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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 11, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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emigrates has to reflect the 21st century reality which is reason number one why this country needs immigration reform. all the attention is being paid to illegal immigration. look, that's a serious problem. i'm going to talk about that in a moment. but issue number one, the fundamental reason why we have to do immigration reform is because we do not have a 21st century immigration system. our immigration system today is largely built on the idea that if you have a relative living here, it's easier for you to come if you have a special skill or talent you're offering to the country to contribute. we don't have a merit-based system. we have a family-based system. i say that as someone whose family came on a family-based system. my parents came here because my mom's sister claimed her in 1956. but the country is so different, the world is so different. so different from 2006, not to mention 1956. and our immigration system has to reflect that. the problem is we have a broken legal immigration system. it does not reflect the
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realities of the 21st century. and the result is that even if we didn't have a single illegal immigrant in the united states, we should be on the floor of the senate debating immigration reform because we must modernize our legal immigration system. and that as much as anything else is a reason why my colleagues should be excited about the opportunity to have this debate, because we have to modernize our legal immigration system so that it is a benefit to our country. and i give this anecdote because i think it's appropriate. you know we're in the nba finals, which by the way the miami heat won game two in resounding fashion, and we're very happy about that. we'll see what happens tonight. but imagine for a second if there was now the hottest basketball player in the country, played at some college in the united states, 6'10", never misses a shot, just an unbelievable player. do you think in your wildest dreams that we would ever let that person go play in italy or spain or some other country? there is no way in the world that we are going to allow the best basketball player in the world, no matter where they are born from, no matter where they
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came from, no matter their immigration status, there is no way in the world that we're going to let a future nba star leave the united states and go play basketball in some other country, in the european league or the greek league or whatever. they're going to stay here. and so my question to you is if that's how we approach sports, which is important, i guess, but it's a game, shouldn't that be the way we approach our economy? should we be deporting the best graduates at some of our universities, world-class physicists and scientists and people in technology and engineering and math, and yet that's the way functionally our immigration system works right now. and i'm not making this up. we've heard the testimony. we have heard the people that come into our offices. there isn't a member in this office who hasn't had a meeting in their office or their staff hasn't or someone from the tech community who will come to you and say we are going to college campuses, we are making job offers to the best and brightest, and we can't keep them here. not because they don't want to stay here, not because they are not qualified, not because we don't have a job opening, but
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because we can't get them a green card or legal status. and so they are learning at our universities at the expense of the american taxpayer, and then they are leaving the united states to compete against us. that makes no sense. nor does, by the way, the system of getting workers for agriculture, which i would argue to many respects is skilled labor. if you don't believe me, go watch some of these people in the field as they work and the work that they do. but american agriculture, you talk about energy security, you want to cripple a country, cripple their food security, cripple their agricultural security. agriculture's an important industry in most of the states in this country and certainly for the united states of america. that industry depends on a work force, and there is a demand for labor in that work force, and the fact is and has been for over a hundred years that the only way to fully fill all the jobs available in agriculture is through seasonal and temporary labor from abroad. there is a real demand for that labor, and there is a real supply of people that want to do that labor. and supply and demand will always meet.
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but because we do not have a functional legal immigration system that allows the supply of important workers to meet the demand of domestic jobs and agriculture, supply and demand are meeting but they are meeting in a chaotic and broken way. that needs to be reformed. as well as a bunch of other things. i mean, the immigration system is very bureaucratic and complicated. in fact, our broken legal immigration system is one of the leading contributors to illegal immigration. over 40% of the people in this country illegally today came legally. they didn't jump a fence, they didn't sneak in. they came on some sort of temporary visa and they overstayed it. and one of the leading reasons why they overstay is they think it's too costly, too time consuming and too bureaucratic to come back legally again in the future. so i guess my point is even if we didn't have a single illegal immigrant in the u.s., we need to do immigration reform because we must modernize our legal immigration system and it must reflect the 21st century. the second point that i would make to you is our immigration
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laws are only as good as our ability to enforce them, and we don't have enforcement mechanisms that work. all the attention is paid to the border and it should be because the border is not just an immigration issue, it is a national security issue. that means the same routes that are used to smuggle in immigrants can be used to smuggle in weapons and terrorists and other things and drugs. so we must secure the border. and that's not easy to do because there is no such thing as one border. the border's broken up into about nine different sectors. some are doing much better than they ever have. others are not doing very well at all. we must secure the border of the united states for national security reasons as well as immigration reasons. and i know that it's hard to do it and i know there have been efforts in the past that's failed, but i am telling you that i refuse to accept the idea that the most powerful country on earth, the nation that put a man on the moon, is incapable of securing its own border. our sovereignty is at stake in terms of border security. border security is not an antiimmigration or an
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anti-immigrant measure. it is an important national security measure but it is also an important defense of our sovereignty, and we must protect our borders. likewise, we have to understand that even if you protect your borders, the magnet that's bringing people to the united states is employment. and so we have to create a system which we are capable of doing in the 21st century. we must create a system that allows employers to verify that the person that they are hiring is legally here, hence all this talk of everify. and last but not least, because 40% of the people that are here legally -- illegally entered legally, we have to have a system that tracks when visitors enter and when they leave. now, my colleagues will tell you that's already required by law, and it is. the problem is that the way it's required right now will never work, and that's why this bill deals with that. we have to have a system so when you're visiting the united states on a temporary visa, as a tourist, on business, what it may be, we track you, you log in when you come in and and you log
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in when you leave. every hotel in america knows when their guests come in and when they leave. every hotel in america knows that. multiple businesses track people when they come in and when they leave. we do this every single day as a matter of routine in our lives. the federal government should be able to do that, and it must do that, and this bill requires that they do that and it creates a real incentive to do that, and i'll talk about it in a moment, but basically the incentive is that the green card process for those who are illegally in this country, that doesn't start new mexico that system is fully in place. by the way, it also doesn't start until everify is fully in place. these are significant security measures that we must undertake. when you hear people say well, the bill weakens the status quo of the law, the problem is that the status quo isn't working. there's a reason why we have 11 million people here illegally, and it's because the status quo, the current law, there is a flaw in it. there is a flaw in everify. the flaw is you basically show up at your employer, you show
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them a social security card. it may not be her social security card, but that's all you have to show them. it's happening all the time. people are either falsifying the document or borrowing someone else's and using someone else's legal documentation to find a job. we have to create a new e-verify, one that allows us to verify that the person holding that card is actually that person. otherwise, arguing in favor of the status quo is arguing in favor of continuing the fraud. so we have got to stop that from happening. so we have to have security elements as part of this bill. border security, e-verify, and entry-exit tracking. the last issue -- and it's the one that gets all the attention -- is what to do with the people that are here illegally now. i want to begin by saying i don't know anyone who is happy about the fact that we have approximately 10.5 million to 11 million human beings living in the united states illegally. i would also remind that you every one of their stories is different. i would caution people not to lump them all into one basket because they're all very
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different. some came legally and overstayed, others entered illegally and have been here ever since. some came in as very young children, didn't even know they were illegal until they tried to go to college. the point is there is real diversity in that group of people. so we have three options. option number one is we can ignore it, leave it the way it is, pretend it's not there, and i think if this bill fails or efforts like it fail, that's exactly what will happen. and for those who oppose amnesty, i will tell you that is de facto amnesty. de facto amnesty is having 11 million people living among you illegally. the only consequence to it is they don't have documentation, but obviously they are working somewhere because they are providing for their families, they don't qualify for any federal benefits. they are all around us everywhere you look, whether you know it or not. they're here. most have been here for longer than a decade. we can ignore it, but if we do, if we leave it in place, if we do nothing, if we do nothing, if this bill fails and we do nothing, that's de facto
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amnesty. the second option is we can make life miserable. we can basically put e-verify in place, continue to secure the borders and make life so tough on people that they'll just leave on their own. i don't think that's a practical approach. i don't think it works. i don't think most americans would tolerate what we would have to do in order for that to happen. i don't think most americans would tolerate the humanitarian costs of approaching it that way. and at the end of the day, i still think many won't leave anyway. they'll figure out a way to survive and endure. i don't think that's a practical approach. if someone else thinks that's a practical approach, i would encourage them to come to the floor and convince me otherwise, come here and explain to us why we should try to do that. i haven't heard anyone make that argument. i'm not saying anyone is, which proves my point. so what's the third option? the third option is to deal with it, to deal with it in a way that's reasonable and compassionate, but also in a way that's responsible and good for the country, and that's what we have endeavored to do as part of
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this bill. so let's be clear what this bill does. this bill, the first and foremost thing that it does, it says to the people that are here illegally come forward, we have a process for you that you're going to have to undergo if you want to be in this country legally, and here's what that process is. number one, you're going to have to undergo a background check. they're going to have to fingerprint you, you are going to have to undergo a background check for national security and for crimes. if you committed serious crimes, you're not going to qualify for this legalization. you're going to have to pay an application fee. you're going to have to pay a fine because that's a consequence of having violated our immigration laws. when i hear the word amnesty used, it reminds me amnesty means the forgiveness of something. we have seen amnesties all the time. i was recently in the great state of hawaii. we had a great visit there on a personal visit. they have a box called an amnesty box. it allows you when you get off the airplane if you have any banned agriculture, plants, fruits, whatever, to put it in the bucket, no questions asked. that's amnesty. amnesty is turn it in and
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nothing will happen to you, no price to pay. that's not what this bill does. this bill says come forward and you're going to have to undergo a background check for national security, a background check for crimes, you're going to have to pay a fine, you're going to have to pay an application fee, you're going to have to get gainfully employed and start paying taxes, and you're not going to qualify for any federal benefits. no obamacare, no food stamps, no welfare, nothing. and that's all you're going to be able to have for ten years, which leads me to my second point about the legalization. there is this notion out there that this is permanent legalization, that once you get this, you're legal forever. not true. this is -- like all other nonimmigrant visas, this is renewable. under the program we envision in this bill, every six years, you're going to have to come forward and reapply. every six years you're going to have to come forward and undergo all the same things over again. another fine, another application fee, another background check. and, in fact, when you go renew
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it the first time, you're going to have to prove that you have been gainfully employed and paying taxes for the previous six years. the legalization that people are going to be able to get the so-called r.p.i., registered provisional immigrant, the key word there is provisional. it is not permanent. and there are people that are going to qualify for r.p.i. at the beginning who when it comes time to renew aren't going to qualify because they weren't gainfully employed and paying taxes, because they committed a crime, because they can't pay the fine. it's going to happen. we don't think it will be prevalent, but it will happen. it is not permanent. it is provisional. the third aspect of it is that once you have been an r.p.i. for ten full years, after you have been an r.p.i. for ten full years, which means the first six years and then you reapplied and qualified and you have been in it another four years, then here's the only thing that happens. the only thing that happens is that you are now qualified to, you are eligible to apply for a green card.
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it doesn't mean on the tenth-year anniversary of getting r.p.i., you show up at some office and say i'm here, give me my green card. that's not true. you have to apply for it. you have to undergo the same green card process with all the same checks and balances. and i filed an amendment to improve it even further. i'm saying that when you apply for that green card after the ten-year period and more has expired, you're going to have to prove that you're proficient in english because i think the simulation is important, -- because i think assimilation is important, because i think assimilating into american society is important. i think learning english is not just american for assimilation, it's important for economic success. you cannot flourish in our economy, you cannot flourish in our country if you're not proficient in english. and we're going to require that at the green card stage. now, what's the debate going to be about here over the next few weeks? well, a couple of things are going to have to happen. first, like any other bill, there are some technical changes that are going to have to be made, and those will be made. i think there will be
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improvements to the bill on other issues like what i have just talked about, this amendment that i have to make the english proficiency required at the green card stage. then i think we're going to move on and have a debate about the costs of this bill and ensuring that we truly tighten this. because, look, the american people are very generous and open, especially through a process like this, but they want to make sure this isn't costing the american taxpayer, so we're going to really have to make sure that people aren't qualifying for these federal benefits. we we have to make sure that people who violated the law, one of the consequences is they are not a burden on the american taxpayer. if you talk to immigrant groups and the immigrants themselves, they'll tell you that's not a problem, that's not what we're here for. good. because you're not going to qualify for those things and we're going to make that even clearer in some of the amendments that senator hatch and others are working on. i think we have to get to the final point and that's the security elements of this bill. now, i personally believe that more than half of my colleagues on the republican side, maybe a little more, maybe a little
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less, want to vote for an immigration bill. they want to modernize our immigration system, improve our enforcement mechanisms and deal with the 11 million people here illegally but they are only willing to do that if they can go back to their folks at home and say we took steps to make sure this will never happen again. we didn't repeat the mistakes of the past. this isn't going to happen again. that's going to be the key to this bill passing. and i think that we can do that. and that's in our principles, by the way. the guiding principles before this bill was unveiled talked about border security. one of the ways i think we can improve that is not leaving the border and fence plan to chance. let's not leave it to the department of homeland security. one of the objections we heard from opponents of the bill is we don't trust homeland security to come up with a plan that works. fine. let's put it in the bill. let's put the specific plan in the bill, the number of fences, the amount of technology, let's mandate it in the bill. so that we're not leaving it to guesswork so when you goat for this have it you are voting for
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a specific security plan. i've heard people say we think the everify portion should be improved. let's fix it now, put it in the bill. we think the exit/entry tracking system can be improved. let's put it in the bill. so when you vote for the bill you're voting for a plan on those things. that's important and that's not unreasonable. yapt ypt you to think about this. the immigrant who is here comes forward, get legalized, they are now here legalley i. they met the conditions, they're here legally, they're paying taxes, not in the shadows anymore. but before we can move to a green card which is permanent residency, all we're asking for is we ensure this never happens been again. that is not an unreasonable request. not only do i not think it's unreasonable, i think that is a very responsible request. because none of us want to be here five years from now or ten years from now saying boy, they messed up in 2013. we got to do this all over
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again. none of us want to be here five years from now facing five million illegal immigrants more, another wave of illegal immigration. if we can get that right, i believe this legislation will pass in an historic way out of this chamber and it strengthens the chances it could pass in the house and be signed by the president. that's the opportunity we have. to get something like this right. now, i could go on and talk about the economic benefits of legal immigration reform and what that will mean for our economy, we'll have plenty of time to have that conversation. trust me when i tell you and we'll work on it to convince you, it will be a net positive for america to have a illegal immigration system that works. that's why this debate is so important. i think we can do something smoog here that's good for the country and responsible and once and for all solve this problem so we don't have to continue to deal with it so it doesn't hold us back so we a nation of immigrants built on a heritage of legal immigration can have a
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legal immigration system that works, that we can be proud of that helps our country, that takes this issue off the table, gets rid of de facto amnesty that protects our sovereignty and our borders and the security of our people. that's what we have chance to do here. to the opponents of the legislation, i respect your views very much. i do. you raise valid persons which we have attempted to address and which we will continue to address in this bill. i'm not one of those take it or leave it people with regard to legislation. i think no matter what idea i have, the more people are exposed to it, the more suggestions i get, the better we can make it and maltly that's what i'm interested in being a part of. i'm not interested in being a part of a talking point or a messaging point. what i'm personally interested in is solving a problem hurting america and that's how i'll close. that's why i'm passionate about this. the reason why i'm passionate about this issue is because this thing is hurting america.
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the fact that we have 11 million people living here, don't want know who herb or where they are, they're not incorporated into our economy, it's bad for our country. the fact we can't enforce our immigration laws because the systems don't work, that's bad for america. the fact that we have a legal immigration system that hurts our economy and hurts our future, that's bad for america. what we have today in immigration america is bad. it doesn't work for anyone, unless you're a human trafficker or someone who is benefiting at the expense of cheap illegal labor. who else is being helped by the status quo? who else likes what we have right now? the answer is nobody. and leaving this in place is not an altern pif you tiff. it is not an option. this is the problem that's hurting our country and the only way to solve a problem is to get involved in trying to solve it. that's why i came here. not to sign a bunch of letters
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and give a speech once a week on the floor. i came here because i believe i know, i know with all my heart that what we have here is unique exceptional and special place but to keep it that way requires us to take seriously, not just our constitutional charge but take seriously the opportunity we have to solve historic problems in and historic way. and i think this bill done right gives us the opportunity to do that. and i look forward to the opportunity to be a part of it. and i hope my colleagues, those who are open-minded about it will remain open-minded as we work to improve this product and give the american people something that helps our country, solves our problem and makes us all prowtd proud. -- makes us all proud. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: i ask unanimous consent i be able to deliver a floor speech on immigration reform in spanish. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: i will provide a translation for the congressional record.
