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We have an obligation to welcome all immigrants (strangers), but we must have complete order and control. Immigration reform should ensure a proper and safe transition from undocumented to documented. It should include such things as protections from immediate deportation and a means to acquire proper identification. Those immigrants who have served in one of our branches of military should receive priority options for a pathway to citizenship. Finally, legal immigrants whose taxpayer dollars have been used to ensure Americans' benefits should also be provided an option to receive a portion of the benefits they've paid into.

We are all immigrants or come from immigrants! But I want to make it absolutely clear that I take a strong stand to support legal immigration in this country. Now, some of our ancestors were forced to migrate. As an African-American, my ancestors were forced to immigrate and they weren’t paid a single dime for the years of slave labor. But if God has granted you the slightest choice to stay or leave your country, and you don’t have someone with a weapon to the back of your head saying “go” then you should be responsible and follow the rules. I don’t believe in making it easy for those who blatantly defy our immigration laws nor am I comfortable living in a country where millions seem to sneak through our immigration process. I am equally opposed to open borders as they allow an uncontrolled amount of individuals in the country who may or may not have the country’s best interest at heart. Illegal immigration contributes to many other forms of crime: drug trafficking, human trafficking and let’s just be honest, it reduces a country’s resources for its law abiding citizens, and I can’t have it. Now, I believe in the inscription on our Statue of Liberty regarding immigration, but it must be done in a systematic, orderly way, so that no matter who you are or where you come from, for whatever reason, you can have an opportunity to become American without fear. I maintain the utmost respect for those who go through the proper channels to become citizens and I would argue it is the first indication of someone who is going to be a law-abiding patriot. That’s what America wants. We want responsible people, smart people, and ones who have integrity. There is nothing wrong with supporting national security and wanting the best, and there is also nothing wrong with being compassionate to people who are truly in need. To that end, as your future U.S. Senator, here’s what I plan to work on upon my election to office: 

  • The Forgiven Stranger Act. This legislation will institute immigration reform which would make it illegal to deport U.S. military individuals and ones who generally (non-military), honestly and voluntarily come out of hiding who have no criminal history and provide them with an immediate pathway to citizenship. Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” We have over 12+ million undocumented immigrants in this country (2020) who could be openly and honestly contributing to our economy, our tax base, and so much more. Enough is enough. It’s time we make it safe for them to come out of hiding and become documented citizens along with their families. Let’s get to work! 

  • Undocumented Immigrants and Driver’s Licenses. America is home to 11+ million undocumented immigrants who contribute $6.9 billion in sales and excise taxes, $3.6 billion in property taxes and about $1.1 billion in personal income taxes. If the millions of undocumented immigrants were granted citizenship allowing them to work legally right now, current state and tax contributions would be boosted to over $2 billion a year. It is absurd that this many people are allowed to work in this country and help drive the American economy, but can’t drive home. This is why I support providing undocumented immigrants with the ability to drive based on their ITINs (tax ID numbers). I also support International Driving Permits. 

  • Properly and carefully reviewing U.S. Embassies in other countries’ and their practices and procedures for residents applying for and acquiring visas in order to address any corruption and/or conflicts of interest

  • Creating and supporting legislation that addresses both land and water (maritime violations) as it relates to illegal immigration. Additionally, we need to provide our U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol with the resources they need to partner and counter immigration at our Southern borders, Northern borders and waters. 

  • Permanent Resident and Green Card Holder Social Welfare Benefits. Legal, permanent, law-abiding residents and immigrants who pay taxes year after year which ensure Americans' benefits should also be provided with an option to receive a portion of the benefits they've paid into if they need them. In 2017, according to the American Immigration Council, in Indiana alone, immigrants contributed $702,000,000 in state and local taxes and $1,600,000,000 in federal taxes. Surely we can provide them with some temporary assistance.    

  • Individuals who overstay visas or come from waiver countries. While there is no definitive number for how many people have overstayed their visas we estimate it to be at nearly 7+ million people. The fact that there is no definitive number is indicative of the problem, which is why I plan to address it. The airlines can help the U.S. government a great deal with this beforehand by making it impossible for foreigners to book one-way flights or two-way flights to the U.S. that allow the traveler to stay beyond the time period allotted. These individuals may seek forgiveness via the Forgiven Stranger Act, which I intend to propose to Congress. 

  • Supporting DACA. I am in complete support of giving children a chance at amnesty. They are juveniles arriving unaccompanied and deserve our mercy.

  • Enhancing legislation to enforce cooperation and participation of bordering countries when it comes to preventing illegal immigration. We must hold our bordering countries accountable and responsible for their citizens and those who they allow to haphazardly seep through their borders into ours with little to no repercussion

While many individuals seek lawful immigration into America there remain a significant number who seek to defy our rules by posing as families, asylum seekers, refugees, and individuals from countries other than the ones they are actually from. As much as it pains me to say it, these individuals may be terrorists, members of drug cartels or have some other ill-intent. This is why as a member of Congress, I promise to work harder than ever to provide our Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard with as many tools and as much training as possible to keep our nation safe.

Paid for By Hoosiers for Haneefah 
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