The United States has welcomed immigrants for most of its history. Most Americans are either immigrants or are descended from people who left their home countries. Many arrived in dire straits to start a new life here. In the process, they increased the prosperity of their new fellow countrymen and contributed mightily to the progress of our country over time. Despite these benefits, America’s current immigration system is restrictive and complex, and it excludes most peaceful and healthy immigrants. These legal restrictions reduce Americans’ individual liberty, are at odds with our values, and impose an enormous cost on our economy.

The federal government has the legitimate power to protect the life, liberty, and private property of Americans. In the context of immigration, that power should extend to excluding foreign‐​born criminals, national security risks, those who would diminish the freedom and security of Americans, and foreigners with serious communicable diseases. With few exceptions, Americans should have the right to voluntarily interact with peaceful and healthy immigrants on U.S. soil. Immigrants should also be able to work and live here with the same rights and legal protections as American citizens and, eventually, naturalize.

Expanding legal immigration, avoiding harsh enforcement policies, legalizing illegal immigrants who are not a security or health threat, protecting Americans from foreign‐​born threats, and extending due process rights to those who run afoul of immigration laws are our primary policy concerns. Immigrants today should continue to culturally assimilate and integrate into American society as they have throughout American history, but that process can be hastened by legalizing illegal immigrants and protecting birthright citizenship.