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[senator kaine is delivering his remarks in spanish] [senator kaine is delivering his remarks in spanish] [senator kaine is delivering his remarks in spanish]
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
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>> president obama spoke this morning in support of immigration legislation saying that the senate bill is not perfect and no one will get everything they want but that the bill would be an investment in border security and would give employers a reliable way to check whether those they're hiring are in the country legally. here is the president in the east room of the white house this morning. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states accompanied by --. [inaudible] [applause]
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>> good morning. >> good morning. >> my name is toli olbme and i'm a dreamer. when i was eight years old i dreamed of being an engineer. at 14 i was brought from africa to the u.s. to live that dream. at 21 i graduated with a chemical engineering degree and today, that dream still lives in the back of my closet where my diploma waits for immigration reform. i never set out to devote
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myself completely to immigration reform. nor did i i imagine out of the arcs of my darkest secret would arrive my true purpose. in 2006, my father passed away in nigeria. too far for a final kiss good-bye and fearing that at any moment i could be torn away from my family, i stand here today as a direct result of the fervent prayers of my father and bold action by the president. instead of living in fear, and well below my abilities, i have the privilege of spending my days advocating
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for immigration reform and supporting efforts to achieve that more perfect that we desire. mom, dad, today i'm hopeful and humbled to present the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. well good morning, everybody. welcome to the white house. it is a pleasure to have so many distinguished americans today from so many different walks of life. we've got democrats and
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republicans. we've got labor and business leaders up on stage. we have law enforcement and clergy. americans who don't see eye-to-eye on every issue. in fact in some cases don't see eye-to-eye on just about any issue but who are today standing united in support of the legislation that is front and center in congress this week. a bipartisan bill to fix our broken immigration system. and, i have to say, please give tolu another round of applause. [applause] it takes a lot of courage to do what tolu did, to step out of the shadows, to share her story, and to hope that despite the risks, she could make a difference. but, tolu i think is
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representative of so many dreamers out there who have worked so hard, and i've had a chance to meet so many of them who have been willing to give a face to the undocumented and have inspired a movement across america and with each step they reminded us time and again what this debate is all about. this is not an abstract debate. this is about incredible young people who understand themselves to be americans, who, have done everything right but have still been hampered in achieving their american dream. and they remind us that we're a nation of immigrants. throughout our history the promise we found in those who come from every corner of the globe has always been one of our greatest strengths. it's kept our workforce vibrant and dynamic. it has kept our businesses
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on the cutting-edge. it's helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known. when i speak to other world leaders one of the biggest advantages we have economically is our demographics. we're constantly replenishing ourselves with talent from all across the globe. no other country can match that history and what was true years ago is still true today. who is beeping over there? [laughter] you're feeling kind of self-conscious, aren't you? [laughter] it's okay. you know, in recent years, one in four of america's new small business owners were immigrants. one in four high-tech
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start-ups in america were founded by immigrants. 40% of fortune 500 companies were started by a first or second generation american. think about that. almost half of the fortune 500 companies when they were started were started by first or second generation immigrants. so immigration isn't just part of our national character, it is a driving force in our economy that creates jobs and prosperity for all of our citizens. now here's the thing. over the past two decades our immigration system hasn't kept pace with changing times and hasn't matched up with our most cherished values. right now our immigration system invites best and the brightest from all over the world to come and study at our top universities and then once they finish, once they have got the training they need to build a new invention or create a new
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business our system too often tells them to go back home so that other countries can reap the benefits, the new jobs, the new businesses and new industries. that's not smart but that is the broken system we have today. right now our immigration system keeps families apart for years at a time. even for folks who technically under the legal immigration system should be eligible to become citizens but it is so long and so cumbersome, so byzantine, that families end up being separated for years because of a backlog of visas, people who came here legally, who are ready to give it their all to earn their place in america end up waiting for years to join their loved ones here in the united states. it is not right but that is the broken system we have today. right now our immigration system has no credible way of dealing with the 11
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million men and women who are in this country illegally. and yes, they broke the rules. they didn't wait their turn. they shouldn't be let off easy. they shouldn't be allowed to game the system, but at the same time the vast majority of these individuals are not looking for any trouble. they're just looking to provide for their families, contribute to their communities. they're our neighbors. we know their kids. too often they're forced to do what they do in a shadow economy where shady employers can exploit them by paying less than the minimum wage, making them work without overtime, not giving them any benefits that pushes down standards for all workers. it is bad for everybody. because all the businesses that do play by the rules, that higher people legally, that pay them fairly, they're at a competitive disadvantage. american workers end up being at a competitive disadvantage. it is not fair but that's
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the broken system that we have today. now over the past four years we've tried to patch up some of the worst cracks in the system. we made border security a top priority. today we have twice as many border patrol agents as we did in 2004. we have more boots on the ground along our southern border than at any time in our history. and in part by using technology more effectively, illegal crossings are near their lowest level in decades. we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who are endangering our communities. today, deportation of criminals is at its highest level ever. having put border security in place, having refocused on those who could do our communities harm, we are
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also then took up the cause of the dreamers. young people like tola who were brought to this country as children. weigh said if you're able to meet basic criteria like pursuing a higher education we'll offer you a chance to come out of the shadows and continue to work here and study and contribute to your communities legally. so my administration has done what we can on our own. we've got members about of my administration here who have done outstanding work over the past few years to try to close up some of the gaps that exist in the system but the system's still broken and it truly deal with this issue, congress needs to act, and that moment is now. this week the senate will consider a common sense, bipartisan bill, that is the best chance we've had in years to fix our broken immigration system. it will build on what we've
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done and continue to strengthen our borders. it will make sure that businesses and workers are all playing by the same set of rules and it includes tough penalties for those who don't. it's fair for middle class families by making sure that those who are brought into the system pay their fair share in taxes and for services. and it's fair for those who try to immigrate legally by soing those who try to skip the line. it's the right thing to do. now this bill isn't perfect. it's a compromise. and going forward nobody is going to get everything that they want. not democrats, not republicans, not me. but this is a bill that's largely consistent with the principles that i and the people on this stage have laid out for common sense reform. first of all, if passed this
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bill would be the biggest commitment to border security in our nation's history t would put another $6.5 billion on top of what we're already spending towards stronger, smarter security along our borders. it would increase criminal penalties against smugglers and traffickers. it would finally give every employer a reliable way to check that every person they're hiring is here legally. and we're holding employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. so it strengthens border security, but also enforcement within our borders. i know there's a lot of talk right now about border security. so let me repeat, today illegal crossings are near their lowest level in decades and if passed, the senate bill as currently written and hitting the floor would put in place the
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toughest border enforcement plan that america has ever seen. so nobody is taking border enforcement lightly. that is part of this bill. number two, this bill would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally. is that pact way is arduous. you have got to pass background checks. you've got to learn english. you've got to pay taxes and a penalty. then you have to go to the back of the line behind everybody who has done thing the right way and tried to come here legally. it will take at least 13 years before the vast majority of these individuals are able to even apply for citizenship. so this is no cakewalk. but it's the only way we can make sure that everyone who's here is playing by the same rules as ordinary
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families, paying taxes and getting their own health insurance. that's why for immigration reform to work it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship. we're asking everybody to play by the same rules, you've got to give people a sense of certainty that if they go through all these sacrifices, do all this, that there's, at the end. horizon, the opportunity, not the guaranty but the opportunity to be part of this american family. by the way, majority of americans support this idea. number three, this bill would modernize the legal immigration system so that alongside training american workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we're also at tracking the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers from around the world who will ultimately grow our economy. and this bill would help make sure that our people don't have to wait years before their loved ones are
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able to join them here in america. so that's what immigration reform looks like. smarter enforcement, a pathway to earned citizenship, improves to our legal system. they're all common sense steps. they have got bipartisan support. they have got the support of a broad cross-section of leaders from every walk of life. so there's no reason congress can't get this done by the end. sum of the summer. remember the process that led to this bill was open-ended and inclusive. for months the bipartisan "gang of eight" looked at every issue, reconciled competing ideas, built a compromise that works. then, the judiciary committee held numerous hearings, more than 100 amendments were added, often with bipartisan support.
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and the good news is every day that goes by more and more republicans and democrats are coming out to support this common sense immigration reform bill. and i'm sure the bill will go through a few more changes in the weeks to come but this much is clear. if you genuinely believe we need to fix our broken immigration system, there's no good reason to stand in the way of this bill. a lot of people, democrats and republicans have done a lot of good work on this bill. so if you're serious about actually fixing the system, then this is the vehicle to do it. if you're not serious about it, if you think that a broken system is the best america can do, then i guess it might make sense to try to block it. but if you are actually serious and sincere about fixing a broken system, this
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is the vehicle to do it and now's the time to get it done. there is no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we've had in years to address this problem in a way that is fair to middle class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants. and there's no good reason to undue the progress we've already made, especially when it comes to extreme steps like stripping protections from dreamers that my administration has provided or asking law enforcement to treat them the same way they treat violent criminals. that's not who we are. we owe it to america to do better. we owe it to the dreamers to do better. we owe it to the young people like tolu and diego sanchez who is with us here today. where is diego? right here. he came here from argentina with his parent when he was
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just a kid and growing up america was his home. this is where he went to school. this is where he made friends. this is where he built a life. you ask diego he feels american in every way, except one, on paper. in high school diego found out he was undocumented. think about that. all the stuff you're already dealing with in high school and suddenly, oh, man. [laughter] so he has done everything right, stayed out of trouble, excelled in class, contributed to his community, feeling hopeful about his future and suddenly he finds out he has got to live in fear of deportation. watching his friends get their licenses, knowing he couldn't get one. seeing his classmates apply for summer jobs, knowing he couldn't do that either.
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when diego heard we were going to offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows, he went and signed up. all he wanted, he said was the chance to live a normal life and to contribute to the country i love. and diego this year was approved for defered action. a few weeks ago he graduated from st. thomas university where he was student body president and student of the year. [applause] so now he's, set his sights high every and masters degree and law school, so he can pursue a career in public policy, help america shape his future. why wouldn't we want to do the right thing by diego?
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what rationale is there out there that wouldn't want to make sure diego achieves his dreams, because if he does, that helps us all achieve our dreams? so in the weeks to come you'll hear some opponents of immigration reform try to gin up fear and create division and spread the same old rumors and untruths that we've heard before. and when that happens, i want you to think about it. olu, i want you to think about diego, and i want you to think about your own parents and your great grandparents and all the men and women and children who came here. the notion that somehow those who came through ellis island had all their papers right -- [laughter]
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you know, had checked every box and followed procedures as they were getting on that boat. they were looking for a better life jugs like these families. they want to earn their way into the american story. if you're willing to stand with them, and if you're willing to stand with all these outstanding leaders up here, then now's the time to make your voice heard. you need to call and e-mail and tweet your senators and tell them, don't kick this problem down the road. come together, work together, do your job, not only to fix the broken immigration system once and for all but to leave something better for all the generations to come. to make sure we continue to be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
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do the right thing. thanks. god bless you. god bless america. [applause] >> and the senate which is in recess now will be back at 2:15 for more debate and procedural vote on the senate immigration bill the president was talking about. with live coverage here on c-span2. senate judiciary committee chairman patrick leahy told defense secretary chuck hagel and joint chiefs of staff chairman martin dempsey that congress is considering stripping the military of its authority to prosecute sexual assault cases. the two were before an appropriations subcommittee today to testify about the president's 2014 budget proposal. they're back on capitol hill tomorrow before the senate budget committee at 10:30 a.m. eastern. later in the day more testimony from the house budget committee. that is 1:00 p.m. eastern. both of those hearings live
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on c-span3. >> during the years of william mckinley political career the house served as william and ida's canton residence. they had living quarters up on the third floor of the house which was originally a ballroom but turned into a living quarters with a bedroom and sitting room and entertaining area. also off of that room an office that william used to conduct business. we're in william mckinley's office which is outside the ballroom and becomes the living quarters of ida and william mckinley while living in can't ton. this is the setup they had everywhere they went during his political years. always when he conducted business the door stayed open to the living quarters and ida stayed in the living quarters so she could hear what was going on. she was a silent political helpmate to william mckinley. they would discuss things but she would never take part in meetings.
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she would never express our political opinion. she would never come and join in. this type of setup while they were in lump bus, while he was governor, there was no governor's mansion then. also in washington and here at the thaxton house. >> our conversation on ida mckinley is available on the website, c-span.org/first ladies. >> the name of this place still resonates with a shuttering in the hearts of the american people. more than any other name connected to the civil war except lincoln's gettysburg reverberates. americans retain the knowledge that what happened here was the crux of our terrible national trial and even americans who aren't sure precisely what transpired on these fields know all the fwlorry and all the tragedy we associate with the civil war resides most papably, most indelibly here. >> 150th anniversary of the
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battle of gettysburg, live all day sunday, june 30th, on american history tv on c-span3. >> the senate judiciary committee today heard from todd jones, the obama administration's nominee to lead the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. at the hearing mr. jones said the agency was in distress when he took over an an interim basis in 2011. the president nominated him to the post five months ago. >> call the hearing to order. thank you everyone for coming today. we have a being paed house. today we're considering two nominees, stuart delrey to be assistant attorney general for the civil division of the justice department and b. todd jones to be the director of the
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bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. first i will start with mr. delrey. he is currently acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, the largest litigating component within the department of justice. he graduated phi beta kappa from the university of virginia and earned his jd from yale law school in 1993. after graduating from yale he went on to clerk for chief judge for the 11th circuit court of appeals and justice sandra day o'connor and byron white on the united states supreme court. he went on to private practice at wilmer, cutler and pickering, now known as wilmer hale where he was a litigator for 14 years. his practice ranged across complex and security litigation and administrative law matters. in 2009 he left private practice for the department of justice where he held a number of leadership roles including chief of staff and counselor
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to the deputy attorney general, associate deputy attorney general and senior counsel to the attorney general. in these positions he advised the department's leadership on a range of matters including civil litigation, appeals, national security litigation, and policy. as acting assistant attorney general for the civil division he supervises approximately 1,000 attorneys representing the united states, the president, and cabinet officers and agencies. he supervises much of the federal government's civil litigation which includes the defense of legal challenges to congressional statutes, administration policies and federal agency actions. at the justice department he has devoted significant attention to the civil division's extensive docket of national security cases. he is also working closely with the office of the solicitor general to which he regularly makes recommendations concerning supreme court cases. mr. delrey also has a strong track record of pro bono service. for example from 2007 to
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2008 he supervised a team of lawyers that conducted an investigation on behalf of the district of columbia's office of tax and revenue into the theft of over $48 million in district of columbia fund by a long-time employee. the employee pled guilty to federal charges in 2008. the judiciary committee has received letters in support of mr. delrey's nomination from a bipartisan group of current and former government officials and a group of assistant attorneys general for the civil division in the administrations of presidents reagan, george w. bush, clinton and george w. bush. i will turn to todd jones who i have known for a very long time. we worked closely together as members of the minnesota law enforcement community when he was in his first stint as u.s. attorney for minnesota, when bill clinton was president and i was the county attorney for hennipin county. for the past two years, todd jones has been doing the impossible, filling two
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crucial federal law enforcement positions as acting director of the atf and u.s. attorney for the state of minnesota. i see his son anthony back there and i know it hasn't been easy. todd also has his wife margaret and he also is a father to not just anthony but four other children and a good one at that. we welcome anthony here today representing the fam lip. todd jones has an impressive background that has him well-prepared to lead the atf. after law school at the university of minnesota he entered the u.s. marine corps where he served on active duty as a judge advocate and infantry officer from 1983 until 1989. two years later he was called back to active duty during the first iraq war. in addition to his military career and having the rare distinction as serving as u.s. attorney under two different presidents, jones also has a strong record as
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a line prosecutor in the minnesota u.s. attorney's office and an outstanding career in private practice. today we are here to consider his nomination to be the permanent director of the atf, a nomination that is supported by the national association of former u.s. attorneys including those who served under both bush and clinton administrations. several former u.s. assistant attorneys, the administrator of the bureau of criminal apprehension, the minnesota county attorneys association, the international association of chiefs of police, the fraternal order of police, and the atf association to name just a few. given the atf's important role in investigating crimes and terrorist incidents like the marathon bombing this should be a top priority for the united states senate to have a permanent director of the atf. it doesn't make sense for the director to be serving in a temporary capacity, and
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yet there has never been a permanent director in place since 2006, when it became a senate-confirmed position. i think that's wrong. something is wrong when the senate fails to confirm the head of an agency for seven years. something is wrong when we have atf agents, over 2000 of them, on the front lines of major investigations like the boston marathon bombing whale victims ladies membered in the hospital, the agents were on the front lines figuring out who did it and what happened and yet the senate still will not confirm a permanent leader of this agency. it seems that some members of the senate don't want to have atf the benefit of a confirmed director. so for all the concerns that have been raised about the atf, some of them very legitimate, confirming a full-time permanent director should be a critical step to making sure that the atf is doing its job and doing it
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well. todd jones has never turned down a tough assignment. he has faced challenging situations throughout his career and taking over the atf in the summer of 2011 was yet another example of that. as everyone knows the agency was under a tremendous amount of scrutiny and understandable criticism for the failed fast and furious operation, and jones was brought in to get the atf back on its feet. since then he has worked to revamp the agency's practices and policies. he has begun making essential reforms that are critical to the more than 2300 agents who perform underpressure day in and day out, both on major investigations like boston and west texas, but also on lesser-known investigations like serial arsons in california, cigarette smuggling rings that fund terrorist and drug and gun trafficking undercover operations in miami.
