As a legal immigrant brought to America by my parents when I was a baby, I was particularly upset when I saw illegal immigrant parents and children being separated when they crossed into the U.S. in recent days. But I was happy when President Trump did the right thing and signed an executive order Wednesday allowing parents who have crossed the border illegally to remain with their children.

Children should not be made to suffer for the actions of their parents. President Trump has compassion for these children. So does first lady Melania Trump, who showed this Thursday by visiting a detention center in Texas for children who entered the U.S. illegally.

At the same time, I applaud the president for holding firm on his “zero tolerance” policy and criminally prosecuting any immigrants who come to the U.S. in violation of our laws. This sends a powerful message to all who disrespect our laws. 

The president’s actions – and the actions of Republicans in Congress – make me proud to be a Republican and proud that I voted for Donald Trump and continue to support him.

I understand why people want to come to America from other countries. My family fled the oppression of the Soviet Union when I was a baby for a chance at a better life – the chance at freedom, opportunity and prosperity. America has treated us well and I’m grateful and proud to be a U.S. citizen.

As lucky as I am to have been admitted to the U.S., I understand that we can’t simply ignore our immigration laws and throw open our borders to everyone around the world who would like to move here.

As lucky as I am to have been admitted to the U.S., I understand that we can’t simply ignore our immigration laws and throw open our borders to everyone around the world who would like to move here.

There might be more people outside the U.S. who want to immigrate to America than there are people living here today – obviously more than we could suddenly take in. We need a thoughtful, selective, meritocratic immigration policy to decide who can come and on the whole add the most to our nation.

President Trump is taking a balanced and reasonable approach to enforce the immigration laws passed by prior Congresses and signed into law – but often ignored – by previous presidents.

And the president is not the only Republican who is working to improve our immigration system.

Shortly after the government’s treatment of illegal immigrant children entered the news cycle, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, proposed legislation doubling the number of federal immigration judges from the current roughly 375 to 750. The Cruz proposal would speed up the processing of illegal immigrants and reduce detention time, and would bar the separation of immigrant children from their parents.

Other Senate Republicans also advanced proposals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced a bill that would keep families together while they are undergoing prosecution for breaking the law or waiting for decisions on their asylum requests. In his words: “All of the members of the Republican conference support a plan that keeps families together.”

Before signing his executive order, President Trump voiced support for the McConnell plan, but went even further for the sake of border security. The Trump administration also demanded $25 billion to fully fund the border wallsticking by Trump’s 2016 campaign promises.

The border wall is essential. We cannot solve the problem of immigrants crossing our border illegally until we secure the border.

President Trump understands the wrong approach is to double down on blanket amnesty, which Democrats and establishment Republicans continue to do.

House Speaker Paul Ryan R-Wis., has proposed to legalize at least 1.8 million illegal immigrants who are here under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The proposal is supported by the likes of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and other “Never Trumpers,” who care more about the interests of illegal immigrants than American citizens and immigrants here legally.

And what are Democrats bringing to the table? Obstruction, obstruction and more obstruction. They’ve also taken to publishing fake photos and bogus facts to drive their “resistance” to President Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., slammed the McConnell plan to reunite immigrant children and parents, claiming it would “enact the hard right’s immigration agenda.” Schumer urged the Trump administration to solve the problem unilaterally – which is exactly what the president did with his executive order.

Ironically, Senate Democrats asked President Trump to fix what President Obama broke. DACA and other Obama administration programs encouraged illegal immigrants to flood our southern border, even as the Obama administration pursued the same policy of prosecuting illegal immigrants for crossing the border and separating their families.

The Obama administration prosecuted nearly 493,000 illegal immigrants a fact the left-leaning mainstream media routinely ignores. Detention centers existed under President Obama – something the liberal media also ignores.

The bottom line is this: We can enforce our immigration laws without separating children from their families. We can secure our borders without slamming our doors on all immigrants, as long as we prioritize welcoming those who come here legally.

When my parents came here with me from the Soviet Union, they did so legally. They waited their turn because they wanted us to be a part of this beautiful country. They didn’t flee the horrors of communist Russia because they wanted to make America communist.

No immigrant can both reap the benefits of the rule of law and simultaneously ignore the rule of law. To fully participate in our free-market system – and join us in keeping America great and making it greater – each and every immigrant should come here legally.

Those who seek to break our laws as their first act of “being American” are simply dragging America into the same sad state of corruption and lawlessness they fled in the first place.

We can solve the immigration problem – fully and finally. Republicans have put solutions on the table. Democrats should join them in solving the problem instead of simply using it to attack President Trump and the GOP for political purposes.