Last week the United States Senate passed an immigration reform bill. Debate on the bill had its ups and downs. The Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the bill was transparent and fair, and I commend Chairman Leahy for that. But, the floor debate was a big disappointment. The bill was on the Senate floor for three weeks, and many of us tried to bring up amendments to make the bill better. But, we were allowed votes on only about a dozen of the 554 amendments.
I came into the debate with an open mind. I don’t think there is a Senator who thinks the status quo is ok. I had hoped to offer amendments to improve the bill. Unfortunately, the majority never allowed the fair and open process that we were promised.
One of the few amendments that was considered by the Senate, the Schumer-Hoeven-Corker “grand compromise,” failed to secure the border before legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants. Simply throwing money at the problem without any quantifiable results doesn’t prove the border is secure. In doing so, the Senate bill makes the same mistakes in 2013 that Congress made in 1986. Those mistakes led to an increase of undocumented workers from two million to 11 million people.
So, as the legislative process moves forward, it's up to the House of Representatives to fix the fundamental flaws of the Senate bill.
I can support a bill that does the following:
• secures the border before undocumented immigrants are legalized,
• includes meaningful interior enforcement,
• strengthens current law with regard to criminals, and
• protects American workers while enhancing legal avenues
I still hope that if Congress sends a bill to the President, it will be something I can vote for. We need to send a bill to the President that will make America stronger, make our border more secure, and make our immigration system more effective.
to see my weekly video address on immigration reform.
Monday, July 1, 2013