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before taking over the atf, jones served as both the head of the u.s. attorneys office in minnesota under two presidents and before that as assistant is attorney. as an assistant he was the lead prosecutor in a number of cases involving criminal drug conspiracies, money laundering, financial fraud and violent crime in the 1990s. in the private sector he became a partner at two very well-respected minnesota law firms, robbins kaplan and green. to highlight some of his accomplishments, during his tenure as u.s. attorney in minnesota that office with todd jones at the helm prosecuted operation rhino which involved the criminal prosecution of owe. omir mohammed who recruited young somali americans to fight for terrorist groups in somali. he was indicted in november of 2009 and pled guilty in july 2011 to conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim abroad. to date the investigation
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resulted in charges filed against 22 other individuals. operation high life, which was a major drug-trafficking investigation involving more than 100 local, state and federal law enforcement officers and resulted in 26 indictments, 25 guilty pleas and sentences of up to 200 months in prison. operation brothers keeper was a successful investigation and prosecution of a rico case involving a regional 200-member gang which took 22 dangerous criminals off the street. operation molverde, received national attention and was the prosecution of 27 defendants associated with the mexican drug cartel including the apprehension of the cartel's regional leader and sentences as high as 20 years in prison. jones' office was also active in other areas like complex white-collar crime including the successful prosecution of a $3.65 billion ponzi scheme.
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that is $3.65 billion, the second biggest ponzi scheme in united states history after bernie madoff. those are just a few of the examples of the cases that todd jones oversaw as u.s. attorney in minnesota. he is well-qualified and has a range of experiences and accomplishments that leave him more than ready to lead the atf on a full-time basis. not on a temporary basis, not on an interim basis. he is a talented, dedicated and hard-working public servant who has served his country in both the military and in civilian agencies. i look forward to hearing from both of our nominees today and having a discussion about their past experiences and their outlook on the positions to which they have been nominated. thank you both of you, and i will turn it over to senator grassley, the ranking member. >> thank you very much. as the chairwoman knows and as i told her yesterday i've checked into holding this
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hearing today and requested the hearing be postponed. as we sit here today there remains an open investigation by the office of special counsel regarding mr. jones' conduct as u.s. attorney. generally when a nominee is subject to an open investigation the committee does not move forward until the issues are resolved. and of course this a sensible thing to do. when there's a pending investigation, the committee obviously doesn't have the full information about the nominee. in this case there are allegations of gross mismanagement and abuse of authority in mr. jones' office and there is a complaint that mr. jones retaliated against a whistle-blower. these are serious charges and ones that are of particular concern it me as a known defender of whistle-blowers. the public interest demands resolution of these issues. members of the committee are entitled to know that, if
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these charges have any merit. one way for that to happen is for the committee to undertake its own investigation. that has not happened. another is to follow the usual committee practice and wait for any third party investigating agency to complete its process and reach conclusion. . . >> while the chairman did postponee hearing one week, that did not cure the procedural defects with
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the nomination. so it is unfortunate that we go ahead with this hearing before an open complaint is resolved. in april when the chairman started talking about a hearing for mr. jones, i was concerned about moving forward. there were a number of outstanding requests that i'd made to mr. jones, and i'd previously received a copy of anonymous letter to the office of special consul making vicious allegations against mr. jones. i sent a letter to osc on april the 8th asking for an update on those allegations. on april the 12th, osc responded that there were two pending matters involving the u.s. attorney's office district of minnesota where mr. jones is a u.s. attorney. the first matter was a probe -- prohibited personnel practice complaint, and the second was a whistleblower alleging gross
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mismanagement of authority. on may 28th the chairman sent out a notice for a hearing for mr. jones be held the following week. the next week i sent a letter raising my concerns about proceeding with a nominee who had open complaints and asked that the hearing be postponed consistent with previous committee practice. on june the 3rd, the chairman postponed the hearing one week. however, in doing so, the chairman expressed disappointment that the april osc letter had been publicly disclosed. a continuing justification for holding this hearing today is that based on this disclosure, the nominee should have an opportunity to respond. but, of course, there was nothing confidential in the osc letter. in fact, i'm not about to hide this issue from the public. it is relevant to our inquiry as to the qualifications of the nominee. and if others want to hide this information, that, of course,
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would be their decision. additionally, there were numerous allegations that republicans were holding up the nominee for no good reason. the osc letter clearly identified why mr. jones' hearing was not going forward at this time. that justification remains valid today. again, this would be consistent with prior committee practice. furthermore, everyone knows that mr. jones' appearance today is no substitute for a full investigation. we know the investigation is open, so even if we ask questions today, we can't rely on the information we receive. the nomination hearing is nothing like the investigative process conducted by the office of special consul. in a full osc inquiry, there would be interviews with complaining witnesses, a review of documents and interviews with line attorneys and law enforcement officials in
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minnesota. we have access to none of these at this point. we only have one witness, the nominee, who's able to offer up his side of the story. so where are the whistleblowers, where are other assistant u.s. attorneys and staff members, who's offering the other side of the story? we did receive a token offer from the majority for one witness. that offer came sunday night a little more than 36 hours ago. and then late yesterday we received from the majority an offer to conduct some interviews this coming friday, after today's hearing. now, that's quite perplexing to me. we're going to begin the investigation after the hearing is concluded. when has the committee ever conducted an investigation after the hearing for that nominee? on june the 4th, i suggested to the chairman that a mere one week postponement of the hearing
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would not allow sufficient time for open matters to be resolved. we had no reason to believe that the osc investigation would be closed. it seems to me that if the majority did not want to wait until the osc completed its investigation, the committee would be obligated to fully investigate the matter for itself. i, therefore, suggested that we begin the process by at least calling additional witnesses to testify at today's hearing. on june the 5th, osc provided the committee with an update on two pending cases. it reported that while the whistleblower disclosure case had been closed, the prohibited personnel practice complaint was moving to mediation for the time being. on june the 6th, the chairman reported to me that he had been notified by osc that it had reached a resolution on the retaliation allegations against mr. jones and that that investigation was now closed.
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this directly contradicted the information i had received. i again suggested that additional witnesses might be necessary. on sunday night, 36 hours ago, my staff was notified by the majority staff that the chairman agreed to one minority witness. of course, by that time there was no reasonable way that a witness could be contacted or arrange for travel on monday for appearance on tuesday morning. yesterday i contacted the special consul unquiring to her -- inquiring to her availability to testify to at least explain more fully the status of the complaints. ms. lerner replied, quote: i'm unavailable to testify tomorrow about this matter. moreover, it would not be appropriate for me to provide any additional information about the pending case, end of quote. ms. lerner confirmed for the second time that the investigation remained open. she stated, quote: the reassignment of the case for
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mediation did not result in the matter being closed. based on -- end of quote. based on all of this, i cannot help but conclude that the majority is bent on jamming this nomination through the committee no matter what. so here we are left with an open investigation or serious allegations of whistleblower retaliation, and these are not unsubstantiated charges. in fact, of all the complaints received by ocs, only about 10% are chosen for further investigation. this case was one of them. why did the career nonpartisan staff of osc forward the case for investigation? presumably because they thought it needed to be looked into. that says manager about the likely -- that says something about the likely merits of the case. there are also indications of a larger pattern here, one known to osc. first, acting director jones in a video sent to all atf agents stated, quote: if you don't
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respect the chain of command, if you don't find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences, end of quote. now, that throws a lot of cold water on anybody who might want to whistleblow under the law. this video was seen by several employees in the u.s. attorney's office of minnesota, also headed by mr. jones in his other capacity. these employees anonymously wrote to the office of special consul asking for, quote: a review of the patterns, practices, treatment and abuse that they have suffered, end of quote. they referenced the at video stating that they had, quote: felt for the employees of atf as we, too, have had the same types of statements made to us, end of quote. they then said mr. jones, quote: had instituted a climate of fear, had pushed employees out
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of the office, dismissed employees wrongly, violated the hiring practices of eeoc and put in place an orwellian-style management that continues to polarize the office, end of quote. next a former special agent in charge of fei's minnesota division, mr. donald oswald, wrote to this committee voicing concerns about mr. jones. in that letter he wrote, quote: as a retired fbi senior executive, i'm one of the few voices able to publicly express our complete discontent with mr. jones' ineffective leadership and poor service provided to the federal law enforcement community without fear of retaliation or retribution from him, end of quote. of course, those are chilling words. he cautioned, quote: mr. jones was and still remains a significant impediment for federal law enforcement to effectively protect the citizens
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of minnesota, end of quote. the concerns and allegations in mr. oswald's letter were corroborated by another assistant u.s. attorney in mr. jones' office, mr. jeffrey paulson. yesterday mr. paulson gave his consent that his whistleblower disclosure complaint be released to the committee. it contains a detailed account of the mismanagement, abuse of authority and other problems within the office. it also details mr. jones' negative attitude towards whistleblowers and retaliatory action he took against mr. paulson. we received this document late yesterday afternoon. we're still reviewing the document. osc requested of the chairman that the file be designated, quote-unquote, committee confidential. last evening my staff informed the chairman's staff that i would be asking questions based on this document. we asked the chairman's staff to let us know if he intended to
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designate the document committee confidential. to my knowledge, the chairman has not done so. i certainly do not think that it would be appropriate to hide this information. i see no reason griffin mr. paulson's waiver why this should not be available as part of the record. in fact, i was told repeatedly that this hearing, this very day, would be my one opportunity to ask mr. jones any questions that i wish, and i certainly intend to ask mr. jones questions about the allegations described in the complaint. i have additional procedural problems with this nomination today. minor, but one which illustrates another basic breakdown of routine protocol in the normal committee process, was the delivery of certain routine nomination materials. when i received a routine file required of all nominees, i noted missing pages. two separate be documents. --
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two separate documents. i requested these from the white house on may 28th. one of the requested documents was delivered to my office last night at 9:58 p.m. there was no explanation for the delay. i have yet to receive the other requested document. now, it is no secret that there have been a number of controversial events that mr. jones has been involved in to one degree or another. i've sent numerous letters to the department requesting information from or about mr. jones. in many cases i have received no response be or an incomplete response, and here's a sampling. on fast and furious, subpoena documents on october 12, 2011, a house oversight government relations committee requested records of the attorney general's advisory committee related to operation fast and furious during a period that
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mr. jones was committee chair. i reiterated that request on april the 10th this year. secondly, atf accountability for fast and furious. on october the 19th, 2012, january 15, 2013, i requested information on which atf employees would be disciplined for their roles in fast and furious. three, fast and furious interview requests. on october the 7th, 2011, through january 2012 i requested staff interviews with mr. jones regarding fast and furious. i reiterated the request to mr. jones april the 10th, 2013. interview request on reno, utah atf, u.s. attorney's office breakdown. my april 10th, 2013, letter also indicated that mr. jones' failure to act on reno management issues was another area of question to be cover inside the staff interview.
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covered in the staff interview. five, interview request on operation fearless, indicating that the botched operation fearless in milwaukee was another area of questions to be cover inside the staff interview. sixth document request of operation fearless. on may 10th, 2013, i spent mr. jones requesting a copy of -- a letter requesting a report on the botched milwaukee storefront operation. now, what has been the reply to all these requests? on june the 4th, 2013, literally two months after my request for many of these i don't items, i d a letter from the department of justice stating in part: mr. jones looks forward to answering your questions about these matters during this nomination hearing before the senate judiciary committee, end
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of quote. i regret that the chairman has allowed the the president of justice to dick -- the department of justice to dictate to us how our oversight investigation will be conducted. furthermore, it is disappointing that the department was allowed to hijack this nomination hearing to suit their purpose, not ours. but since we have held zero hearings dedicated to fast and furious in this committee, perhaps i should be happy that we now have an opportunity to ask questions at all. the same goes for other matters that i've mentioned. on the st. paul quid pro be quo matter, i was able to have a staff interview with mr. jones just to remind my colleagues about this issue, i'll give a brief summary. february the 3rd, 2012, the department of justice and the city of st. paul struck a deal. the terms of the quid pro quo were as follows: the department declined to interview -- intervene in two false claims act cases that were pending
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against st. paul, and st. paul withdrew its petition before the u.s. supreme court in a case that observers believe would invalidate the use of disparate impact theory under the fair housing act. but this was no ordinary settlement. instead of furthering the ends of justice, this settlement prevented the courts from reviewing potentially meritorious claims and recovering hundreds of millions of dollars to the u.s. treasury. the u.s. attorney in minnesota at the time of the quid pro quo, mr. jones was serving both as u.s. attorney and acting director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. mr. many jones was interviewed by committee staff as part of the investigation march the 8th, 2013. however, before agreeing to be interviewed, the department demanded that staff not be permitted to ask mr. jones any questions other than those involving the quid pro quo. questions remained about whether he was effectively managing both jobs as u.s. attorney and acting
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director. further example, when asked by committee staff about his failure to attend the seminal meeting between the department's civil division and representatives from the city of st. paul which occurred 20 -- december, 2011, he stated that he did not attend because he had an event at atf that precluded his attendance. when pressed further, mr. jones indicated the important event at atf was a holiday party called sweet treats, and he felt it was more important that he attend the event than it was to attend the seminal meeting on two pending false claims act cases in his district. so there are many issues to cover in this hearing today. for his part in a june 10, 2013, article in the "minneapolis star tribune," mr. jones said, quote: i'm looking forward to meeting with the committee and answering all their questions. now, i hope that that's the case
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today, that i will finally get some answers. but even so, many questions remain for the mom feet. the first -- for the nominee. the first question is given the open complaint and all of the other concerns that i've addressed, why are we even here today? i don't think anyone can provide a good answer to that question. proceeding today is premature. frankly, it's unfair to the nominee. unfair to the nominee to force these questions today before the osc process takes its course. but if the chair wants to insist on proceeding, it would be unfair to the public if we fail to perform our due diligence and examine all of these issues very carefully. thank you. >> thank you, senator grassley. and you will have that opportunity now after we hear the opening statements to ask the nominee questions. i'll point out that the nominee wanted to go forward with this hearing. i think he deserves the atf deserves better.
