Senator Shaheen is a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and recently voted in favor of bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform legislation that would strengthen border security, require all employers to use an E-Verify system to ensure no workers are here illegally, and provide a tough but fair path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who are already living in the United States.  She believes that commonsense immigration reform in the United States has been long overdue and is pleased to see both parties coming together to address this issue. 

She supports comprehensive reform that includes certain key elements:

Strengthening our Border

Senator Shaheen believes any immigration reform proposal must ensure the security of our nation’s borders. We have doubled the number of agents patrolling our borders over the past ten years and we’ve made significant progress in securing our borders and stemming the flow of illegal entries. Senator Shaheen voted for a bipartisan immigration reform bill that makes significant investments in border security. We must ensure law enforcement has adequate resources to keep us safe, and we must strengthen the infrastructure and technology necessary to combat transnational crime and prosecute national security threats.

Employment Verification

Senator Shaheen is committed to providing businesses in New Hampshire and across the country tools they need to ensure their workers are legal, voting in favor of commonsense immigration reform that would require all employers to use an E-Verify system to ensure no workers are here illegally.

Visas for High Skilled Workers

Senator Shaheen understands that there is an immediate economic demand for high-skilled workers, particularly in the technology sector, in New Hampshire and throughout the United States.  That’s why she supports increasing the number of available visas and green cards in the short term, because it will help American businesses succeed. 

Senator Shaheen introduced a bipartisan bill to increase visas for highly skilled workers.  It’s called the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013.  The bill, which is supported by a wide array of businesses and business advocacy groups nationwide, offers a specific plan to address the shortage of visas and green cards for highly skilled immigrants working in science and technology fields. 

However, the ultimate goal is to have a homegrown workforce with expertise in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and that’s why Senator Shaheen believes that greater investment in STEM education must be part of this reform effort.  The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 includes increased funding for STEM education for our students and is designed to ensure the United States can maintain its competitiveness in the global economy.

Earned Citizenship

Senator Shaheen also believes we need to find a sensible way to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already living and working here and who ought to be contributing to our country as taxpayers. Senator Shaheen cosponsored the DREAM Act in the 112th Congress, and was pleased to see that this has been included in the comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill in the Senate. She believes thoughtful, effective immigration reform includes a path to citizenship for those who take a series of important and difficult steps, including the payment of back taxes, penalties and fees, as well as criminal background and national security checks.  These immigrants must learn English and go to the back of the line behind those who have been waiting to legally immigrate to this country.