tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 13, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT
mr. jones retaliated against whistle-blowers in the u.s. attorney's office. he's now up for confirmation for the agency, alcohol tobacco and firearms. may i ask, how many minutes before we vote? the presiding officer: [inaudible] mr. grassley: last week we received a letter explaining the status of the matter. she wrote that the parties had agreed to participation in mediation. she also wrote -- quote -- "if mediation's unsuccessful, the case would return to the office of special counsel's investigation-prosecution division for further investigation." on monday she wrote us another letter confirming that the case was still open. now we were told that the reason we had to move forward with the hearing was because an april letter from the office of special counsel was made public. the justification for holding
the hearing was that since that issue was made public, the nominee should have had had an opportunity to respond at the hearing. but, of course, there was nothing confidential in the office of special counsel's letter. i'm not about to hide this issue from the public. it is relevant to our inquiry as to the qualifications of the nominee. moving forward under these circumstances is not consistent with past committee practices and, of course, there are sensible reasons for that committee practice. first, none of us knows what the results of that investigation might be. how are we supposed to make an assessment of the matter while it is still open? second how are we supposed to ask the nominee about the results of the investigation when the investigation has not been completed? and, third how are we supposed to ask the nominee about an open investigation when the nominee
will claim he can't talk about it for that exact reason? i would also note that an assistant u.s. attorney who filed the complaint against mr. jones gave his consent on monday for the office of special counsel to provide the complaint to the committee. and i must say that the allegations in the complaint are extremely troubling. so i began my questions by asking mr. jones about these allegations. here's what he had to say. quote -- "because those complaints are confidential as a matter of law, i have not seen the substance of the complaints nor can i comment on what they are. i have learned more from your statement today" -- meaning from this senator -- "than what i knew before i came here this morning about the nature and substance of the complaints." in other words mr. jones said he could not answer questions about the office of special counsel investigation because it remains open. this is precisely why it is
imprudent to move forward with a hearing in the way -- in this way. at his hearing i followed up with another question about mr. jones that had ever taken adverse personnel action. he responded -- quote -- "i'm not familiar with the o.s.c. complaint. i'm at somewhat of a disadvantage with the fact. i can say that the privacy act considerations do fit into the picture." as another follow-up i asked him how we were supposed to ask about the complaint if he would not answer. here's what mr. jones said -- quote -- "well quite frankly senator i'm at a disadvantage with the facts. there is a process in place. i have not seen the o.s.c. complaints:." so we have a problem. and i put the rest of my statement in the record and also that statement that i gave in regard to the -- to the judges that we're voting on today.
the presiding officer: under the previous order the question occurs on the alejandro nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order the question occurs on the schmehl nomination. mr. leahy: yeas and nays. the presiding officer: the yeas and nays are requested. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
and laid on the table the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized to speak for up to five minutes in order to call up my amendment, senator vitter then be recognized for up to eight minutes in order to call up his amendment and then senator hurricane katrina be recognized to speak -- senator herino be recognized to speak fowp for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: madam president, i call up amendment number 1198. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from montana, mr. tester, proposes an amendment numbered 1198. mr. tester:er: thank you madam president. i'm proud to be joined by senator crapo and murray in offering this important amendment. border security is one of the most important aspects of this bill and on both sides of the border especially the northern
border the only way to secure the border is to involve state local and tribal law enforcement in that effort. unfortunately, native american lands and people are -- are vital but often an overlooked part of our border security plan. right now drug smuggling and trafficking in persons are on indian reservations on our border. moving virtually unnoticed into america. the problem as the g.a.o. told me in a recent report on this very topic is a lack of communication and coordination between tribal and u.s. border officials. this amendment adds four tribal voices to the department of homeland security border oversight task force. two from the northern border region and two from the southern border region. as drafted this task force includes border security experts from various government entities and is responsible for solving problems related to border security. but somehow the tribal perspective was left out.