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they deserve better than not having a permanent director for seven years because the senate won't confirm anyone. i just think that's wrong. in response to some of the points you have made, i would prefer to have director jones answer these questions. but first of all, to make clear, he came in after fast and furious, after fast and furious, and was asked to come in to clean it up. and i'm sure we can hear from him about some of the things that he did. secondly, on the issue of the st. paul case which has, i know, been well discussed during the nomination of mr. perez, mr. jones agreed to be questioned for an entire day by your staff, by -- and goodlatte's staff in the house. third, i would note that as far as the complaint that you've brought up within the office, i would first note that mr. jones supervises 2300 people with the
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atf, 125 people with the u.s. attorney's office. as anyone here knows, it's not always easy to supervise -- [inaudible] but he has done his best job. i think it's very important that that complaint be wrought out, and that's what's happening now. but to clarify this timeline here, the time mr. jones was nominated was in january. by march the committee required materials had been made available to senator grassley and his staff. a planned april hearing over mr. jones' nomination was delayed after the committee was notified of the complaint filed with the u.s. office of special consul. chairman leahy intended to wait until after osc had finished its work that is meant to be confidential before holding this hearing. in late april after these allegations were unnecessarily made public, the chairman decided to proceed so that todd jones could publicly defend his reputation. today's hearing was originally
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noticed for a week ago, but at the ranking member's request, it was postponed until today. last week osc notified the committee that the underlying complaint made against mr. jones of management failures was closed due to insufficient evidence. and that the second allegations made of retaliation for raising the upside lying management -- underlying management issues with todd jones, as for that as senator grassley points out, the parties agreed to mediation. that is the procedural status. part of it was was dismissed, the other part the parties have willingly both agreed to mediation. as often happens in employee matters across the government. satisfied that the issues before the osc were being resolved, chairman leahy determined that today's hearing should move forward, and he asked me to chair it. this past friday senator grassley notified the chairman that he intended to invoke a not very much used senate rule, in fact, as far as i know we haven't seen witnesses to be
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called in hearings involving nominees that are not at the cabinet level. he decided to invoke the senate rule to have outside witnesses testify at today's hearing. instead of saying no to that request, the chairman agreed to that request. i personally called senator grassley on sunday morning to let him know that we had agreed to that request. and we found our own witness. then senator grassley said he didn't have time to get the witness. chairman leahy sought to accommodate the ranking member by offering to invite outside witnesses to be clear to come before the committee today, and the witness wasn't ready. so that is what the procedural status is of that particular allegation. the other thing i did want to note, i think we all know that crime rates are affected by many things, by work of police, by work of prosecutors, by many things. but i will note as we look at the bigger picture here of mr. jones as u.s. attorney in
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minnesota from 1998 to 2001, that would be his first term as county attorney, as u.s. attorney under president clinton, the violent crime rate decreased by 15%, and so far during his is second tenure which began in 2009, the fbi statistics show that the violent crime rate has already decreased by 9%. i don'ti don't hold him responsr those numbers, i just want to note that because of the work that goes on between the local, state, federal law enforcement in minnesota, they've had some major successes. i would also note that tom he was l finger who was appointed u.s. attorney by both presidents george h.w. bush and his son, george w. bush, also serving two terms under republican presidents, specifically rebutted the allegations in the former fbi, letter, and he said this: one year in minnesota is hardly long enough to learn how to shovel snow, much less long rough to learn what mr. jones' reputation is among local, state
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and federal law enforcement officials. the special agent in charge of the minneapolis agent from 2007 to 2011 told the associated press that he had a good relationship with jones. we were in sync, he said. bolter said he didn't experience anything like the behavior oswald described. he said when he had an issue, jones was attentive to it, he was sensitive to it, and he responded to it. i think anyone involved in law enforcement knows there are going to be disagreements, issues. people have different interpretations of decisions. there are outside forces at work. in this case todd jones was supervising two major offices at the same time for nearly two years, and it is my belief that the atf deserves a permanent head, and i hope we can now go forward with this hearing and with the testimony. so with that, i'm going to swear in the witnesses here, or the nominees. do you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before the
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committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. we will start with mr. jones. >> good morning madam chairman, ranking member grassley, members of the committee. thank you for those generous introductions and the recitation of my entire professional career and for the chance to be here today to answer questions. i am honored to be considered as the president's nominee as the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. permit me a moment to thank my family for their incredible love and support. as you mentioned, senator, my oldest son anthony is here representing the family, but my wife, margaret s the tie that binds my family together. she shouldered much of the burdens and joys that come with raising five kids. she is in st. paul with my
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youngest son, lucas, who just graduated, finished his junior year of high school. my two daughters are there with her in st. paul, my youngest daughter, monica, recently graduated from the university of minnesota and is moving to seattle in the next week to start her career and her life. and my oldest daughter, stephanie, is on home leave from teaching in nicaragua. so the core group is there in minnesota. my son michael, my other son michael is a graduate student in architecture in seattle and, hopefully, he'll keep an eye on monica when she gets out there. but as you mentioned, senator, my oldest son, anthony, is here. he works, lives here in d.c. he works at the house of representatives. we didn't get to see much of each other the first couple years of his life because i was deployed pretty regularly in the marine corps, but if you choose to approve this nomination, anthony is probably going to find himself with a new
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roommate. over the years my family sacrificed a great deal to allow me to pursue a career in public service. and that career began in 1977 when i was fortunate enough to do constituency work for senator be hubert humphrey who epitomized public service in the best minnesota tradition, and he inspired me to follow that path. and as was mentioned, after graduating from law school at the university of minnesota, i joined the united states marine corps, and that was a decision that changeed my life and made me the person that you see sitting before you today. my formal leadership training began in the marine corps, and while i joined to be a trial lawyer, much to margaret's chagrin, i was so energized by the experience, the challenges, the spirit and cam camaraderie f basic training that i stayed an infantry officer for the first several years of my active duty
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time. and during that time i learned the importance of concepts like unit cohesion, readiness and training and staying focused on the mission. the marines taught me about leadership and leading people toward a common goal. and in the end, i learned it was not ever about me, it was about the team. it was about the unit. it was about the collective work together to attain that goal. i've continued to employ those principles during the two times i've been u.s. attorney in the district of minnesota, a job that it's been an honor and a privilege to serve in. and as the senator mentioned, my team in minnesota's tackled a variety of complex cases from the largest ponzi scheme to national security work. we do investigating terrorist organization al-shabaab. and i've continued to rely on those experiences in my current
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capacity as acting director of atf. and when i came to atf in september 2011, i found an agency in distress, poor morale undermining the efforts of the overwhelming majority of atf. these hard working, devoted public servants are committed, absolutely committed to the mission of professional law enforcement. i listened to them the first several months i was there. i learned a lot from them. and i took firm, immediate steps to address their concerns in the strategic needs of the bureau. i built a new leadership team, appointing 22 new special agents in charge, 23 head quarters executives, conducted a top to bottom review of all atf policies and procedure, and we have overhauled nearly 50 orders and directives. and since my arrival, i have worked to refocus the bureau on its mission to combat violent crime and enhance public safety. and i'm proud to say that the men and women at atf has
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responded with professionalism and dedication. senator, you mentioned some of the recent events that atf's been involved in from newtown to boston, from west texas to stockton, california. and we will continue to do our job. and be should the senate confirm my appointment, i look forward to leading these men and women permanently and to help them carry out this very important mission. and i look forward to answering your questions. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. jones. it looks like you have a happy family behind you there, so please start. >> thank you, madam chairwoman, ranking member grassley and members of the committee. i'm deeply honor today appear before you today, and i thank you for your consideration. i'd also at the outset like to thank the president for nominating me and the attorney general for his support. i do have a number of family
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members here today, and with the chair's invitation, i'd like to introduce them. >> please do. i think i can tell who they are though. >> first is my partner, richard gervasi. i wouldn't be here without the support that he's given me over the last 20 years, since we were class mates in law school. and in addition to being a great father, he's a terrific lawyer s. and i've been improved by his intelligence, judgment, integrity and sense of justice. our children, michael and sebastian, are the joys of my life, and they are here today to see a little bit about how their government works. so i thank them for doing that. and i owe a deep debt to my participants for the firm -- to my parents for the firm foundation that they gave me. my father, gus delery, was an engineer who worked his entire career for louisiana power and light. he passed away back in 1996, but set a striking example for me of
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hard work, dedication and character, and i miss him. but my mother, elizabeth towey, is here along with her husband, harry towey. and mom was the first women's athletics director at at tulane university, and i watched as she built a program from the ground up. and i've kept those lessons in mind as i have learned myself how to be a leader. both mom and harry are the children of people who were in public service. my grandfather, in addition to serving in the army in both world war i and world war ii, was a career lawyer in the justice department for more than 30 years, including in the civil division. and so i'm honored to be following in his footsteps. and harry's father was a congressman from new jersey, a republican in the 1940s and 1950s. i also have my sister here, janet delery, who's a
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schoolteacher in charlotte, north carolina, and she made it here about 1:30 in the morning because of the storms. i'm grateful that she persevered to be here. and finally one of harry's daughters, margaret kirkland is here. she flew from her home in new orleans to help mom and harry get here today, so i'm grateful for that. a number of friends here, i'm very touched that they're here, and in particular my colleagues in the justice department. madam chairwoman, i'm -- it's been a real privilege to work with the talented and dedicated lawyers and staff of the civil division over the past year, and it's an honor to be nominated to lead them now. the division's greatest resource is its people who come to work each day with a single minded dedication to protecting the interests of the country and its citizens whether by defending government programs and national security or safeguarding taxpayer funds from fraud or protecting the health and safety of all americans.
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if i am fortunate enough to be confirmed, i'll bring to this job a commitment to zealous advocacy in court on behalf of our nation, to giving candid advice, to hearing all sides of an issue with fairness and respect, and perhaps most importantly, to working tirelessly with our strong team of career professionals to defend and advance the interests of the united states. and so again, i thank you for your consideration, and i look forward to any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much, mr. delery. i note that senator durbin was here earlier, and he's submitted some questions for the record because he had to go to a defense hearing that was important. and be i know coons is going to try to return, and others will be here. i'll start with a question of you. i will explain to your family, questions devoted to your dad
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doesn't mean it's a bad thing. [laughter] mr. delery, can you -- i think any of us can read the job description of assistant attorney general for the civil division, but having done this role on an interim basis, how do you see your ole role, what are your primary responsibilities, what direction do you want to take the division? >> well, senator, thank you for giving me a chance to talk a little bit about what the division does and the vision for it. um, there are really two main roles. the civil division defends the government when it's sued whether that's in a constitutional challenge or a suit for money damages for breach of contract or personal liability, but then we also bring affirmative cases to pursue money that's lost to the taxpayers or to protect consumers and to protect the safe -- safety of the foods that we eat and the medicines that we
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take. and so if i'm fortunate enough to be confirmed, i'll continue to pursue several priorities. one of them and the most important for the department of the division is protecting national security. we do play a role in a number of pieces of litigation related to those issues. i'll also continue to use the powerful tool of -- [inaudible] as well as other tools to pursue fraud against the government. last year we had a record recovery of more than or just about $5 million under the false claims act that i know senator grassley and other members of this committee have supported over the years, and i'll continue to make that a priority if confirmed. finally, our work related to health and safety, to pursuing cases like the one that we brought a few months ago against executives of a peanut butter manufacturer because of a salmonella outbreak. we take very seriously our partnership on with the fda, and
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we'll continue to work to protect the safety of the food we eat, medicines, the toys children play with and the like. >> very good, thank you. we actually -- you probably know, three of the victims from that peanut butter outbreak were from minnesota including a grandmother who one day just ate a piece of toast, and they lost her. and be she was an incredible woman. so i really thank you for going forward with that difficult case. thank you for doing that. >> thank you. >> mr. jones, as i noted, the atf has not had a permanent director since 2006 when the law was changed requiring the director to be senate confirmed. i think senator durbin's either put in or talked about putting in a -- [inaudible] under the fbi because of the fact that we just can't continue like this. it's not fair to you, it is not fair to the agency, and i think it has to change. and one way we can show change is by confirming you as director. there are many reasons why heads of certain agencies are confirmed by the senate, and one is because we want the individual to be fully accountable to congress and also
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the men and women who work at that agency. first, i'd like to ask why is it so important for the aff to have a confirmed, full-time directer? what will a confirmed director mean for the roughly 2300 agents of the atf? >> thank you for that question, senator, and i have given it a lot of thought. while i've learned over the last two years that atf is a very resilient organization and there are great public servants there, i think it's absolutely critical that they have a permanent director. having been twice confirmed by this body as united states senator, i know that the -- [inaudible] of this organization is one that's really important. be it has impacted morale. it does send a message not only to the employees within atf that they have been so long without a permanent director after having
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several actors over the last seven years, it does impact morale. i think it's also a fundamental question of good government because, as you mentioned, being a confirmed appointee does carry a certain amount of gravitas so that you can be a more effective advocate for resources, so that you can be accountable to this body and to, um, the organization that you work with, in this case the department of justice. decisiveness is a critical quality for anyone who's in a leadership position, but decisiveness with credibility, i think, is also absolutely critical and a series of actors no matter how skilled does diminish the creditability that you're going to have continuity of operations, that the vision's going to stay sure and that the mission will be accomplished. so at its core it's good
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government to have a confirmed director at all of the agencies in the executive branch that are subject to senate confirmation a. >> thank you. all of us on this committee had concerns about what happened during the fast and furious operation. you were named acting director shortly after the fast and furious whistleblowers came forward. the president named you because he felt you had the knowledge, experience and leadership to put the atf back on the right path. can you tell us the steps you have taken and the safeguards you have put in place to make sure operations like that can't happen again and that any major operation is fully vetted up the chain of command? and after something like fast and furious comes to light, we all want to know what appropriate disciplinary action is being taken against the people who acted wrongly. could you also talk about the steps you've taken to discipline or terminate people involved? >> well, with respect to your first question, senator, i think that it's important to note that the inspector general did do an
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extensive report and made legal relations and identified -- relationings and identified problems. when i arrived at atf in september of 2011, as i mentioned, it was an agency very much in distress, and the first thing that i did was go to the phoenix field division and visit sort of the ground zero for a lot of the controversy that evolved. but one of the first things that i did was look at who was in positions of responsibility, who was in leadership positions, and there's been a number of changes. none of the individuals who are identified in leadership positions during the fast and furious incident are currently in place. we have, as i mentioned, 22 new special agents in charge. we have a number of assistant directors. six out of the eight assistant directors who help me as a team lead ark tf -- atf are new. and all of them have experience as former special agents in
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charge. we are continuously in the process of implementing and following through and executing on many of their recommendations made in the ig's report, but we didn't wait for the ig's report to come out. we knew that there was a failure in leadership and oversight. one of the first things we did was issue and clarify our firearms transfer policy. with the underpinnings being the that public safety always trumps investigative needs. we've reviewed our undercover order. we've reviewed our confidential informant order. we've instituted and continue to exercise a monitored case program. but these are just some of the internal fixes. more than anything else i think it was important to keep the agency's eye on what its underlying mission is, which is public safety. because atf plays such a
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critical role within the department of justice, in the fight against violence crime, in the explosives arena, in the arson arena. and it's important that we do not have public safety suffer as a result of continuous critical examination. >> okay. i'm going to have one more question and then hope to keep my questions under ten minutes, if senator grassley could the same, i'm sure we'll have a second round so we give the other senators a chance here to ask some questions. there have been questions raised about decreasing numbers of federal prosecutions in minnesota with respect to violent crimes including gang, drug and gun offenses. when i was county attorney in hennepin county, i worked closely with you and your predecessors, the other u.s. attorneys, to make sure we tackled the tough criminal cases. i also work with the your successors including tom -- [inaudible] to make sure we made the most effective and efficient use of resources. i still remember after 9/11 that the u.s. attorney's office was focused in minnesota having caught one of the terrorists in
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our state on those terrorism-type cases, and our office, the county attorney's office, started doing many more white collar cases than we had done before. and i did that when bush was president working with the u.s. attorney's office. we took on significant more white collar criminal prosecutions. so i understand how this can be this ebb and frau depending on -- flow depending on resources and the types of crimes. gang, drug and gun cases were some of the areas that i was focused on as county attorney. i know they're important to you, so i'm hoping you can address the concerns that have been raised and explain why some of the numbers out of the u.s. attorney's office may be down. is it a trend? is it an anomaly? is it something else? thank you. >> senator, i believe that the statistics that you cite only tell part of the story over the last several years. the department of justice in general, and in particular the district of minnesota which is somewhat unique and that we
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cover the entire state, and we have the full range of federal challenges. we've got indian country, we've got a border with canada, we've got a major metropolitan center with all of the respective violent gun crime, gang and financial fraud issues. it really has been a challenge in this period of diminishing resources -- and not that the lack of resources is any excuse be -- to look and be smart about how we utilize those resources. as you well know, our partnership with our state counterparts, the 87 county attorneys in minnesota, is absolutely critical for us collectively to do our jobs. and what we've essentially done is looked at what are uniquely federal issues that the state cannot handle, what are doj priorities like national security in indian country and where we have concurrent jurisdiction as in the gun and drug area, we're making smart
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choices so that the worst of the worse, so that organizations who deal in drugs, so that armed career criminals are appropriately handled in federal court. over the last several years, as you mentioned earlier, we have had a string of very complex cases that have gone to trial. tom petters, there's a trial with frank venice going on right now. mortgage fraud cases and, of course, our national security cases, two of which of those actually went to trial. so the folks in the district of minnesota u.s. attorney's office both in the criminal and civil division have been working very hard with a very active caseload. and our bottom line is we are focused on impact cases. we are focused on cases that augment what state and local prosecutors do, and we're focused on cases that fit within the priorities of the department of justice. and as a result, our raw numbers
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have dropped. but we are making a difference. >> thank you very much. we'll turn it over to senator grassley. >> madam chairman, before i ask questions, there's a couple of things i want to clear up in your rebuttal to my statement. she's absolutely right that there's been six years without a confirmed head. but remember that it was two years after the president was elected before a nominee was even sent up here. so we can't confirm anybody that isn't sent up here. and then when mr. traver was sent up here, the committee asked for additional information which was never provided, therefore, he never had a hearing. and, of course, if the committee asks for additional hearing -- additional information and that information isn't given and you can't have a hearing without it, that, obviously, is east the
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nominee or -- either the nominee or the white house's fault. then mr. traver's nomination was withdrawn at the end of the last congress, and mr. jones was nominated january 24th, and we started talking about the hearing in april. then there's one other point that i would make, and that's in regard to what you said -- and it isn't inaccurate, what you said. but i want to point out when this goes to osc and it's in the mediation, there's a big difference between being resolved and the president, or the chairman in his letter to me saying it is resolve because osc, as i said in my statement, has made very clear that it's not resolved. thank you, mr. delery, for
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speaking about false claims, because i ask every attorney general nominee wherever they are in the department where they are about it because i'm the author of that legislation, and i'm very glad to know that you're going to use it vigorously. mr. jones, you would not expect me to not be concerned about whistleblowers. i'm sure you know my reputation in that area. and not every whistleblower would necessarily be right, but every one is entitle today a hearing when -- entitled to a hearing. they ought to have that information considered. and i've come to the conclusion a long time ago that whistleblowers are about as respected in their organization as skunks are at a picnic.
