The following column, exclusively on AllOnGeorgia, was written by Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. It was submitted to AllOnGeorgia by his campaign and was published without any editing by AllOnGeorgia. Any candidate seeking public office may submit content to publish an opinion piece on 

It’s a New Year but failed immigration policies of the past threaten our bright and promising future.

With broken borders and an antiquated VISA system, countless illegal immigrants now call our country their home.

Thanks to President Obama, nearly a million of these illegal immigrants – some criminals – now have temporary amnesty.

In states like California, where local officials refuse to comply with immigration officers, lawlessness abounds. The murder of Kate Steinle by a criminal illegal immigrant who should have been deported is tragic. Unfortunately, this occurrence is not isolated event.

In Washington, President Trump continues to advocate for building a border wall that ensures the safety and security of the American people. But Democrats – who wholeheartedly support open borders – continue to derail his efforts.

In Congress, Georgia’s U.S. Senator David Perdue is fighting to fix our country’s legal immigration system through the RAISE ACT. This legislation changes the way we bring people into the country using a merit-based system to ensure that only the best and brightest are given the opportunity to come to America. The Raise ACT ends chain migration, benefits American workers, and strengthens local economies. It’s common sense reform and that’s exactly why liberal lawmakers are standing in opposition.

To sit on our hands while President Trump and Senator Perdue tackle immigration reform is foolish. That’s why I released my plan to join the fight!

In addition to building a border wall to keep drug cartels, criminals, and terrorists from entering the country illegally, we must also deport criminal illegal immigrants who are currently in our jails and prisons.

Why spend taxpayer dollars to house those who entered the country illegally and who threaten the safety and well being of our communities? We must partner with ICE officials to send these felons back to their country of origin.

America’s legal immigration system is in complete disarray.  In addition to supporting The Raise ACT, we must reform the H-2A visa program to provide a labor force for Georgia farmers.

As a state, we must put hardworking Georgians ahead of illegal immigrants. While our own people are being priced out of the healthcare market, illegal immigrants are going to the Emergency Room for free care. It’s simply not fair and it must change.

As governor, I will defund sanctuary cities and campuses. I will also end taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants or tax loopholes for those who are not supposed to be in Georgia.

The time for tough talk and empty promises is over. We don’t need career politicians to “fix” the problem; we need proven fighters to stand up for us – even when the left pushes back.

What happened to Kate Steinle in San Francisco can happen here in Georgia. If we give the radical left an inch – allowing them to implement policies that benefit those who are here illegally and particularly those who commit additional crimes while here – one of our sons or daughters will be next.

It’s time to tackle immigration – on the state and federal level. It’s the first real step towards putting hardworking Georgians first.

To learn more about Brian Kemp, visit his wesbite. 

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