Cornyn Statement On Senate Immigration Bill Passage

In: All News   Posted 05/25/2006

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the Immigration and Border Security subcommittee, made the following statement Thursday after the Senate passed the immigration bill, S. 2611, by a vote of 62-36. Sen. Cornyn voted against the bill because it still has serious flaws, but he remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform. Cornyn will be a member of the Senate-House panel (the conference committee) that will work out the differences between the Senate and House immigration bills. "We've had weeks of constructive debate on very important issues for our nation, but I've come to the conclusion that the Senate immigration bill as written still has serious flaws and is not a net plus for our country. So I cannot support it. "Throughout the process I have tried to improve the legislation in preparation for a House-Senate conference, where it will be improved even more. The net result must be marked improvement in border security, employer accountability, better assimilation of legal immigrants, and compensation for state expenses incurred from illegal immigration. "The final legislation will be written in conference committee. I'll be a member of that committee, and will work to improve it."I strongly believe the federal government has neglected our border security and immigration system for too long, and our country badly needs a comprehensive reform bill to correct decades of inaction. But in its current form, this bill is not where it needs to be."One thing is clear: The status quo is unacceptable and the only people who benefit by it are smugglers, criminals and unscrupulous employers. It's important that we move a bill to conference. "The comprehensive bill I introduced last year with Sen. Kyl was written with an eye toward the conference committee and how to bridge the differences between the House and the Senate, because we knew there were going to be fairly significant differences in the approach. I have remained consistent to the principles that I put forth a year ago, and my hope is that I can play a constructive role in bridging the differences between those two approaches."Below are the key problems that remain in the Senate immigration bill, S. 2611:

  • Approximately 8-10 million illegal immigrants would be placed on a different, easier path to a green card and citizenship
  • The temporary worker program is anything but temporary, placing all 200,000 workers on a direct path to a green card and citizenship
  • If an illegal immigrant applies for legal status and the government denies the application, the bill would not allow the government to use the information in the application to deport the illegal immigrant
  • Rewards illegal document fraud by allowing Social Security payments for those who stole identities to work in the United States illegally
  • Illegal immigrants who apply for amnesty would not have to pay back taxes until after first eight years and would only be required to pay back taxes for three years
  • The bill reduces the percentage of green cards that go to highly educated and highly skilled workers
  • The bill will increase direct spending by $54 billion and discretionary spending by $64 billion in just the first 10 years
  • The worker verification system contains "poison pills" that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated would make the system unworkable

***Sen. Cornyn has played a key role in the Senate immigration reform debate and continues to work to bolster border security and implement comprehensive immigration reform. Cornyn and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) authored a separate bill titled: The Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act (S.1438). The key components of their legislation include enhanced border security and interior enforcement, employer accountability, and reform to bring the current illegal population into compliance with the law. Sen. Cornyn is a member of the following Senate Committees: Armed Services; Judiciary; Budget; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Joint Economic. He is also the chairman of the subcommittees on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship and Emerging Threats and Capabilities.