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so i think they need a lot of consideration because they give with us a lot of valuable information. on march the 6, 2013, an employee of yours filed a complaint with special counsel alleging you personally undertook, quote: a prohibited personnel action, unquote, against him in retaliation for his raising concerns about gross mismanagement within the u.s. attorney's office. this employee has 30 years of federal, as a federal employee, 24 of those years in the u.s. attorney's office in minnesota. the employee alleges that after bringing serious concerns about mismanagement in the office to your attention, he was suspended for five days without pay and involuntarily transferred to a new section in the office. the complaint also raises allegations about the appointment of an attorney to a supervisory position despite
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concerns about her performance by federal and state law enforcement and judges on the federal bench. the special counsel wrote to us yesterday stating that the complaint was referred for investigation april of this year and that the investigation remains open with possibility of mediation. because the majority scheduled your hearing despite the fact that this investigation is pending, that's why i bring this matter up. you were quoted in the star tribune as saying i'm looking forward to meeting with the committee and answering all their questions. based on that, i'm going to assume that you will answer the questions i ask you today. mr. oswald -- first question. mr. oswald, former special agent in charge fbi minneapolis, wrote a detailed letter this january alleging you mismanaged the office and had, quote: ap atrocious reputation within the federal law enforcement community, end of quote.
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a 24-year veteran of assistant u.s. attorney filed a complaint with the office of special counsel against you which corroborates the account. have you been interviewed by the office of special counsel, and if so, when? >> senator, to answer your last question, first, i am aware that the osc has requested information from our office in the district of minnesota. because those complaints are confidential, as a matter of law i have not seen the substance of the complaints, nor can i comment on them. i've learned more from your statement today than i knew before i came here this morning about the nature and substance of the complaint. i can assure you that i have always taken very seriously the duty my office has to follow all the laws and regulations, not engage in prohibited personnel practice and to be very sensitive to the issues surrounding those that you have so vigorously advocated for over
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the years with respect to whistleblower protection. >> so you have not been interviewed then by special counsel? >> i have not, senator. >> other than the fbi special agent in charge and the assistant u.s. attorney who filed the complaint with the office of special counsel, are you aware of any other individuals in your office who would raise similar concerns, and if so, who? >> i am not aware of any other complaints, your honor -- your honor, senator. [laughter] this is like a courtroom, so i'm -- [laughter] >> well, i feel -- >> i feel like a defendant. [laughter] >> and as a farmer, i feel honored that you -- [laughter] have you taken any adverse personnel actions against anyone who complained about how you were managing the office? >> you know, senator, that's -- thank you for the question. i have had the opportunity to be in a management position both in
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the public and private sector. i have always tried to approach that position of responsibility with respect for those that i work for in a collaborative, in a collaborative nature but always with expectations. and i have -- >> so i think the answer to my question is you don't feel you have taken any adverse action against anyone who complained about how you were managing the office? are you aware of the anonymous complaint filed july the 20th, 2012, signed by, quote: employees of the u.s. attorney's office for the district of minnesota, end of quote? those employees wrote -- well, are you aware -- well, no, let me go on. those employees wrote, quote: since he became u.s. attorney here in minnesota, he has instituted a climate of fear, has pushed employees out of the office, dismissed employees
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wrongly, violated the hiring practice of eeoc and put in place an orwellian-style management that continues to polarize the office, end of quote. did you at any time learn who these individuals were? did you take any adverse personnel action against them? >> senator, i recently saw a copy of that anonymous letter. again, i have not taken adverse actions against anyone that i've worked with. i was quite surprised by the nature of the allegations. whether it's at atn or at the u.s. attorney's office, in both situations i came into be -- into a less-than-perfect environment and i, quite frankly, have been an agent of change, and change is hard sometimes for individuals to deal with. and i've always had a focus on doing the right thing for the right reasons, and sometimes folks are not happy about the
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direction overall. >> okay. now, i'm including in that statement about adverse personnel action an unwanted retaliatory transfer. does that change your answer? >> again, senator, i'm not familiar with the osc complaint, and i'm at somewhat of a disadvantage with the facts. i can say that privacy act considerations do fit into the picture. i have a certain awareness about disciplinary processes but, again, it has never been my practice to engage in retaliatory employment practices. >> will you answer the complaints about the assistant u.s. attorney when the -- because that's why you're here today. how are we supposed to ask about these allegations if we can't
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ask you? >> well, quite frankly, senator, i'm at a disadvantage with the facts. there is a process in place. i have not seen the osc complaint. i do know that our office working with the executive office of u.s. attorneys is in a process of responding to the issues that you talked about -- you've talked about this morning. but i have not had the opportunity to either be interviewed or have any greater knowledge about what the osc complaint is. >> well, you know, i'm kind of uncomfortable asking these questions because we shouldn't have been moving forward with this hearing. but the chairman said this was the opportunity for us to have this interview with you and to get these questions answered. and, of course, you agreed to answer all the questions, so i would ask that you answer it. but if you don't answer, you know, that's the way it has to be. do we want to go to the senator from connecticut, and then -- >> that would be very helpful, thank you, because he has
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something else. i appreciate that, senator grassily. i also wanted to put -- grassily. i also wanted to put in the record the letters from law enforcement in support of todd jones, including the fraternal order of police, the international association of chiefs of police, former u.s. attorneys including the republican appointee under both president bushes, members of congress, montana county attorney -- minnesota county attorneys' association, the national district attorneys' association, several former assistant u.s. attorneys and the form or magistrate judge -- former magistrate judge for the district of minnesota. i did want to read one of the letters into the record from beth hill to todd jones. ms. hill's son, otal saunders, his wife and her 15-year-old daughter were murdered by two men in a brutal home invasion in st. paul, minnesota, in 2007. unfortunately, the case lingered for two years. when mr. jones returned to the u.s. attorney's office in 2009, ms. hill contacted him and asked
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him to review the case. mr. jones' office investigated the case and obtained convictions against the perpetrators. in 2011 both of the men were sentenced to life in prison on three counts of murder. in her letter she says, quote: in my son's keepsake box, i have a handwritten note that you sent me in response to my plea to you for justice for otal, maria and britney. you can't promise me anything but a commitment to review my case when you came into the office. your note gave me hope and the strength to continue to fight for justice for my children. she wrote to wish him well and success in his new leadership role at atf writing: when a job feels like you can't go on and the odds seem stacked against you, think about mothers like me who will rely on you to help stop senseless violence and move this country forward. i thought those were pretty powerful words, and i will also include that letter on the record. we also have letters of support, as i mentioned, for mr. delery
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from former justice department officials from previous administrations, both republican and democratic, that will also be entered into the record. with that, i turn it over to senator blumenthal. >> thank you, madam chairman. and thank you both for being here today. thank each of you for your public service, particularly mr. jones, your service -- >> there's about an hour left in this hearing which you can see at c-span.org. the senate is coming back in after their weekly party meetings. up next, they'll take a procedural vote related to thea immigration bill. if that gets the 60 votes needed to pass, senators may vote again bringing the will to the floor. a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform, and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their votes? on this vote, the yeas are 82, the nays are 15. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. under the previous order, the time until 4:00 p.m. will be equally divided and controlled between the proponents and opponents. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york.
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the senate will be in order. mr. schumer: thank you. madam president, i rise today to speak today -- i rise to speak to you today about the comprehensive immigration reform bill that we'll begin debating later today and for the rest of the month. i want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for voting yes on the motion to proceed. madam president, may we please have some order. the presiding officer: the senator deserves to be heard. the senate will be in order. i ask senators to take their conversations out of the chamber. the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i thank my colleagues for voting yes on the motion to proceed that will let us debate this very important bill that is critical to the future of our security, our economy, and our society.
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this overwhelming vote, a majority of both parties, starts this bill off on just the right foot. now, first i want to begin by saying that this has been the most open and transparent process we've seen in the past few years. unlike most bills where only one or two senators draft it, this bill was drafted by ten of us here in the senate. the four republicans and four democrats in the gang of eight, i thank each of them, my seven colleagues in the gang for their great work, and the agricultural program in the bill was drafted by senators feinstein and hatch. then we held a number of hearings and debated, considered, voted on and adopted scores of amendments during the judiciary committee markup under the able leadership of chairman leahy. many of those amendments were
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bipartisan or were amendments offered solely by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. these amendments dramatically improve the bill. our bill is better and stronger today than it was when we introduced it. before the bill was marked up, this bill had been vetted by the eight of us. now, 18 of us here in the senate have already had the chance to make our mark on this bill and consider all of the ways in which it should be changed. now we are here on the floor where all of my colleagues will have the chance to further improve the bill and discuss the changes they feel need to be made. and we readily admit that this bill is not perfect and can always be improved. but it is undergirded by one thought about the present situation and one about the future that we hope to change.
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in the present situation, our country amazingly and counterproductively turns away hundreds of thousands of people who will create jobs and improve our economy, and at the same time we let cross the border millions who take jobs away from american workers. the system is backward and the status quo is unacceptable. our bill is based on one simple principle -- that the american people will accept and embrace commonsense solutions to future legal immigration and to the 11 million now living here in the shadows if, and only if, they are convinced that there will not be future waves of illegal immigration. so our bill does three basic things.
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first, it ensures that we will never again have a wave of future illegal immigration. second, it fixes our completely dysfunctional legal immigration system to make us the most competitive nation in the world for both this century and the next. and third, it contains a tough but realistic path for making sure that the people currently here illegally are held accountable for what they did, but it also allows them to join american society on our terms, in a fair and honorable way than the current amnesty by inaction that we see today. i want to make it extremely clear that first and foremost we are committed to ending the waves of illegal immigration that we've seen in the last 30 years. we will accomplish this goal by building a very sturdy
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three-legged stool of border security, employment verification, and entry-exit. i will not explain what our bill does in each of these areas to prevent future waves of illegal immigration. make no mistake, our border will be secured as a result of this bill. we appropriate $6.5 billion upfront in this bill to bolster our security efforts that is in addition to the annual appropriations made for each year of border security. before any legalization can even begin, the secretary of homeland security is required to come up with a plan on how to deploy that $4.5 billion to acquire new infrastructure, technology and personnel that will enable the border patrol to catch 9 out of 10 illegal immigrants that attempt to cross our border. only after this plan is presented to congress and
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deployment of the resources has commenced may the legalization program begin to adjust undocumented individuals to registered provisional immigrant status, what we call r.p.i. status. then all of the resources in the plan must be deployed on the ground and be working before anyone in r.p.i. status can ever be granted a green guard and gain citizenship. -- green card and gain citizenship. after five years, if the border patrol is not catching 9 out of every 10 illegal immigrants that attempt to cross the border, a commission made up of border state governors and elected officials will be empowered to make recommendations on how best to spend an additional $2 billion that this bill has already preappropriated in order to achieve this 90% effectiveness rate. now, with minimal resources, with many fewer resources, with
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more effective at the border. the effectiveness rate has gone up from 68% to 82%. imagine what will happen with the resources we provide in this bill, all of which -- all of which -- is paid for by provisions in the bill, both fees for those who wish legal workers to come work for them, and fines on those who have crossed the border illegally. d.h.s. will implement the recommendations of the commission after they have been presented to the secretary. now, just think of this. crossing the border without permission from the government is a crime. when we catch someone crossing the border, prosecute them and deport them, we are solving the crime and punishing the crimin criminal. our bill will deploy the resources needed to catch, prosecute and deport 90% of the people who cross the border
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illegally. 90% of all border crossing cases will be successfully closed. how does that closure rate compare to other violations of our laws? according to f.b.i. statistics, each year we successfully catch, prosecute and detain wrongdoers in less than 50% of the cases where a violent crime has been committed and less than 20% of the cases where a property crime has been committed. think about the much higher standard that our bill is creating for border security -- 90%. everyone knows 90% is an "a" grade and our bill will achieve an "a" rated border. now, for days now, days and weeks, i have heard senators who would oppose any immigration bill saying that our bill does not secure the border, as if these $6.5 billion do not count. if you have a better idea, tell us. but to say that this will not improve border security, you may
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disagree with whether it's the best way to do it, you may disagree whether it does enough, but don't say it won't do anything to secure the border. history shows that of course it will. we believe, the eight of us, that it will do it well and do it strongly, better -- better than anything, far better than anything that has ever been envisioned. now, let's take a look with what we can purchase for this money. we're going to be building a billion dollars worth of border fence. our bill requires it be built before anyone can get a green card. our bill originally had $500 million more allocated for fencing and the fencing money was actually decreased by the senior senator from texas, who thought we were building too much border fence in our bill. second, we'll be purchasing censors, fixed towers, radars and drones that will cover the entire southern border.
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when this technology is deploy deployed, we will finally be able to see every single person crossing our border and we'll know where to send our border patrol agents to go catch people. i visited the border with senators mccain, flake and bennet. it's huge. you can't station enough people on the border. there are no roads in large parts of it. but with the drones, you can see every single person who crosses the border day or night and you can follow their paths so they can be apprehended when there are 10, 20, 25 miles inland. it's a huge improvement. simple math tells us we have more than one border patrol agent for every city block of the southern border. imagine how low crime would be if we had a police officer on every block, and imagine once we deploy this technology how effective that will be.
