Immigration reform bill passes Senate; Lee nay, Hatch yea

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act  introduced in the Senate On April 16 passed the Senate yesterday by a yea-nay vote 68/32 vote. The comprehensive immigration reform bill, also known as the Gang of 8 Immigration Bill, now proceeds to the House of Representatives for consideration. The full text of the Bill as passed is included under Resources below.

Sen. Mike Lee voted against the bill, while Sen. Orrin Hatch voted for it.

Lee challenged his colleagues in an address before the vote was taken. Here are his remarks:

I rise today in support of immigration reform.

I support strengthening our borders and ensuring they are secure before beginning a pathway to citizenship because it is the only way we will avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

I support robust interior enforcement and a biometric visa tracking system because without them we will not solve the problem of illegal immigration.

I support modernizing and streamlining our visa system because we need an efficient process of legal immigration that meets the needs of our economy.

And I support immigration reform that is both tough on those who have chosen to break our laws and fair for those who have obeyed them.

Today, there is reason for disappointment but also cause for encouragement.

The bill we have before us today is an enormous disappointment.  The American people deserve better.

As a matter of public policy, this bill fails to meet many of the goals we set out to meet.

It is full of promises to beef up border security, but makes no assurances.  This legislation cuts out the American people by cutting out any congressional oversight.  It remains grossly unfair to those who have languished in our current legal immigration system, unable to get answers for decades in some cases.   It transfers enormous authority and discretion to the Executive Branch, exacerbating an already widespread problem in our federal government.

And it fails perhaps the most important test of all: according to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill will reduce illegal immigration by just 25 percent in the next ten years.  This should be reason alone to scrap this entire bill.

As a matter of process, members of this body should be embarrassed about how this bill moved through the Senate.

From Day One, the country was misled about what was in the bill. The talking points never matched the reality of what was in the bill.

We were told that if we didn’t like what was in it, we could fix it.  But that wasn’t true either.  During the committee “mark up,” Democrats and the Gang of Eight Republicans voted as a bloc to defeat virtually all substantive amendments proposed to improve the bill.

They said there would be regular order on the floor.  But that turned out to be a false promise as well.  For a 1200-page bill, the Senate, including the members not on the Judiciary Committee, was allowed exactly 9 roll call votes before the process was shut down.

During the 2007 debate on immigration reform, the Senate voted 32 times to amend the bill.  Some would argue even that was too small.  But certainly nine votes on a 1200-page bill doesn’t suggest that the proponents of the bill are interested in regular order.

And for the grand finale, at nearly the end of this process, the proponents substituted what is effectively a brand new bill in place of the one we had been debating for over two months.  They gave us very little time to read it before we had to vote on it, and, once we were on to the new bill, they did not allow a single vote on any amendments.

Mr./Madame President, this is an embarrassment to this institution and an assault on the principles of democracy.

But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, from this low point in the Senate springs an encouraging path forward for those, like me, who truly want immigration reform.

First, this exercise has laid out in front of the American people all the problems inherent in passing massive pieces of legislation that presume to fix all of our problems at once.   The so-called comprehensive approach has been utterly discredited.

From denying votes to buying votes, our experience over the past two months only reaffirms why the vast majority of Americans don’t trust Washington.  The special interests had a huge hand in writing the bill while the American people had none.  Almost all of the discussions and negotiations took place in secret back-room deals.  And rather than debate policy differences, the debate was a daily “fact check” on misleading and outright false claims made by the bill’s proponents.

The good news is that the House appears to have learned this lesson and wants no part of it.  Already, the Speaker has said the Senate bill is dead on arrival – so today’s vote is largely symbolic.

The House Judiciary Committee has recently passed two significant pieces of immigration reform – one on interior enforcement and another dealing with agricultural workers – proving that reform can be passed in a step-by-step approach.

Indeed, the only reason immigration reform is controversial is because the Senate refuses to pass it one piece at a time.  There is simply no legitimate reason why we have to pass a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it bill.

Though it is likely this bill will pass today, I strongly encourage my colleagues to consider where we started, where we are now, and what lies ahead.

They said it would secure the border. It doesn’t.  Congress has been fooled by false promises before.  We shouldn’t go down that path again.

They said illegal immigration would be a thing of the past.  It won’t. The Congressional Budget Office confirmed that under this bill there would still be 6 to 8 million illegals in the country in ten years.

They said it would be good for the economy.  It isn’t. CBO also confirmed it would lower wages and increase unemployment.

They said it would be tough but fair.  It’s neither.  It is not tough on those who have broken the law and it is not fair for the people who have been trying to come here legally.

And if this bill passes today, it will be all but relegated to the ash heap of history, as the House appears willing to tackle immigration reform the right way.

The sponsors of this bill had the best of intentions, but in my opinion, intentions aren’t enough.

As I said at the outset, Mr./Madame President, I stand here today in support of immigration reform.  But this bill is not immigration reform.  It is big government dysfunction, and it is why I cannot support it.