yet in montana the black feet reservation is bigger than the entire state of delaware and it directly borders canada for 50 miles. the fort beck reservation sits less than 30 miles from the canadian border. this amendment will increase communication and improve coordination between the federal government and tribal governments that it relies on to secure these borders. adding a tribal representative to that task force is the right thing to do and it is just plain commonsense. i would urge my colleagues to support it. and i yield the floor. miles antheir mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i first call up to make pending vitter amendment number 1228. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from louisiana, mr. vitter, proposes
amendment numbered 1228. mr. vitter: and mr. president i ask unanimous consent to waive reading of the whole. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: mr. president this amendment is in the group of four that was the subject of the previous unanimous consent so i look forward to an ongoing debate and a vote on this amendment hopefully early next week because we need start voting on this topic and on amendments to this bill. the amendment is real simple and in my opinion very important. it would mandate finally that we have an operational u.s. visit system to track visa coming into the country and exiting the country to guard against visa overstays. now, mr. president, this is an important part of security and enforcement but one that's not talked about enough. we always talk about the border, as we should. we often talk about workplace enforcement, as we should. that is extremely important.
this is the third leg of the stool that we don't talk about enough but we need to focus on because this goes to our national security as well as border security. the 9/11 terrorists all were individuals who came into this country legally with a visa, but what happened? their overstayed their visa by a lot and they plotted to kill and destroy, which unfortunately they successfully did on 9/11. because of that, one of the top recommendations of the 9/11 commission was to implement this visa entry-exit system using biometric data. we call the system that has been developed the u.s. visit system. the problem is full implementation of the u.s. visit system has never come close to occurring as the 9/11 commission recommended that it be executed. and so this amendment says simply we're finally going to
do it. we have talked about it for years. we have lived through actual terrorist attacks that go to the heart of this need. the 9/11 commission has rated it as a top recommendation, so we're finally going to do it. and we're not going to move on to changing the legal status of current illegals in this country under this bill until we do it and until we verify that it's been done. very simple idea. so mr. president i look forward to a continuing debate on this need on this amendment and a vote on this amendment early next week. secondly mr. president i also wanted to mention a point of order that i will be making on this underlying bill as soon as possible hopefully also early next week. and the point of order is simple simple. it is a point of order against the emergency designation
provision contained in the bill in section d-1. and it's pursuant to section 403-e of the fiscal year 2010 budget resolution. mr. president, we all consider spending and debt a big problem in this country and we put enormous focus and energy and debate and discussion on that issue. the problem is, so often after we set budget caps after we set these limits with the very serious spending and debt issue in mind, whenever a big bill comes up they just bust the caps. we put a so-called emergency designation on the spending and all of a sudden like that with that simple phrase we exempt that entire bill from the spending caps, from the provisions that we have put in place to try to get spending and debt under control.