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for those who say the american people did not trust the government to get the job done, i say, let's look at the facts here. providing additional resources to d.h.s. for border security has an incredibly proven track record of success. in 2010, congress passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill for border security. i worked on that with my colleague from arizona, senator mccain. it was $600 million. in 2009, according to the g.a.o., the national effective rate for the entire southern border was 72%. in 2011, a year after this was deployed, it went up to 82%. again, saying that this will not improve border security at all, saying that there is no security at the border, that is not fair, that is not right. i would urge my colleagues not to say it. again, you may disagree with
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how, you may disagree with how much. there's a heck of a lot of border security in this bill. most of the resources in the supplemental budget went to the tucson border sector. in 2009, the effectiveness rate at the tucson border sector was 71%. in 2011, it went up to 87%. given that a mere $600 million supplemental appropriation was able to increase border security effectiveness from 72% to 82%, it's reasonable to assert that spending over ten times that money on border security in the form of a $6.5 billion supplemental appropriation for personnel, infrastructure and technology, will allow us to apprehend 9 out of every 10 people who try to cross the southern border illegally. second, these overstays will be identified and apprehended when this bill passes.
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an estimated 40% of the 11 million people in unauthorized status are individuals who entered the united states legally but overstayed their visa. when a foreign national enters the country, he or she is fingerprinted and his or her passport or visa is electronically scanned against our security databases. but amazingly, when this individual exits the country, no such scan occurs, leading to uncertain information about who's overstayed their visas, and 40% of those who are here illegally do not cross the worried about -- cross the border. rather, they overstay their visas. now, for individuals who entered the united states by error sea, we will require those individuals to swipe their machine readable passport visa on an electric scanner at the gate immediately before exiting the united states. to prevent identity theft, when the person swipes their visa or passport, their picture comes up on a screen at the gate, and the
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gate agent, being given the passport, has to match the picture on the screen with the person giving their passport. the exit information will be given to all of the department of homeland security components to generate an accurate overstay list of people who entered the united states by error sea -- by air or sea. people on this list will be apprehended, detained and deported by i.c.e. persons entering the united states from the northern border will also be identified as exiting the country via the northern border when they're granted entry into canada, and that's because the united states and canada are willing to share entry information such that each country will be providing the other country with de facto exit information. now, there is criticism leveled by opponents of immigration reform that the exit system must be biometric in order to prevent visa overstays, and that using passport or visa pictures
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instead of fingerprints will not work. although this criticism is not justified, because we will be using picture matching to prevent identity theft, our bill phases in biometric exit capabilities a at our largest airports. during the first two years of enactment, the bill will requiring taking a biometrics using the united states through the ten largest international airports. it will go to 20 within -- 20 more within six years. if it works better than the photo match system, we'll phase in the print system nationwide. bu but the photo system, we believe, is just as effective and much, much cheaper. why do we need to spend billions more to achieve the same result? in any case, the key to our bill is that it will ensure, soon after passage, even as this system is being deployed, it will be able to detect, detain, and deport individuals who enter the u.s. legally from canada and
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then overstay their visa. we also make the completion of the system a trigger to the path to citizenship. the path is citizenship can't happen unless this entry-exit is deployed. third, even if a small number are able to cross the border legally or to overstay their visa -- neither system will be perfect -- they will not be able to find work legally in the united states due to our bill's mandatory employment verification system. even if someone is able to get here illegally or overstays their visa, their main goal for being here -- working -- will be impossible after the bill is passed. that's why we have illegal immigration. the people who cross our borders, they're very poor people. they're living in poverty, most of them. and they want a job, they want some money. if they can send $10 home a week to their wife or father or
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children, they'll cross the border to do it. but if they can't get jobs, they're not going to come. we have 11 million people here today, and we don't have a problem whereby these folks are besieging us with terrorist acts. they are simply working and feeding their families. if we eliminate the jobs magnet, we'll eliminate illegal immigration. under this bill, everything employer seeking to hire a worker must determine, using our employment verification system, whether that prospective employee is here illegally and can work. if the prospective employee is either a noncitizen with work authorization, a u.s. citizen, passport, or resident of the state that agrees to share the driver's license with d.h.s. -- and all 50 states now have photo drivers' licences -- then the prospective employee will ar hae
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to provide that identification to the employer, it will have to pull up on the e-verification system and this will eliminate the problem that plagues the current e-verify system. if the employee is a u.s. citizen who does not have a passport or is not from a state that shares driver's license with d.h.s., then that individual will have to answer questions about their identity generated randomly from their social security number in order to prevent identity theft. credit card companies have used this system to huge and positive effect. employers who do not use e-verify or who hire illegal workers will be given severe penalties and be jailed for repeated violations, and i know many on the other side have said, make e-verify mandatory and permanent. we've heard that for years. now all of a sudden that we've done it, it's not good enough?
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fourth, this bill will also fundamentally alter the cost-benefit analysis for coming to the united states illegally by create being a new w visa worker program to encourage people to come here legally. because of the bill's significantly enhanced border security and employment verification, any person intending to come to the u.s. illegally will have to take great safety risks at great personal and financial costs to come here. once they're here, they will find that there are no jobs available here to support themselves. alternatively, they can choose to come legally and work as part of our w visa work program that is created for individuals to work in jobs where employers cannot find american workers but only if they can't find them. up to 200,000 vi00,000 visas a l be available.
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as our economy grows and create more jobs and is flexiblely related to the rate of unemployment. in addition, a new agricultural program will be set up to replace the previously illegal flow of agricultural workers. given that the census bureau and the pew hispanic center have estimated the illegal flow to be around 400,000, there should be enough visas to meet any demand for additional workers that might exist. if more workers are needed, the newly formed bureau of immigration and labor market research can provide additional visas to permit more workers to enter in occupations they find have shortages of workers. given these new programs, it will no longer make any sense for intending illegal immigrants to spend tens of thousands of dollars to come here abc news risk their live -- and risk their lives to come here.
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illegal immigration will be a thing of the past. fifth, the bill will protect american workers in four ways. because of the new employment verification system, americans will no longer have to compete for jobs with unauthorized workers who can easily be exploited. i say to someone of my colleagues who are worried about this, i ride my bicycle around brooklyn early in the morning. i see on various street corners congregants congregated -- young men mainly -- and some guy on a truck comes over and says, i'll give you $15 to work on some roofing on a few houses i'm billing. he doesn't say, i'll pay you $2 above minimum wage and give you an hour off for lunch. those illegal immigrants are driving down the wage base, particularly in lower-skilled places. that will end. second, in the bill's legal worker programs, americans must be recruited first before any
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workers will be hired. in addition, all foreign workers will be required to be paid the same wage as an american bibbed for that db as an american would be paid for that job. meaning a foreign worker will never be hired to undercut an american worker's wage. foreign workers will be given the ability to change employers if they don't like their current employment situation. this means that employers will no longer choose foreign workers over american workers because they have more control over those workers. finally, this is also a very fair bill, and we have, of course -- i don't go into this here for lack of time -- a an h-1b system and a system that says if you are a foreigner who studied in an american college and gets an m.a. or a ph.d. in "stem," you will get a green card.
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these are create -- these are the very people who in the past have created new companies and created tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of new jobs in america. now they want to come to america after they study here or stay in america? we send them away and they go to canada and trailsia. l that won't happen anymore under this bill. finally, it is a very fair bill on legal immigration and resolving the status of the people who are here. we create a system, as i mentioned, that allows america to attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world in science, math, finance, technology, the arts and more. fundamental to maintaining america's preeminence in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. we also provide a jolt -- j-o-l-t act -- making it
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possible for foreign nationals come to the united states and spend their vacation's vacation dollars here. and perhaps the dividing line between some in this chamber and the rest of us, we give the 11 million people here a chance to come out of the shadows and earn a path to citizenship, after spending ten years on probation working, keeping their nose clean, learning english and civics, paying their taxes. it is a tough path to citizenship. but it is a fair path, and it is a path that we make sure will happen, provided the specific metrics in our border security provisions are met. our bill requires all of these important reinforcement resources i have described to be put in place before we give the individuals a path to
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citizenship. that is a fair thing to ask. we in the group of eight agree. the federal government should have to put the resources in place that we promised, as necessary, to get the job done. that is entirely within our control, and we will live up to our word. but, by the same token, we will not leave these 11 million people in immigration limbo forever. it makes no sense to have people living here permanently who are not invested in america. this is the huge mistake that europe has made. we see the ill effects every day on the news of what happens in european countries who have not integrated their immigrant populations. those populations became affected by a sense of alien nation, a lack of opportunity, a lack of upward mobility. well, that is not america. here we give people the chance
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to be all they can be through their hard work. we want people here to be serving on juries, serving in the military, and saying to people that they are just as american as anybody else. in my city, mr. president -- the city in which i was raised and in which i live -- is that beautiful lady in the who are beer wit--in the harbor with tht torch. that lady has said, if you come here and work hard and stay clear of the law, no matter who you are and what your economic level is, we welcome you; we want you to become an american. we're not going to take that away. that would be just as dramatic a change in this country we love
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so as tearing up the bill of rights. it's been part and parcel of america. to those who say to have some secondary status, to those who say, let's put in the bill an excuse so that someone three years from now can say, no one can become a citizen, we say, no. we have some basic principles we will not compromise, and that is at the top of the list. so, in conclusion, i want to send this messages loudly and clearly to all who might be -- hear it today: we are interested in compromises that will make this bill even stronger and more secure. our group does not claim to have a monopoly on wisdom. we will hear out any of our colleagues from either side of the aisle who have good-faith
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suggestions on how to improve this bill. i've heard some who say we should not change -- consider any further changes to the bill, dare the other side to vote against it. i reject that approach. we're not interested in scoring a political victory to help one party. we're interested in passing a law that changes the awful status quo, solves the problem, and makes america an even better and greater place. just because the process has been, to date, so encouraging does not mean we can take anything for granted. so we welcome constructive input from our colleagues, and we want to work with them. but the one thing none of us will do is condition the path to citizenship on factors that may not ever happen in order to appear tough. we're committed to border security. we're committed to ending
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illegal immigration. but we are equally committed to allowing people the right to earn their way to become an american citizen if they work hard, play by the rules, learn english, and avoid criminality. just as i believe to my core that border security should not be a bargaining chip, i also believe to my core that leaving people in immigration limbo, uninvested in america and its successes, is also something we should not do, just in order to pass a bill. we recognize that there is always more that can be done. i commit in good faith to every one of my colleagues in this chamber who want to work with me to improve the bill that i am open to any ideas, but for those of my colleagues who will not support this legislation, i
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simply ask the question, how would you solve this problem? the answers are not simple. that's why it's taken us months to get where we are today. this bill represents our best chance for a broad bipartisan compromise on a complex issue that we have had in decades. i hope all of us take this opportunity very seriously. i hope all -- we all do what we can to show the american people that their lawmakers do still have the ability to solve difficult problems that affect every one of our daily lives. with that, mr. president, i ask that my colleagues will agree to work with us in good faith to improve this bill and give a resounding vote from both sides of the aisle of support for this
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bill when it comes to final passage. i yield the floor. mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i very much want commonsense immigration reform to pass. this bill is going to pass the senate, but as written, this bill will not pass the house. as written, this bill will not pass into law. and if this bill did become law, it would not solve the problem. indeed, it would make the
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problem of illegal immigration that we have today worse rather than better. if you likewise want to see commonsense immigration reform pass, then you have reason to be both optimistic and pessimistic. you have reason for optimism because there is widespread bipartisan agreement on many, many aspects of immigration. outside of washington, d.c., there is widespread bipartisan agreement that, number one, our current immigration system is broken. it is not working. number two, that we have to get serious about securing the borders, about doing everything we can to stop illegal, that in a post-9/11 world it doesn't make any sense that we don't know who is coming into this country, we don't know their history, we don't know their background. and number three, that we need to improve and streamline legal immigration, that we need to remain a nation that doesn't
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just welcome but that celebrates legal immigration. on those basic principles, there is widespread bipartisan agreement, and if this body were to focus on those areas of bipartisan agreement, that's how we would get an immigration bill passed into law. not just by one chamber of congress, but actually passed into law. the reason, mr. president, however, for pessimism is that to date the conduct of the white house and the senate democrats who have been driving this process suggests that they are more interested in finding a partisan issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016 than they are in actually passing a bill to fix our broken immigration system. of all of the issues swirling about this bill, the path to citizenship for those who are
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here illegally is the single-most divisive issue and that is the issue on which the obama white house and the senate democrats insist -- and by insisting on that division, i believe they by design destine this bill to be voted down. i think if we don't end up fixing our immigration system, that would be a very unfortunate outcome. i would note in the judiciary committee we spent considerable time considering amendments to this bill. and at the outset of the markup, i observed that i hoped it would be a real markup, that the majority had the votes if they wanted, to reject every substantive amendment. but i very much hope that they wouldn't, that they would be willing to work with the members of the committee to improve the bill to make it fix the problem. sadly, at the end of the markup i was forced to observe that it had played out exactly as i feared it might at the beginning. namely, that the majority of democrats on the committee voted
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down just about every single major substantive amendment that was presented one after the other after the other. and what they repeatedly said was there had been a deal that was cut, a deal that was cut with the union bosses, with the interest groups. and that deal could not be changed. well, if that's the case, mr. president, that deal is not going to get passed into law. in my view, this legislation has two major problems. the first is it does not fix the problem. you know, in 1986, congress passed major immigration reform. the last time we addressed and successfully passed immigration reform. and that bill had two major components. number one, it granted amnesty. explicit full-out amnesty for people who were here illegally. the american people were told this amnesty will be in exchange for securing the borders. in 1986 congress told the american people we're granting
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amnesty. but in exchange we will fix the problem so illegal immigration will go away as a problem once these three million get amnesty, there will be no more. sadly, we're here some 30 years later, and instead of three million there are roughly 11 million people here illegally. because what happened in 1996 is the amnesty happened and the borders never got secured. if this bill were to pass into law in 10, 20, 30 years we'd be back here talking about another 10, 20, 30 million people here illegally because like the 1986 bill, this bill will not fix the problem and, indeed, it will exacerbate it. this bill is enormously complicated. indeed, this bill as currently written is 1,076 pages.
