On April 22, 2013, Congressman Paul Ryan spoke to the City Club of Chicago on the need for an immigration system that is accountable, efficient and effective. Joined by Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Ryan advanced principles that should guide bipartisan immigration-reform effort, and made the case that legal immigration strengthens America.
We Must Welcome Those Who Pledge to the American Idea
"If you work hard and play by rules, you can get ahead. That is what the American Idea is. ... No matter what the condition of your birth, you can make yourself what you want to be. That is an incredible idea. It is that incredible idea that made us the best, most prosperous, flourishing country in the world. There is no other economic system in the world that has done more to lift people out of poverty than the American free enterprise system. That is what makes us proud. So how do we restore this?"
Key Principles to Fix our Broken Immigration System
"We need to secure the border. We are in an age of national-security threats of transnational terrorism. We have drug cartels that are trying to ship drugs in to pollute the lives of our children. We need to secure the border."
"We need to enforce our laws. We need to have laws that we can enforce. Right now, we encourage people to break the law and we punish people who follow the law."
"We need to let legal immigrants come here legally. You have to have a workable guest worker program. You have to have a system so that high tech employers can get high tech entrepreneurs. You have to have a system where you can get agricultural demand met. You have to have a system, going forward, that deals with future flow, so that we don’t wind up like we did after 1996 and 1986 with broken immigration going into the future."
"We have to offer people a path to earned legalization. We have to invite people to come out of the shadows. We have to have a system that people have confidence in. It is a system whereby people who have been contributing here can get right with the law. It is a system that still respects the rule of law."
Immigration Reform, if Done Right, Strengthens the American Economy
"[Immigration reform] will benefit America’s economy. We need to make sure that we have an economy that is wired for the 21st century. And that means we need to keep the best and the brightest here in America. That means, hardworking people who want to contribute, work hard, play by the rules, and rise that helps everybody in this country. That is what immigration is."