mr. president, this immigration reform bill is another example of that. because it would spend $8.3 billion and it calls all of that spending cutsing emergency spending. -- calls all of that spending emergency spending. now, mr. president, that is just a sleight of hand. that is just avoiding the caps and limits that we've tried to put in place to begin to rein in spending and debt. this is not an emergency in any reasonable sense of the term. this is not an unforeseen storm. this is not an unpredicted earthquake. this is not an unpredicted attack on our country from a foreign power. this is a problem for sure but we have annual spending bills and a whole department of government that's supposed to be about this problem the department of homeland security. we have an annual department of homeland security appropriation bill. so this is not something
unforeseen a true emergency. and to call this $8.3 billion emergency spending is just a pure sleight of hand to avoid the discipline of the spending caps. now, mr. president at least on my side of the aisle when this exact same point of order has been made before on many, many other bills, we have upheld it. we have said you're right this is a sleight of hand, you're right, this is an end run around those budget provisions, you're right, this is just busting the budget cap by another name and we should do the same thing here here. we should respect the budget law, we should not do an end run around the budget caps. we should not essentially lie to the american people and say this is unforeseen, this is a true emergency when it's not. so, mr. president, i'll be
raising this very important budget point of order regarding the emergency designation of $8.3 billion of spending in the bill at the earliest possible opportunity when it is in order and i expect that to be early next week as well. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator withhold his suggestion? mr. vitter: yes i withhold the quorum call. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, thank you. i believe hope and fairness lie at the core of what makes our country great. 50 years ago president kennedy called on the country to embrace civil rights legislation that would end the unfair treatment of millions of people as second-class citizens. congress responded and the country is better for it. this week, we in the senate are
debating comprehensive immigration reform legislation that gives hope to the millions of undocumented people who live in this country to enable them to emerge from the shadows and live full lives. it is our time to act. we should pass this important legislation. i thank the gang of eight and their staff for their hard work negotiating the bill and getting it through committee and on to the floor. they have set an example of bipartisanship on a tough issue that is all too rare these days. i also thank senator leahy and his staff for his able leadership during the markup. it was a remarkably open and fair process full of principled debate. that's how the senate should work. their hard work and that of others have produced a bill that -- produced the bill that is before us. many senators have already spoken about what is in the bill, the billions of dollars
for border security, the tough employment eligibility verification requirements, the pro-tourism policies and the path to citizenship. rather than cover that ground again, i want to talk about two problems with the bill that i hope can be fixed. first, the system designed for future immigration is unfair to women. and, second, the pathway to citizenship is unfair to immigrant taxpayers. the new merit-based point system for allocating visas to future immigrants is the first problem. simply put the point system inadvertently makes it harder for women than for men to come to this country. the new point system is based on an attractive economic idea but unfortunately one that clearly disadvantages women. the idea is if we want a stronger economy then we should give immigration preferences to
people who hold advanced degrees or who work in high-skilled jobs. this idea ignores the discrimination women endure in other countries. wo women in too many other countries do not have the same education or career advancement opportunities available to men in those countries. in practice, the bill's new point system takes that discriminatory treatment abroad and cements it into our immigration laws, making it harder for women to come to our country than for men. while unintentional in this case the idea that we want to attract the most educated and skilled people who just happen to be mostly men is the same argument used for generations to protect gender discrimination in our workplaces. we all want a stronger economy but we should not sacrifice the
hard-won victories of the women's equality movement to get it. by contrast, the current family immigration system treats men and women equally. the current system is based on keeping families together. that system reflects our shared values about the social importance of family. my family and millions of others also know the family system makes good economic sense. anyone whether an immigrant or a natural-born citizen has a better chance of being successful if they are surrounded by strong family that can pool its resources to help start a business or to help one another during tough times. in many families, aunts and uncles parents and grandparents even brothers and sisters use part of their paychecks every week to help a young man or a young woman in their family pay for college and
take one step closer to that american dream. that is how it worked in my family. my mother brought my brothers and me to this country to escape an abusive marriage at the hands of my father. my mother raised me and my brothers as a single parent, and times were tough for us. but with the help of my grandparents had who later joined us, yches able to learn english and succeed in school. the amazing thing about this country is that millions of families have stories just like mine. if i had not been able to come this country who knows where i'd be today? but i can tell you that i would never have had the kind of opportunities given to me by this great country of ours. i want other women to have those chances too. the biggest losers in this bill's new point system will be unmarried sisters of u.s. citizens.