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1,076 page. it is longer than the dodd-frank bill which was 848 pages. it is roughly half the size of obamacare, which was over 2,000 pages. in these 1,076 pages there are right now over 1,000 waivers given to the secretary of homeland security and other members of the executive branch to waive law enforcement provisions, to waive border security, to give to the executive more standardless unreviewable discretion. and that, unfortunately, would only serve to exacerbate the problem. illegal immigration is an enormous problem, an enormous problem in my home state of texas where i've spent real time down on the border visiting with ranchers, with farmers, with people living on the border who every week have people coming illegally across their property who no longer lock their doors at home because they've discovered if they lock their
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doors, they just get broken into. and so it's simpler not to lock the door rather than deal with the damage of the locks being broken or the doors kicked in. if you look at the numbers, in fiscal year 2012, the border patrol reported 463 deaths, 549 assaults, and 1,312 rescues. let me point out this current system is the opposite of humane. this current system ends up having vulnerable people coming here seeking freedom, entrusting themselves to coyotes, to drug cartels, to traffickers, and being left sometimes, women and children, to die in the desert, being left sometimes subject to sexual assault, to exploitation, to trafficking. the u.s. department of states
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estimates that 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the united states every single year. and when it comes to the drug cartels and their role in facilitating illegal immigration, the volume is staggering. between 2006 and 2013, there were 9.28 million pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin seized in texas alone. to put that in perspective the space shuttle weighs about 4.5 million pounds, which means there were twice as much, two space shuttle's worth of illegal drugs, seized trafficked across the border. but, you know, the second major failing of this bill, it's not likely to pass. there are not 218 votes in the house of representatives to pass a pathway to citizenship. my friends on the democratic side of the aisle know that, but i think they made a political
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judgment that they want to campaign on this issue rather than rolling up their sleeves and saying how do we actually get a bill that can pass into law. that's what i hope this body does. now in the course of the markup, i worked very hard to try to improve this bill because i want to see a bill that fixes the problem passed into law. and specifically i introduce five amendments to fix the bill to fix the problem. those amendments were all voted down with every democrat on the committee voting against them. and on the floor of the senate, i hoped to introduce the same amendments. and if they're voted down again and this body passes that bill, i very much hope the house of representatives will look to these amendments as providing a pathway to fixing this bill, to actually addressing the problem. the first bill i introduced was a bill, an amendment to actually
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secure the borders. the amendment i introduced, unlike the current bill which requires the secretary of homeland security to prepare a plan and the trigger is when the secretary prepares a plan, that triggers the legalization provisions of this bill. well, a plan to plan is by design toothless. instead the amendment i introduced would have tripled the size of the u.s. border patrol, put boots on the ground to solve the problem. it would have increased fourfold the helicopters and fixed wing assets and technology on the ground to solve the problem. it would have put in place a biometric exit-entry system because 40% of the illegal immigration we have comes from visa overstays. unfortunately, every single democrat on the committee voted against that amendment. mr. president, i introduced two
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amendments to improve and substantially increase legal immigration. and on this point let me pause for a second to note there is no more enthusiastic advocate of legal immigration in the united states senate than i am. i am the son of an immigrant. i am the son of one who had been imprisoned and tortured in cuba, who came to this country with nothing, seeking freedom. and we need to welcome and celebrate legal immigrants. so i introduce two amendments focusing on improving legal immigration so that we can continue to welcome those from all around the world coming here seeking freedom. first i introduced an amendment concerning temporary high-skilled worker, h-1b visas. now, h-1b visas, high-skilled workers are over wheplgly -- overwhelmingly progrowth. the economic data indicates that
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for every 100 h-1b high-skilled workers who come into this country, 183 jobs are created for u.s. citizens. the amendment i introduced would take the current camp of h-1b visas which is at 65,000 and increase it fivefold to 325,000. the current bill, the gang of eight bill, goes up to 110,000. that's a step in the right direction but it doesn't go nearly far enough. there is far more demand than that. right now every year we educate tens of thousands of foreign students in our universities that get graduate degrees in mathematics, engineering and computer science. they get ph.d.'s and then we send them back to their countries where they start businesses there, they create businesses there, they create jobs there, and they compete against us. it makes absolutely no sense. i think we need to expand dramatically high-skilled workers and my amendment would
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increase it fivefold. every single democrat on the committee voted against it. i would note the proponents of this bill often find themselves in silicon valley telling our friends in the high-tech industry how they are champions for helping get more programmers, juris, computer scientists -- engineers, computer scientists into this country. yet, i note again every single democrat on the judiciary committee voted against increasing h-1b high-skilled workers. we need to increase that cap. the second amendment that i introduced that would increase legal immigration would double the overall cap on legal immigration from 657,000 are the current statutory cap to 1.35 million, so that we can have a legal system that has employment-based immigration where people have jobs, they can meet areas of need, whether in agriculture or elsewhere and they can also come for family unification. i'm sorry to say that many of my
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friends on the left side of the aisle who often describe themselves as advocates of the hispanic community, advocates of immigrants, every democrat on the judiciary committee voted in party line against increasing legal immigration and against doubling the caps of legal immigration. finally, i introduced two other amendments that were both directed to respecting and maintaining the rule of law. one amendment simply eliminated the pathway to citizenship, and what it provided is that those who are here illegally shall not be eligible for citizenship. now, it's important to note, mr. president, that under the existing bill, if my amendment had been adopted, those who are here illegally would be eligible for what's called r.p.i. status, a legal status, and indeed in time would be eligible for legal permanent residency.
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so the underlying bill gives legal status to the 11 million people who were here illegally. the amendment i introduced simply said there needs to be a consequence for having violated the law. it is unfair, in my opinion, to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules, who stayed in line, who stayed in their home country years or decades to reward those who broke the law with a path to citizenship. it is also, i believe, critical to passing this bill to remove the path to citizenship, and yet every single democrat on the committee voted party line against this amendment. the final amendment i introduced was an amendment that provided that those who are here illegally shall not be eligible for state, local or federal means-tested welfare payments. now, this is an interesting issue because the advocates of the gang of eight bill frequently go on television and tell the american people none of those granted amnesty in their bill will be given welfare.
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i've seen that. that is a central talking point. mr. president, if that talking point were true, this should have been a very easy amendment to adopt, but yet every single democrat on the committee voted against this amendment, and one of the reasons is although the gang of eight bill for a period exempts those here illegally from federal welfare, roughly $300 billion a year is spent in state welfare and those who would give an amnesty -- would be given amnesty under this bill would be eligible for a great portion of that state welfare, immediately means-tested welfare. in my view, we should welcome people from across the world, but the people we should be welcoming are those who are coming here to seek the american dream, to work hard. i believe that's the vast majority of immigrants who are coming here for a better life, and we should not be putting into place systems where the hardworking american taxpayers are being taxed to provide
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welfare for those who are here illegally. i think that respects the rule of law to say we will welcome you here if you are working to provide for your family. you know, each of these amendments were rejected, and often my friends on the democratic side of the aisle would say something like i may agree with this particular amendment, but there was a deal cut. i may agree but the union bosses, the special interests, the people in the closed door rooms who negotiated this deal, we agreed on a level, and we can't increase it. it may be good to increase high-skilled workers up to 325,000, but we cut a deal with the union bosses and we can't change it. mr. president, that's not how legislation should be drafted. we should be fixing the problem. we should be making our economy stronger. right now, in my opinion, this bill is headed to failure.
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there should be no drama, there should be no confusion. now, let's be clear. this bill i am convinced is going to pass the u.s. senate. in fact, i think it's going to pass the u.s. senate with a substantial margin. in all likelihood, near the end of this process, there will be an amendment or two directed at border security that the american people will be told this finally puts teeth into the border security provisions. i hope those representations prove true, but regardless of what happens on that, i believe the votes are already precooked that this bill is going to pass the u.s. senate. but absent major revisions, absent revisions along the lines of the amendments that i introduced in committee and intend to introduce on the floor again, this bill will crash and burn in the house, and it is designed to do so. so how do we save it? if we actually want to fix the problem, not have a political game but fix the problem, the answer, mr. president, is the
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american people. the american people have to speak up. if you want to see the border secured, pick up the phone and let your elected representatives know, let senators know, let members of the house know. speak out online. speak out publicly. when the american people speak out and speak out loudly, their voices are heard. if you want legal immigration improved so that we welcome high-skilled workers, we welcome those seeking the american dream, speak out. if you want to respect the rule of law and not grant amnesty without securing the border, speak out and speak out loud. and let me say what needs to happen to change this dynamic is the key stakeholders need to decide that sphiewr is not an option. the high-tech community, the business community, farmers and agricultural leaders need to decide that they are not willing
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to have this entire bill held hostage to a provision providing a pathway to citizenship that is certain to fail and designed to fail. and i want to speak finally to the hispanic advocacy groups, to the many who passionately pour their hearts into trying to improve the conditions of those in this country, including the 11 million who are here illegally. i believe the current path this bill is on is a path that is by design going to yield it being voted down. i think that is why the obama white house is insisting on a pathway to citizenship. i would note in 2007, then-senator obama stood on this floor of this senate and played a key role in killing immigration reform then for the same reasons, for partisan reasons. and indeed, i would suggest the moment of clarity came in the judiciary committee markup when
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a senior democrat who was one of the sponsors of this bill said if there is no path to citizenship, there can be no reform. i think that sentence summed it all up, and i certainly thank that senior democrat for his candor because he made clear that there was one overwhelming partisan objective, which is a path to citizenship, and in his judgment, if that partisan objective could not be accomplished 100%, he was willing to do nothing, zero to improve the border. he was willing to do nothing, zero, to improve legal immigration, nothing, zero, to expand high-tech immigration, nothing, zero, to improve farmers and agricultural workers, and most tellingly, nothing, zero, to improve the condition of the 11 million people currently here illegally.
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because based on the obama white house's position that with no path to citizenship, we will take our marbles and go home, we will crater this entire bill, that outcome means those 11 million remain in the shadows in , have no legal status, whereas if the proponents of this bill actually demonstrate a commitment not to politics, not to campaigning all the time but to actually fixing this problem, to finding a middle ground, that would fix the problem and also allow for those 11 million people who are here illegally a legal status with citizenship off the table. i believe that's the compromise that can pass, but at least right now the partisan advocates of this bill are not willing to accept that. the only thing that can change that is if the american people speak up. the only thing that can change that is if the stakeholders make clear to the obama white house, to the senate democrats failure is not an option, that if this
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fails because as a political matter you insisted on a path to citizenship and threw everything else overboard, that failure would be unacceptable. i very much hope we work together in a bipartisan manner to fix this problem in a way that secures the border, in a way that respects rule of law and in a way that improves legal immigration so we remain a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants. thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, before i begin my remarks, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that molly groom, a detailee from the department of homeland security, be given floor privileges for the duration of the debate on s. 744. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i had a more -- i have a more
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robust statement that i intend to make later, but since i understand that time is truncated, i will wait for that because i am not going to equivocate on something that i feel passionately about and something that i have worked a long time as part of the gang of eight to achieve, so hopefully i will get to that later today, but i did want to take the opportunity of the time that is available to just create a -- a certain context having just heard from my colleagues from texas. i'm glad that he acknowledges this bill will pass the senate. i believe the bill will pass the senate because the american people are tired of a broken immigration system that neither meets or values, preserves our security -- meets our values, preserves our security or promotes our economy. and that is what is driving the american people in poll after
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poll to say it is time to fix our broken system. now, i have heard the comments about this bill will pass the senate but it won't pass the house. well, having served in the house, i'm not quite sure anybody can make that determination. part of it will be what leadership wants to achieve in the house, and what it does not seek to achieve, and i would not negotiate against myself with a process in the house that i am unaware of at this moment exactly how they are going to pursue it. so why would i seek to diminish the senate's prerogative to send what they think is the appropriate reform on immigration to the house for their consideration? i wouldn't want to do that. that's what conferences are all about. so if the house has a different view as to how do we reform our broken immigration system, has a different view as to somehow we ensure the national security of the united states, has a different view as to how we
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promote the economic interest that immigration reform does promote, has a different view as to how do we ensure that workers' wages are not suppressed by having an underclass of millions of people who are exploited and therefore bring down the wages of all other american workers, fine, let them express their view and then we come together in a conference to negotiate what hopefully can be a final version to be sent to the president. now, i find it ironic that my colleague from texas consistently refers to senate democrats insisting on a pathway to citizenship. i assume that he takes the mantle of the republican party and says that all republicans believe that there should be no pathway to citizenship. that obviously is rejected by the four colleagues that worked with me for months, senator mccain, senator graham, senator flake, senator rubio, that believe that a pathway to
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citizenship is an important ingredient towards achieving the comprehensive reform we all want. as well as others who have expressed support for that concept. now, i know that it may be popular with some of my colleagues to invoke president obama's name as some type of red herring in this process. the bottom line is that the bill that we are debating -- i hope we will be debating after the motion to proceed shortly -- is about finding the fixes to our broken immigration system that was devised by four democrats and four republicans. and has since been supported by more. so it isn't about president obama. it's about getting the senate to function and to solve one of the critical issues facing this country. now, i heard the suggestion that
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only senate democrats got amendments that they wanted and opposed amendments of republicans in the judiciary committee. my understanding is that there were 136 amendments adopted in the judiciary committee, of which all but three were bipartisan amendments, all republican-sponsored amendments. so i respect that the gentleman had amendments, and maybe his view did not prevail, but it isn't that there wasn't a bipartisan process that led to 136 amendments to the original proposition that the gang of eight put forward in order to be able to move forward. as a matter of fact, i think some of those who have opposed and still oppose comprehensive immigration reform, i know that there are some -- if 10 angels came swearing from above that this would be the right policy for america, they would say no, you're wrong to the 10 angels.
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i get it. i understand where they're at. but the process held in the judiciary committee was about as open, as transparent, as fair as you can have. and that's why there are 136 changes to our proposal by virtue of the judiciary committee. and finally, this reference to union bosses. i don't know any union bosses that were in any room. as a matter of fact, part of the compromise here is that labor didn't get everything it wanted. neither did the u.s. chamber of commerce but they both agreed and they were standing behind us when we announced this legislation, and saying this is good for america. and so big business and the afl-cio, the united farm workers with the bigging a row growers in this this country, the most progressive pro-immigrant groups and grover norquist and the club for growth all saying this legislation is important and necessary for america.
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so everybody is entitled to their opinion, mr. president, but you're not entitled to your own facts. and i expect during the course of this debate to make sure that at least when we are debating we are debating the same facts. this legislation is good for our country, it will reform our broken immigration system, it will let me know who is here to pursue the american dream versus who might be here to do it harm, it will create economic opportunity for all americans, it will add more taxpayers to the rolls of this country so that there can be true shared burden at the end of the day, and it will create greater enterprise as is exhibited by the high-tech companies of which so many have been created by immigrants in this country. i look forward to a fuller opportunity to present all of the reasons why this legislation, including tough border security provisions, more than ever before, more money spent than ever before, and, in fact, spent in an intelligent way, and, in fact,
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in a way that ultimately, cumulatively creates for border security more money than we are spending in domestic law enforcement as a whole. so, mr. president, i look forward to that opportunity and until then i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: mr. president, i rise to talk about four claims that this bill makes. these four claims that are on the chart, to disprove those claims under certain circumstances. but before i do that, everybody that's spoken so far has said we have to pass a bill. i don't disagree with that. but not just any bill. a bill that secures the border, is very necessary.
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the status quo is not justifiable. we have to realize the reality of the fact that you can't gather up 11 million or 12 million people to deport, and if you did that, you'd hurt the economy. now, that's the reality of it. now, to get around that, we've got to get a bill that gets through the senate, the house of representatives, and that the president approves. so my main goal throughout these next two or three weeks is to develop a bill that accomplishes that but to stress that a lot of things that have been said by the authors of this legislation are not accurate. so i will take a few minutes to discuss how the authors have tried to sell the immigration bill and what i see as false advertising. legislators are in the business of selling ideas.
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with this bill, the american people are being sold a product. they're being asked to accept legalization in exchange they'd be assured through this legislation that the laws are going to be enforced. normally, consumers are able to read the labels of things that they're about to purchase. they'd have to read about 1,175 pages of this bill to really know what it truly says. but even a quick read of the bill would leave many shaking their heads in confusion. you've heard the phrase "the devil's in the details." at first the proposal that the bipartisan group put forward sounded very reasonable. but we need to examine the fine print and take a closer look at what the bill does. as i noted yesterday, i think
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the framework -- that's when they started working on it -- held hope. but i realize that the assurances the group of eight made didn't really translate when the bill language emerged. they profess that the border would be secured and that people would earn their legal status. however, the bill as drafted is legalization first, enforcement later. if at all. so i'd like to dive into the details and give a little reality check to those who expect this bill to do exactly as the authors promised. so what do the proponents of this bill say the legislation will do? well, the first thing on my chart, people will have to pay a penalty to obtain legal status. the bill lays out the application procedure, and on page 972 a penalty is imposed on
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those who apply for registered provisional immigration status. it says that those who apply must pay $1,000 to the department of homeland security. it waives the penalty for anyone under 21 years. yet on the next page, it allows the applicant to pay the penalty in installments. the bill says -- quote -- "the secretary shall establish a process for collecting payments that permit the penalty to be paid in periodic installments that shall be completed before the alien may be granted an extension of status." in effect, this says that the applicant has six years to pay the thousand dollars. that's how long it takes to get r.p.i. status. in addition to the penalty, applicants would pay a processing fee, a level set by the secretary. the bill says that the secretary
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has the discretion to waive the processing fee for any classes of individuals that she chooses and may limit maximum fee paid by a family. so the fact is the bill doesn't actually require everyone to pay a penalty. in view of the waiver, it doesn't require anyone to pay it when they apply for legal status. in fact, they may never have to pay a penalty. so let's go to number two on the chart. people will have to pay back taxes to receive legal status. the reality, members of the group of eight stated over and over again that their bill would require undocumented individuals to pay back sales taxes -- back taxes prior to being granted legal status. however, the bill before us fails to make good on the promise. proponents of the bill point to
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a provision in the bill that prohibits people from filing for legal status -- quote -- "unless the applicant has satisfied any applicable federal tax liability" -- end of quote. now, sounds good, right? but as always, the devil's in the details. there are two important weaknesses with how the bill defines -- quote, unquote -- "applicable tax liability. first, the bill limits the definition to exclude employer taxes, social security taxes, medicare taxes. so think of that exclusion. second, the bill does not require the payment of all back taxes legally owed. what it requires is the payment of taxes assessed by the internal revenue service. now, think of the i.r.s. assessing in order to assess a tax, the i.r.s. first must have information on which to base the assessment. our tax system is largely a
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voluntary system on self-reporting. but it also relies on certain third-party reporting such as wages reported by the employer. that is a w-2 form. if someone has been working unlawfully in the country and working off the books, it is likely that neither an individual return or a third-party return will exist. thus, no assessment will exist and no taxes will be paid. similarly, it is very unlikely that an assessment will exist for those who have worked under false social security numbers and never paid tax. a legal obligation exists to pay taxes on all income from whatever sources derived. nothing in this bill provides a requirement or a mechanism to accomplish this prior to granting legal status. one of the gang members in january said this -- quote -- "shouldn't citizens pay back
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taxes? we can trace their employment back. it doesn't take a genius" -- end of quote. while it may seattle common sense, the other -- seem common sense, the other side of the aisle are going to pay establishing the a back taxes owed rather than assessed is unworkable and costly. they will claim imposing tax barriers on this provision could prevent undocumented workers and their family from coming forward. but the sales pitch has been clear, to get legal status, one has to pay back taxes. let me provide a reality check. the bill doesn't make good on the promises made. third, they say that people have to learn english. the reality, the bill as drafted is supposed to ensure that new americans speak a common language. learning english is a way new residents assimilate. this is an issue that is very important.
