As president, I will implement a national immigration strategy that bolsters the U.S. economy, ensures our security, keeps nuclear families together, addresses the problem of illegal immigration in a civil and resolute manner, and carries on America’s tradition as a nation of legal immigrants.
Attract more highly skilled immigrants: To ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, my administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America’s economic potential.
Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate. While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.
> The United States is projected to face a shortage of 230,000 science and technology workers by 2018. At the same time, we have set the caps on high-skill visas so low that, for some countries, an entire year’s quota has been filled in an hour. I will ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants.
> Many country caps - or limits on immigrants from specific countries - are so low that America is losing some of the best and brightest to our international competitors. I will work with Congress to raise the country caps.
> Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a US university should be granted permanent residency.
Make the temporary worker visa system functional:
> As president, I will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants. We should get rid of unnecessary requirements that delay issuance of a visa, and we should speed the processing of applications.
> I will work with Congress, states, and employers to properly set the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas. Many tourist-oriented businesses in the United States rely on these workers and would have to cut back or cease operations if there are not enough visas.
Secure the borders: According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol lacks control of over half of our southwest border. And some estimates indicate that over 40% of illegal immigrants in America entered the country legally, but then overstayed their visas.
> I will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.
> I will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border.
> I will work to develop an efficient, effective system of exit verification to ensure people do not overstay their visas.
Discourage illegal immigration: I will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs.
> I oppose all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country. As governor, I vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
> As president, I will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally. For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees.
Enforce the law: I believe in the rule of law and will fully enforce federal immigration law. As governor, I authorized state police to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement.
Cut red tape that is keeping immediate families apart: As president, I will ensure that husbands, wives, and their minor children are brought together on a timely basis.
> I will speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart.
> I will work with Congress to give legal permanent residents the same priority as citizens when applying to bring husbands, wives, and minor children to the United States.
> I will reallocate green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents.
Military service: I believe that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military.
Respect the rule of law: I oppose amnesty because I believe that it acts as a magnet encouraging illegal immigration. The last amnesty law passed in 1986 granted legal status to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. In the decades since, the illegal immigrant population has quadrupled.
I believe that an amnesty should not be permitted to happen again. Illegal immigrants who apply for legal status should not be given any advantage over those who are following the law and waiting their turn. I absolutely oppose any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to “cut in line.”