The Homeland Security Committee, of which I’m a member, has been working to address a variety of threats facing our country, including the growing threat of cyber attacks. 

I staunchly believe in our Constitutional right to privacy and am committed to protecting the freedom and accessibility of the Internet from heavy-handed government regulation. In the same vein, our laws must be modernized to reflect the economic and national security concerns associated with a potential cyber attack. We know that American businesses and industries face cyber attacks every day, coming from countries like China and Russia and resulting in economic losses of intellectual property and other valuable information that cost as much as $400 billion per year. Additionally, the same tactics used against private companies may be used to attack valuable infrastructure such as the electrical grid, airports operations, and drinking water plants, not to mention our armed forces and national defenses.

I’ve supported legislation that outlines a process for the government and private companies voluntarily to share classified and unclassified information about potential or actual cyber threats. Both government and the private sector already possess the capability to detect information that can help protect our cyber networks. We must find a balance that protects our freedoms as individuals while also protecting our way of life; this approach is that reasonable balance. 

An issue that directly impacts homeland security, as well as our economy, is immigration reform. I support immigration reform that ensures those who wish to come to America and thrive in our land of opportunity can do so orderly and legally. I’ve supported reforms that strengthen our security, ensure that those who follow our nation’s immigration laws are not disadvantaged, and diligently work to make sure that those here illegally are not afforded benefits reserved for American citizens.

The first step in any reform process must be to secure our borders - period. Significant progress must be made on this issue before we take any further steps.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has no metrics suitable to understanding the security of our borders. DHS must establish realistic metrics while using readily-available technology to provide transparency and allow us to properly address areas of concern across our southern border. More than half of the illegal entries, along with much of the illegal drug and human trafficking, take place in a handful of southern border sectors. The U.S. Border Patrol is limited in these sectors because they’re on federally designated lands with wilderness or conservation status. That the Border patrol is limited by federal law on federal land from performing the federal function of securing the border is ridiculous – and must change.

I’ve advocated for legislation in the House Homeland Security Committee to push DHS to gain operational control of our border. Once our border security concerns are met, we can turn our attention to the current immigration system – which, clearly, is broken.

Dozens of businesses and families in the 4th District have described to me an immigration system that’s outdated, incredibly inefficient and stifles economic growth by drowning businesses with regulations. The system promotes illegal immigration by forcing those who want to come to the United States legally to confront a bloated and entrenched bureaucracy that’s almost impossible to navigate.

I do not support amnesty; it’s blatantly unfair to the millions of individuals and families who waited, often for many years, to come here legally. I’ll work toward a new legal immigration system that: establishes verifiable enforcement measures that ensure visitors leave our country when they're supposed to; provides our agricultural industries with the workers they need; requires immigrants to understand and speak basic English; and revises Visa programs to attract and keep more entrepreneurs, investors and highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Finally, much has been written about how immigration reform is “good politics” for Members of Congress, specifically Republicans, given that Republicans received only 27% of Hispanic votes in the November 2012 elections. That kind of cynical, political pandering is part of the reason why Congress’ approval ratings mirror that of third-world dictators. Most Americans, including our Hispanic and Latino citizens, believe we need immigration policies that honor our heritage as both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Let’s get the policy right first, regardless of what’s politically expedient, and the American people will decide the politics for us.

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