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immigrants before us made a concerted effort to learn english. the proponents are claiming the bill fulfills this wish. however, the bill does not require people here unlawfully to learn english before receiving legal status or even a green card. under section 2101, a person with r.p.i. status who applies for a green card only has to pursue course of study to achieve an understanding of english and knowledge and understanding of civics. if the people who gain legal access ever apply for citizenship and some doubt that this will happen to a majority of the undocumented population, they would have to pass an english proficiency exam as required under current law. so yes, after 13 years one would have to pass an exam. but the bill does not -- does very little to ensure those who come out of the shadows will cherish or use the english language. the reality is that english
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isn't as much of a priority for the proponents as the bill -- as much as they claim it is. fourth and last, they say people won't get public benefits. when they choose to apply for legal status. the reality: americans are very compassionate and generous. many people can understand providing some legal status to people here illegally. but one major sticking point for those who question the legalization program is the fact that law breakers could become eligible for public benefits and taxpayer subsidies. the authors of the bill understood this, thank god, and attempt to show those who receive r.p.i. status would not receive taxpayers' benefits, they included a provision that prohibited the population from receiving certain benefits. there are two major problems with the bill on this point. first, those who receive r.p.i.
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status will be immediately eligible for state and local welfare benefits. for instance, many states offer cash, medical, and food assistance through state-only programs to lawfully present citizens. second, the bill contains a welfare waiver loophole that could allow those with r.p.i. status to receive federal welfare dollars. the obama administration has pushed the envelope by waiving welfare laws. if this loophole isn't closed, they could waive existing laws and allow funds provided under the welfare block grant known as temporary assistance to needy families to be provided to noncitizens. now, senator hatch had an amendment during committee markup that would prohibit u.s. department of h.h.s. from waiving various requirements of tanf program. his amendment would also prohibit any federal agency from
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waiving restrictions on eligibility of immigrants for public benefits. but the reality check for the american people is that there are loopholes and the potential for public benefits to go to those who are legalized under the bill. again, the devil is in the details, and i hope this reality check will encourage proponents of the bill to fix these problems before the bill is passed in the senate. the american people, then, deserve truth in advertising. we can't maintain the status quo on immigration. a bill should pass. but the bill that passes should actually do what the authors say it will do. and so i've tried to point out to you some of the promises that may not be kept. authorized waivers in this bill -- and i used that word a few times -- delegate to the secretary to actually take
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action contrary to what is claimed by the authors and hence can undercut the new england of the --ing intentions of the authors. we should slate them -- -- legislate, then, and not delegate. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on adoption of the motion to proceed to s. 744. mr. grassley: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: the yeas and nays. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 84. the nays are 15. the motion to proceed is agreed
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to. the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: calendar number 80, s. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i call up my amendment number 1183 which is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from vermont, mr. leahy, proposes amendment numbered 1183. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask ask consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the senate will be in order. mr. leahy: madam president, i note that that amendment on behalf of myself and senator hatch. a senator: would the purpose
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yield for purposes of unanimous consent? mr. leahy: i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. july 11 less than three weeks ago. unless congress acts the need based student loans rate will double making college more expensive for more than 7 million students across the nation. therefore, i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader following consultation with the republican leader the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 74, s. 593, the student loan affordability act, that the bill be read a third time, the stphaed -- the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill and the motion to reconsider be made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. coburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: reserving the right to object, and i take the intent of my colleague that he wants to try to solve this
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problem. and as he knows, several of us have another proposal. what i would suggest is that we compromise on the president's proposal. it's a combination. it's a hybrid. the president is trying to address this. what i would propose is rather than us have dueling unanimous consents and playing the political game, what we really need to do is solve the problem. and what i would put forward to the senator that i would be happy to work with him to try to bring the president's proposal to the senate, which does fix this permanently, which does get people -- it fixes it for all the loans, not just for 40% of the loans. and it gives people certainty. if my colleague didn't see today, the c.p.o.'s accounting, there is no savings in this. there is a cost. no matter whose program it is,
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accurate accounting, which should give us all pause to try to fix this thing in the long term. i would object to the senator's unanimous consent but would offer either unanimous consent for purpose of the president's proposal or work with my colleague to try to get us to the point where we can solve this problem for those in the student loan program. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. i certainly respect my colleague's words about working together. i think we have to work together. i also respect the fact that he's made a proposal. the president's made a proposal. both proposals, in my mind, fall very short on several issues. first, they use a baseline rate of ten-year t-bill which we've never used before. there is no cap in either proposal. one of the advantages the president's proposal has, he has income-based repayment. so i have serious reservations
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about both proposals. but the issue i think that faces us now is that when we talk about trying to create a long-term solution, it's not just about structuring interest rates. it's also about refinancing loans that exist today and those that may come due in the future because one of the greatest hindrances to young people today and ultimately to our economy in terms of buying homes, in terms of doing the things we all expect college graduates could do before they were 30, that's all going to be put on hold because they're paying off huge debts. the other thing we have to do is we have to look at the structure of course for colleges. the extraordinary growth in college costs. so rather than simply saying we fix the problem by going to a higher market rate, which, by the way, will cost all borrowers, particularly low- and
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middle-income borrowers significantly more money, that is not fixing the problem. that is just, i think, in many cases creating a set of new problems. one, saddling present students with higher interest payments and higher loans and also not dealing in the long run with this crushing debt that already exists for those people who have been borrowing. so, i very much recognize that we have to work together. my concern is one of calendar. we have three weeks. we are going to be on the floor with this very important historic immigration bill for all of those three weeks, no doubt. we will not have, i think, the time to fashion a balanced approach for all these different issues, bring it to the floor and have the kind of vigorous debate which is very important. so i clearly recognize we need long-term solutions, but what we he don't need to do is double
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interest rates on students. it's going to immediately impact families across this nation. and again, the senator has been very forthright but also thoughtful in terms of making a proposal. we disagree, but he's come to the floor with a long-term solution. i believe we have to work toward a long-term solution. my sense is it won't be done in three weeks. it can't possibly get to the floor even. again, around here even if we came to a meeting of the minds, there's always a possibility one or two of our colleagues would say i have a different approach, and, therefore, we don't have the procedural means to reach the floor. so i'm actually asking simply to let us -- let us have the time to work thoughtfully on a bipartisan basis to craft not a solution to a rate issue, but a comprehensive approach to the
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issues that burden every family in this country which is how do i afford college? what do the colleges do make it more affordable? what do we do to make it more consistent with market rates but not be in a situation? and again, a final point, i was in law school and had the benefit of federal assistance. in 1981 market rates were reaching about 17%. i can't imagine now what the cost of college, borrowing that kind of money at 17% interest rates, you'd be financially flattened before you got your degree. so again, i appreciate the objection. the objection's been made, and i thank the president. mr. leahy: madam president, i believe i still have the floor. mr. coburn: would the senator yield to me? i won't take but three or four minutes?
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mr. leahy: i yield to the senator without losing my right to the floor for that purpose. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: we're going to borrow $1.6 trillion over the next ten years to fund student loans. and the differential between what that costs the treasury and what somebody pays, we're going to have subsidies in this no matter what. the question is how much is the subsidy. but i would like to clarify that subsidized student loans is what we're talking about, but all of these end up with a cap at 8.25% when you consolidate the student loans, which they all do. and you can have an income-based repayment plan which lessens the tillly, but you still have a cap. when you ultimately get through school -- and so the whole purpose behind this is to get some long-term plan. if in fact you have 3.4% and rates go to that, that means the average american taxpayer is subsidizing at 14% of that cost. so the point being is i agree
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with the senator that we in fact need to fix the cost drivers in collegiate education. but one of the cost drivers is us. and both senator alexander as well as senator harkin have major bills on both of those. and i agree we're not going to get that debate done. but i agree that i do think we can come to a compromise between what we have proposed, what the president has proposed and what you're proposing that will actually solve the long-term problem. to your extension, it doesn't do us any good, and it only does 40%. and the cost -- here's the cost that you outline. the cost is a subscription to net flix at $14 a month. that's the cost differential between your bill and what we're proposing. somewhere in between there, there's got to be a compromise. my colleague from rhode island, he has my commitment that i will work with him to do that. in the next three weeks if we could forge out something with
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myself, senator alexander, senator burr, with you and those on your side, we're more than happy to do it. and i yield. mr. reed: if the senator would yield for just one moment? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: again, i appreciate the senator from oklahoma's comments. but the legislation that has been passed by the house republicans, we know for the four years of borrowing at the maximum loan amounts, the student entering college in 2018 and 2019 it would be $5,666 more. whatever subsidy we're giving, those families are going to see $5,600 more in costs to their student. the senate republican version, i'm told, would increase versus current rates by $6,700. so talking about the subsidies we're giving or not giving
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disguises the fact that if we don't act by july 1, you're going to see students over the next several years increasing their debt, not decreasing it or not even holding it constant. the other remarkable thing is we score things based on budget c.b.o. scoring. i'm also informed that actually based upon the cost of borrowing the federal government and their lending, they are making billions of dollars a year now on student loans. that it is a profit center for the federal government. and indeed looking at the ten-year projections for the bill i believe that was submitted by our republican colleagues there is a projected $16.6 billion savings or income to the federal government. so we're in this irony of students now are going to be contributing billions of dollars to deficit reduction, to weapons platforms, to other programs,
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but the reality they're going to see is this mountain of debt they have today that's much, much higher. and for too many they won't be able to climb it and for too many they won't even begin the trip. and we'll have an economy that is underperforming, potential students that don't go to college. therefore, their income will be a fraction of what it would be. and in the long run our economy will suffer grievously. again, these are extraordinarily complicated, challenging, interrelated, difficult issues. and i'd like to believe we could get this done this three weeks, but i think over the last several years it's been suggested that in 100 united sts senators are with us, the possibility of getting anything done in three weeks is virtually nil. with that i would thank the senator from vermont and i would yield. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, on amendment number 1183, i ask
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consent that the distinguished senior senator from utah, senator hatch, be listed as a cosponsor. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. -- mr. lee: mr. president, this amendment actually -- mr. leahy: this amendment actually makes a small -- i will speak on it at greater length but jf the vote, but it makes an important improvement in the processing of visas required for foreign -- performing artists before performing in american orchestras and other arts organizations. mr. leahy: it has to be processed in a timely way. we have had instances where orchestras, for example, in this country have had the privilege of having a visiting artist, maybe the best in their field, a violinist, pianist or whatever else, but the process of getting a visa is slowed up, and yet
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they plan performances at a date certain. the measure was including the comprehensive immigration bills in 2006 and 2007, but not enacted. what this would do is say that that -- this would give an automatic -- this wouldn't give an automatic visa to these artists but simply says their application, instead of being at the bottom of the pile, would be considered in a hurry. now, mr. president, on other matters, we get into this debate, i have defended the first amendment, america's right to speak. i have done it even when people have said things about me that i wish they didn't. but i also have the right as a senator to comment on such speech. i saw a couple advertisements today, paid political
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advertisements, and the political publication, one that personally attacks senator rubio and the other directly attacks the senators who drafted the legislative proposal before us, four republicans and four democrats. the attacks are so far off the mark, they have a right to make the attacks and certainly the publication has the right to print them. i would suggest that when you have something this far out of line, this completely unfair type of attack, it doesn't do anything to help the public debate we're having. just as we had a debate with 18 members of the senate judiciary committee and consider we have
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before us some 300 amendments, passed 141, including second-degree amendments, we did that in a way, a respectful way both republican and democratic amendments came up. in some areas, we had major disagreements among the members, but we did it respectfully and did not impugn the motives on the other side of people. i would say this -- this kind of personal insult, this love of discourse, this is not the real debate. it helps neither side. it helps neither side. i don't think it's a time that we should be doing name calling. let's work together. we know that the immigration system that we now have in this country is not adequate for the needs of the country or the people in this country, so let's
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stop the name calling. let's stop the false accusations. i say this to defend senator rubio but also to defend all said of the senators, four republicans and four democrats named in these ads. let's work together to have -- to have a better -- a better debate. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the pending amendment be set aside, and i call up number 1195. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from iowa, mr. grassley, proposes amendment numbered 1195. mr. grassley: i ask that further amendment of the reading constitute the reading -- the presiding officer: without objection, sir. mr. grassley: this amendment is the first of many that will improve the bill and do what the
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american people expect us to do. the american people are being asked to accept legalization programs -- a legalization program. in exchange for that -- and that's a very compassionate approach -- we would be assured and the american people would be assured that the laws were going to be enforced. but as we read the details of the bill, it is clear that the approach taken is legalized first and enforced later. my amendment would fundamentally change that. the amendment that is now pending would require the secretary to certify to congress that the secretary has maintained effective control over the entire southern border for six months before proceeding and processing applications for registered provisional immigration status.
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it's a commonsense approach, border security first, lettize second. to summarize, the bill requires the secretary of homeland security within six months that a bill is signed into law to submit a comprehensive southern border security strategy as well as another plan called the southern border fencing strategy after those so-called plans are submitted to congress, the secretary can start processing applications to legalize the 12 million people that are in the united states. the result is that those who are undocumented would become legal after a mere plan is submitted, not even considering is that plan going to work. there are two major flaws with this. the first -- why do we need
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legislation to have the secretary submit a border security strategy? isn't that already the secretary's responsibility? do we really need to pass a law to tell her to do her job? we shouldn't have to. this is a reminder of what comes up in my town meetings in the state of iowa. and i have had 73 of those of the 99 counties already. and when i start, somebody will ask me about immigration, so i try to give them an update on where we are on the immigration legislation and what i believe about it, but without a doubt somebody before i start to explain say we don't need any more legislation. all we have to do is have to enforce what is already on the books, and we haven't have a problem. so that gets kind of back to the
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point. why do you need more plan? isn't it the secretary's responsibility already to enforce the law? now, second, the bill would start legalization even if the secretary's strategies are flawed and inadequate. what if this secretary isn't committed to fencing? what if this secretary believes the border is more secure than ever? well, in fact, secretary napolitano told the committee she thought our borders were secure. now, that ought to concern all of us, and for sure you couldn't sell that proposition to some of the people that come to my town meetings in iowa. r.p.i. status is more than probation. r.p.i. status is legalization. once a person gets r.p.i., they get the freedom to live in the united states, they can travel, work and benefit from everything
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our country offers. r.p.i. status is de facto permanent legalization. we all know that it will never be taken away. given the history of these types of programs, we know it will never end. now, my amendment improves the trigger and fulfills the wishes of the american people. secure the borders. my amendment ensures that the border is secured before one person gets legal status under this act. if we pass the bill as is, there will be no pressure on this administration or any future administration to secure the borders. there will be no push by the legalization advocates to get that job done. now, we need to work together to secure the border first.
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members of congress, members of the administration, business leaders, union leaders and advocates for all kinds of immigration people we need to be in the same boat to push that the border is secure. but if you have legalization before we know the border is secure, then you break up and balkanize the advocates for immigration reform and the promise that goes with it of border security. so we need to secure the border for several reasons, so we're not back in the same position 20 years from now. we need to protect united states sovereignty. we need to protect homeland security and improve national ri

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