One of the biggest concerns my constituents want Congress to address is illegal immigration. We must find ways to allow legal immigration, particularly because our agriculture industry is dependent on the workforce legal immigrants provide. But illegal immigration, by its definition, should not be tolerated. That is why I signed the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging her to oppose efforts to grant amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

We have a problem with our borders. This is a matter of national security, and it affects every one of us. I fear for the safety of my children, grandchildren and the hundreds of millions of Americans who live with the knowledge that there's a gaping hole in our public safety. Our borders will not be secured by granting legal status to illegal immigrants. This would only encourage more illegal immigration in that by granting amnesty, more people will come here illegally in the hope that they, too, ultimately will be given a free legal pass.

What's more, amnesty is brutally unfair to the many millions who entered the United States legally. It trivializes the legal path to citizenship by telling lawbreakers that their efforts are on par with those who stood in line and entered the United States with permission. If you have ever attended a swearing in ceremony for new U.S. citizens, you know what I'm talking about. That moment when we welcome new citizens into our country is unforgettable. Tears are shed because these men and women know their long effort down the legal path to freedom and citizenship has paid off. They know that they have now gained the liberty only America affords and are now full citizens of this great country, a country that recognized their inalienable, God-given rights. How amazing and inspiring.

I hope we keep that vision in mind when we consider amnesty in the context of illegal immigration. It's just not right.