why? because the new system not only makes it harder for women to emigrate here but it eliminates visas for siblings of u.s. citizens while allowing new immigrants to bring their spouses. so what this means is a woman who aspires to live with her family, to work in the greatest country in the world should not have to get married to do that. the future immigration system in the bill needs to be modified to give unmarried women more opportunities to come here. there is more than one way to fix this problem. one solution could be to restore the sibling category. i will file an amendment to do that. another solution could be to modify the point system in the bill. i'm working with other senators on an amendment to do that, which i hope will be ready soon. the second problem in this bill that needs to be fixed is how it
treats immigrant taxpayers. make no mistake immigrants pay taxes. a study released in may by researchers at harvard and the city university of new york found that immigrants contributed $115.2 billion -- that's billion -- more to medicare than they took out between 2002 and 2009. even undocumented immigrants pay taxes. a 2006 survey by u.c. san diego showed that 75% of undocumented immigrants had taxes withheld from their paychecks filed tax returns, or both. the social security administration estimates that undocumented immigrants have contributed between $120 billion and $240 billion to the social security trust fund. i have a fact sheet with
citations of several studies about immigrant taxpayers and i ask unanimous consent that this fact sheet be printed in the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: the bill makes clear that immigrants on the pathway to citizenship have to continue working, paying taxes and other penalties and meeting other requirements. in fact, they have to do all of this before they can even start on the path to citizenship. the social security administration estimates the tax requirements in this bill will raise more than $300 billion in payroll taxes alone. the general fund will also receive more in tax revenues. although we have not yet seen c.b.o.'s official score in all likelihood the treasury department will collect billions more in revenues for the general fund from these immigrants.
in his written testimony to the senate judiciary committee on april 22, 2013, grover norquist pointed out that once immigrants have lawful status and work authorization, they will be able to get better jobs and contribute even more to the funding of federal programs. he wrote that after the 1986 immigration law was enacted -- quote -- "their incomes rose by an average of 15% just by gaining legal status. those immigrants today are making much more than they did and as a result, paying more in taxes" -- close quote. my point is, immigrant taxpayers contribute to the funding not only of medicare and social security but of all federal programs. no one disputes that it should be this way. immigrants on the pathway must pay taxes just like everyone else. the strict tax requirements in the bill are the right policy. what is wrong what is wrong
are the policies in the bill that prohibit immigrant taxpayers who are on the pathway from being able to use federal safety net programs for at least 13 years. their taxes pay for these programs but they can't use these programs. that is profoundly unfair. imagine if you buy homeowners' insurance but the policy won't cover your house if it catches fire until 13 years after you start paying your premiums. that is obviously not fair. but that is exactly the situation in which we are putting immigrants who are on the pathway to citizenship. yesterday the senior senator from utah spoke about several amendments he filed to further restrict immigrant taxpayers' access to the programs their tax
dollars pay for. he said -- quote -- "i don't want to punish these immigrants. i want to make sure they are treated no better and no worse than u.s. citizens and resident aliens with respect to federal benefits and taxes" -- end quote. i have the greatest respect for the senator from utah. i agree with him that these immigrants should be treated no worse than u.s. citizens and resident aliens. but they are not being treated that way. they are being treated worse because of the restrictions in this bill. under current law immigrant taxpayers who are resident aliens can't use the federal safety net programs they pay into for five years. their taxes are paid into the system for five years but they get no help during that time if their kids get sick or if they lose their jobs. that is already unfair, but the bill treats immigrants on professional status even worse.
they have to pay taxes for 13 years before they can use the programs that they are paying for. the 13-year long pathway to citizenship will be hard enough. lose your job and you risk losing your legal status and being deported. work hard to save up money not just for your kids' school supplies but to pay the penalties under this bill. the restrictions on federal safety net programs make their pathway even more treacherous. we are saying to these immigrants pay your taxes but if your kids get sick, don't come to us for help. we are saying pay your taxes but if you have to work part time because of a recession don't come to us if you need some help putting food on the table. we are taking paying your taxes, but we're not going to help you. that is just not fair. i want to be clear.
