Dear Bob,

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the challenges facing our immigration system.  It is an honor to serve as your Senator, and I appreciate hearing from you. 

Our current immigration system is broken, and we need strong leadership to make the necessary changes to secure our borders and stabilize unemployment.  First and foremost, we must restore the rule of law.  To accomplish this, we must improve the integrity of our borders by adopting the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission, which includes doubling border guards and using new technology to secure our borders. 

In addition, we need to recognize that access to jobs drives illegal immigration.  I believe we must hold employers accountable who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. For this reason, I support E-Verify, a voluntary program run jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, which enables employers to check the employment eligibility of new hires. I do believe, however, that we need to work out database errors and logistical challenges before we require every employer to use the system. 

This country's foundation has been strengthened by our proud tradition of immigration, and I believe that people who work hard, contribute to our economy, and respect the rule of law should always be welcome in the United States. At the same time, our immigration policies must be tough and fair to those who follow the law and pay their taxes.  Please know that I will work with my Senate colleagues to develop common sense immigration reform. 

Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you will continue to keep me informed about the issues that matter most to you.  

All my best,

Jeff Merkley
United States Senate

Pre 1/1/2005