government of the United States bring these veterans home and give them the citizenship they have earned through their blood and sacrifice for this nation!

I understand that any changes in immigration policy affect people that came to our country with the hope that they will build a better life for themselves and their family. We need to develop common sense immigration reform that keeps families together, honors immigrants that serve in our military and encourages their positive contribution to our society.

Immigration is an issue that must be addressed by Congress and I want to be a part of that.