I am an immigrant. My parents were Holocaust survivors, and I was born in post-war Germany before being brought to this country as a toddler in 1949. I strongly empathize with those who want to come to this country to seek a better life.

We must reform our immigration laws in a comprehensive manner which enables us to enforce our borders, but also allows for immigration by those who are eager to embrace our values and obey our laws. As they improve life for themselves and their families, they will also contribute to our country’s vitality, as millions of immigrants have done throughout our history. However, I oppose government assistance payments to non-citizens. Their assistance, as they try to become established here, should come from family or friends acting as their sponsors, as well as private charities.

Tearing families apart, expelling some members and letting others stay, is not what America is about. However, those who flout our laws should not be rewarded for it and jumped to the head of the line ahead of those waiting in other countries for permission to come here or those who came here following proper legal procedures, as my parents did. I would allow those who are undocumented, who came here as adults, and have not committed serious crimes while in this country, to apply for permanent resident status but not citizenship. Children without documents, who were brought here by their parents, the Dreamers, should not be penalized for the actions of their parents. They should be allowed to become naturalized citizens as if they were originally documented. That said, for the small percentage of undocumented immigrants who are convicted of or plead guilty to serious crimes, the penalty should be expulsion.