BY MARCO RUBIO
SPECIAL TO THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Jan. 27, 2013 | 2:11 a.m.
Updated: Jan. 27, 2013 | 9:35 p.m.

As a nation of immigrants, Americans know how important immigration has been throughout our history. It’s an indispensable part of our future.

Sadly, our immigration system is broken, and our dysfunctional Congress has been unable to put in place a new legal immigration system that honors our heritage as both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. To do this, we need to address three key areas.

First, we need a modern legal immigration system with an application and compliance system that relies on new technology to simplify the process of coming and staying here legally.

We need an agricultural workers program that allows us to bring in seasonal and long-term laborers to provide our agricultural industries with the workers they need.

We need visa programs to attract and keep more entrepreneurs, investors and highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

None of this should lead us to abandon or undermine family-based immigration. That is how my parents came to America legally, and how a great many new Americans join our society every year. Family unification should remain a high priority alongside the nation’s economic interests.

A second key area is improving our law enforcement. Every nation has a right to protect its sovereignty by enforcing its immigration laws. We must attain operational control of our borders, create an effective workplace enforcement mechanism, and make sure that visitors to our nation leave our country when they’re supposed to.

The third key area: addressing the undocumented immigrants already here. Those who have committed serious crimes in the United States should be found, arrested and deported.

Most of those who are undocumented are not dangerous criminals. But most are also not victims. They knowingly broke our immigration laws and do not have a legal right to remain here. But they are also human beings who made those choices in pursuit of a dream we recognize as the American dream.

The best thing for our country is to deal with this issue in a humane but responsible way that ensures this never happens again – not because anyone has a “right” to reside here illegally, but because, with or without documents, most of them are here to stay.

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