Hatch commented on his vote after the Bill passed the Senate. Here are his remarks:

“Our immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed, and passing this bill today is an important first step towards fixing it. The legislation as it stands right now is far from perfect, but it takes a number of strong steps forward to strengthening border security, addressing our short- and long-term labor needs, and ensuring that anyone who comes to our country is responsible for paying into the system. I look forward to working with the House of Representatives and continuing to be an active part of the process of fixing our broken immigration system.”

Resources

Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act S.744.ES BILLS-113s744es (ES denotes Bill  engrossed in the Senate

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1 Comment

  • Dave Francis June 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    SENATE BILL WAS AUTHORED FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE 10 MILLION PLUS UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS?

    1986 Amnesty Deja Vu

    Sen. Ted Cruz said after the senate legislation the following about Senate majority decision: “Sadly, this bill won’t fix the problem with our immigration system and will only encourage more illegal immigration and human suffering and added,

    “I strongly support commonsense immigration reform that secures the border before legalization, fixes our legal immigration system, and upholds the rule of law. This bill isn’t it.”

    All those who signed onto this bill are warned of the consequences, because hardly anybody read the bill outright before approving it? All these Senate Republicans have risked their political future. Alexander, Tenn.; Ayotte, N.H.; Chiesa, N.J.; Collins, Maine; Corker, Tenn.; Flake, Ariz.; Graham, S.C.; Hatch, Utah; Heller, Nev.; Hoeven, N.D.; Kirk, Ill.; McCain, Ariz.; Murkowski, Alaska; Rubio, Fla. Then having that obnoxious witch Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with her hand on the switch, with full authority is tantamount to a catastrophe in the future. I wouldn’t trust this loose cannon advocate, than I could spit or puke. She has shown her irritation to the “Rule of law” by releasing dangerous illegal aliens felons back on the streets, using the Sequester as a flimsy excuse. With this Political appointee the chances of immigration being fully enforced with her in control, is a giant mistake.

    This De facto amnesty is a malfunction to enforce the nation’s immigration laws on the interior of the United States. It is not a border issue. Chris Crane, president of the union who represents 7,000 immigration and customs enforcement officers stated, it cannot and will not end as a result of amplified border security. It must be determined through increased interior enforcement? But the fact is that the man who knew just about everything governing the border was ignored by the Gang of Eight.

    To me is blatantly obvious that those already here remain hidden from view and not detectable, which the “OVERSTAYS”. Just like so many weak parts of law, such as unlawful entry, being no more than a civil misdemeanor and not a federal FELONY? In my view so many flaws in the laws are deliberate. So instead of building up the borders with 20.000 more U.S. immigration agents at the borders, split them up and place 10.000 for internal enforcement. Remind your representatives by phoning any of the100 Senators and 435 Representatives for State or Federal at toll-free number — 1-888-978-3094–.You may phone the United States Capitol circuit at (202) 224-3121. A terminal operator will connect you directly with the Senate office or just about anybody in Washington you request to speak with, after being confronted by an aid.

    ‘Do what you will is the whole of the law’, seems to be the mantra of the Obama administration and unless you read the Senate Immigration law, you will find out all the gaping holes, special waivers, omissions that makes this reform bill passed to the House valueless for serious enforcement.

    CLEARLY A GOOD PROPORTION OF AMERICANS HAVE NO CONCEPTION OF IMMIGRATION LAW AND ITS STRUCTURE?

    There are too many inconsistencies, as the act does not name the border fence as Double layer parallel running fences. Why 20.000 agents at the border, when interior enforcement would be better served, with at least 10.000 to run down incorrigible employers who will be hiring thousands of overstays and illegal aliens claiming legal status who will be stealing jobs from Americans, as businesses will not have offer the health care, as a benefit. Obamacare has major flaws and even huge cost that as yet cannot be imagined. Every American of African descent, European descent,, Hispanic descent, Latin descent, Caribbean descent, Asian descent and every hemisphere who are going to suffer under this soiled immigration act and likely to be lose their job to new legalized people, especially in the working class. The only non-sufferers are the welfare leeches, except that are really handicapped or sick. I am sure it won’t be too long, before epithets are addressed to me and the race card; they have nothing else in their vocabulary.

    YOU CAN ALSO BLAST FAXES AT numbersusa and write your own message or copy the one exhibited. At americanpatrol is a daily report from newspapers across the country, illustrating the huge rise in drunk drivers, and other heinous crimes the left oriented press keeps suppressed. For legal information about corruption in Washington and in state assemblies at judicialwatch Also Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has set up an email address for people to contact if they believe they were targeted by the IRS. That address is: IRSTarget@Cruz.Senate.gov. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has launched a national petition. It is at SecureBordersNow,” Cruz said. “In just a week, we’ve have reached 150,000 people from all over the country sign that petition speaking out to say ‘Do not do legalization first. Secure the borders first, fix the problem.”?

    THANK YOU SENATOR TED CRUZ.

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