I understand how important and emotional the issue of border security and undocumented immigration is to Georgians and Americans across our nation. I believe our first priority is to secure our borders and prevent immigrants from entering this country without documentation. However, this also means drastically improving our asylum procedures to allow immigrants escaping persecution, crime and violence safe entry into the U.S. Securing our borders means requiring the increased deployment and use of security technology, be it sensor and camera surveillance, or increased numbers of border patrol agents. I also believe the Department of Homeland Security should have adequate funds to ensure border security while improving training for Immigration Customs and Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol Agents.  I support collaborating with border state governments to deploy the National Guard and other military personnel to exercise appropriate force in order to secure our borders. And while I support efforts to deport immigrants who have committed deliberate criminal acts, I also favor increasing penalties for employers who knowingly and willingly recruit and hire undocumented workers. However, we must have clearly defined rules that are easy to follow. I do support extending the temporary work visa program as certain industries such as agriculture, landscaping, restaurants, and construction depend on immigrant labor and therefore must retain access to this workforce. Moreover, we must also create a policy to address the millions of people who are already here illegally, as simply deporting over twelve million people is not a practical solution.

Unfortunately, under the direction of the Trump Administration, we have seen some of the most inhumane policies enacted against immigrants, including religious-based travel bans and the Zero Tolerance executive order regarding asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors.  Migrants, including children, have died in U.S. custody including right here in Georgia, and detainment shelters are not providing adequate resources to immigrants.  Let me be clear, this Administration’s practices toward migrants are abhorrent and inhumane, both domestically and internationally, and I do not support them, especially when it comes at the great cost of children’s lives.  Additionally, in the cases of migrant deaths, I will work with Congress to ensure adequate investigation procedures are in place to hold individuals involved accountable.  Moreover, I will work to ensure that Congress provides the resources needed at border detainment facilities to provide proper nutrition, access to clean water and medical services for those detained there.