I am confident that our country and our economy will be far more secure when those who are currently living in the shadows of our society are recognized and provided the means to become lawful residents, if not a path to citizenship.Note also that the remarks oppose immigration enforcement, at the same time as SESBA presumably will include ramped-up enforcement as an inducement to those who support our laws:
Those who oppose a realistic solution to address the estimated millions of people currently living and working in the United States without proper documentation have offered no alternative solution other than harsh penalties and more enforcement.So? That would work, and it would restore the natural order of things where people stay in their own countries until we decide we want to admit them. Apparently Leahy et al are afraid that it would work. But, don't worry: he's thinking of you:
We must protect the rights and opportunities of American workers and, at the same time, ensure that our Nation's farmers and employers have the help they need.OK, the American worker isn't at the top of Leahy's list. Rather, he's more concerned with the riding on the coattails of racial power and helping cheap labor employers have a ready workforce.
We cannot continue to deny asylum seekers because they have been forced at the point of a gun to provide assistance to those engaged in terrorist acts. We cannot continue to label as terrorist organizations those who have stood by the United States in armed conflict.UPDATE: Brown was added as a co-sponsor.
It is the sense of Congress that Congress should enact, and the President should sign, legislation to strengthen the economy, recognize the heritage of the United States as a nation of immigrants, and amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) by--
(1) providing more effective border and employment enforcement;
(2) preventing illegal immigration; and
(3) reforming and rationalizing avenues for legal immigration.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. Presdient, as we begin the 111th Congress, we will try, once again, to enact comprehensive immigration reforms that have eluded us in the past several years. With an administration that understands the critical necessity of meaningful reform and that understands the policy failures of the last 8 years, I am hopeful that the new Congress can finally enact legislation consistent with our history as a nation of immigrants.
The majority leader has included immigration reform as among the legislative priorities for the new Congress. I look forward to working with him, Senator Kennedy, Senator McCain, and others interested in working toward the goal of immigration reform.
In 2006 and 2007, Congress attempted to pass practical and effective reforms to our immigration system. In 2006, the Senate did its part and passed legislation, only to be thwarted by those in the House of Representatives who opposed dealing with the issue in a meaningful way. In 2007, the House passed legislation only to have it blocked in the Senate by Republican Members opposed to effective reform.
If our immigration policies are to be effective and play a role in restoring America's image around the world, we must reject the failed policies of the last 8 years. We cannot continue to deny asylum seekers because they have been forced at the point of a gun to provide assistance to those engaged in terrorist acts. We cannot continue to label as terrorist organizations those who have stood by the United States in armed conflict. We must not tolerate the tragic and needless death of a person in our custody for lack of basic medical care. We must ensure that children are not needlessly separated from their parents and that family unity is respected.
We must move beyond the current policy that is focused on detaining and deporting those undocumented workers who have been abused and exploited by American employers but does nothing to change an environment that remains ripe for these abuses. We must protect the rights and opportunities of American workers and, at the same time, ensure that our Nation's farmers and employers have the help they need. We should improve the opportunities and make more efficient the processes for those who seek to come to America with the goal of becoming new Americans, whether to invest in our communities and create jobs, to be reunited with loved ones, or to seek freedom and opportunity and a better life. We must also live up to the goal of family reunification in our immigration policy and join at least 19 other nations that provide immigration equality to same-sex partners of different nationalities. And I believe we would be wise to reconsider the effectiveness and cost of a wall along our southern border, which has adversely affected the fragile environment and vibrant cross-border culture of an entire region. Such a wall stands as a symbol of fear and intolerance. This is not what America is about and we can do better.
Those who oppose a realistic solution to address the estimated millions of people currently living and working in the United States without proper documentation have offered no alternative solution other than harsh penalties and more enforcement. The policies of the last 8 years, which have served only to appease the most extreme ideologues, must be replaced with sensible solutions. I am confident that our country and our economy will be far more secure when those who are currently living in the shadows of our society are recognized and provided the means to become lawful residents, if not a path to citizenship.
As President-elect Obama's administration considers immigration issues, I look forward to working closely with them and with the Senate's leadership to find the best solutions. President-elect Obama's nominees to lead the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor understand very well the importance of sensible border policies and the importance of workers' rights. The American people look to all of us to forge a consensus for immigration reform that rejects the extreme ideology that has attended this issue and prevented real progress.
Wed, 01/07/2009 - 14:43 · Importance: 24