Legislation Aimed to Fix 'Broken' System

Sen. John Cornyn says there is "rampant lawlessness" in the United States as a result of a "loose" immigration system.

Illegal immigration threatens the United States' reputation as the "nation of laws," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Tuesday after a meeting with minority business leaders.

Cornyn, along with Sen. Tom Kyl of Arizona, has introduced legislation that would tighten security along the U.S.-Mexico border and hold employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

"We have rampant lawlessness within our borders because our immigration system is simply broken," Cornyn said. "It's harmful to our reputation and harmful to the immigrants operating outside the protection of the law."

Illegal immigration, mostly from south of the U.S. border, appears to be the next hot-button issue among politicians. Cornyn is the chairman of the Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee. Kyl is the chairman of the Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security subcommmitte. Both represent states that border Mexico.

Cornyn estimated that there are 15 million immigrants, most of them from Mexico, living and working illegally in the United States.

At issue is how to create a system that takes a tough stance on national security while simultaneously allowing immigrants to keep working. Currently, some immigrants are applying for work permits and legal citizenship. Others are taking advantage of United States' loose borders.

The bill would add 10,000 border patrol agents and better technology, including unmanned aerial vehicles, for tougher border enforcement. It also adds stiffer penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers.

The legislation also rules out amnesty for the existing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.

(c) Associated Press