i am talking only about immigrants who will be lawfully present. undocumented immigrants are not eligible for these programs at all, and no one is proposing to change that. but the pathway provides a way for certain people to earn lawful status, and let's treat lawfully present taxpayers fairly including those on the pathway. let's do, as the senator from utah suggests, that at the very least make sure they are treated no worse than u.s. citizens or resident aliens. finally, not only are the prohibitions in the bill unfair to immigrant taxpayers, they are also bad economics. both republican and democratic senators say they want immigrants to be successful, start businesses, and continue contributing to the economy. we all do. but few people would use their
life savings to start a business if they think their children will go hungry or go without health care if their business fails. the safety net programs exist so people can take risks to improve their economic circumstances. immigrants come to this country to work. they don't come to get handouts. they come here to work. two papers from the cato institute show that immigrants are more likely to be working or looking for work than natural-born citizens. and immigrants are less likely to use federal safety net programs. the title of one cato article sums it up nicely, "evidence shows immigrants come to work, not to collect welfare" -- end quote. i ask unanimous consent that these two papers be printed in the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection.
ms. hirono: both political parties should be able to support the idea that taxpayers who are awfully fli present working, paying taxes, should be able to use the programs that their taxes are paying for. that is only fair. i will file an amendment that says precisely that. in closing during the debates on immigration reform i hope we remember who undocumented immigrants are. like other immigrants, they had the courage and and aspiration to leave their hometowns all that they knew, to find work elsewhere in order to give their kids better lives than they could dream for themselves. the undocumented should pay penalties for the laws that they broke by coming here, but we should remember that our founding fathers were willing to break up an empire to achieve
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. held heller: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heller: thank you mr. president. monday was a sad day for my home state of nevada. this week we learned that congresswoman barbara mikavonich passed away in reno just a few weeks after her 92nd birthday.
as the first woman represented to elect nevada in congress, barbara was an effective and dedicated legislator, admired by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. and as the first person to represent nevada's 2nd congressional district, a district i had the privilege to represent in the house of representatives, barbara was a role model to countless nevadans. she exemplified the highest standards of public service. and, moreover, barbara was a dear friend. when i came to washington for the very first time barbara invited me to join her for lunch. even though i was a total stranger. it was a kind and considerate gesture and i will never forget it. even today when constituents come to washington to visit i tell them the story about barbara and how i aspire to those high standards. during her seven terms in congress, she was a vigorous advocate for important issues, including breast cancer research and was herself a breast cancer
survivor. as chairwoman of the house subcommittee on military construction at -- at the time, one of only two women ever to serve as a chair of an appropriations subcommittee -- she was a strong and effective voice for america's men and women in uniform. and she played a pivotal role protecting nevada's vast resources while civic on the house interior committee helping to create the great basin national park. barbara served in congress at a time when members of different parties could come together and find solutions for the american people. she served at a time when compromise and commonsense guided decision making when results were more important than petty partisanship. and the same was certainly true of barbara. barbara was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. she was an admired and beloved public servant a patriot a proud nevadan and a dear friend. my heart goes out to her family and friends during this difficult time. my wife and i join our fellow
nevadans in remembering the inspirational life and legacy of barbara vucanovich. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i take this time to speak in strong support of the immigration bill that is currently on the floor of the senate. first and foremost, we need an immigration system that's fair. we are a nation of immigrants. my grandparents came to this country seeking a new life for their family.
our story is similar to the story of millions of other families in this country. immigration's very important for our country. it's important for our economy. we need highly-skilled workers who innovate, create and move our country forward. and all of our workers should be protected under our laws and not just some. we also need strong border security. we need to know who's coming into this country and we must make sure that we have a legal system that protects the homeland. so we need a balance. for immigration reform, we need a balance between border security and lawful employment and a pathway to citizenship and the ability to lawfully remain in this country for those who are currently undocumented. and the legislation before us creates that balance and i want to compliment my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that
have brought forward this package. it's not what any one of us would have written but it does balance the security of our country, border security and a lawful system for employment with the realities of 11 million people currently living in the shadows who will have an opportunity to remain in this country in a lawful way to be able to work and ultimately to become citizens of america. but those individuals have to earn their way. they have to pay taxes, they have to learn english, they have to be law-abiding and they cannot break into the line. they have to go at the end of the line. so this is a fair bill. it's a bill that at long last fixes the broken system that we have in this country. over the past months, i've held a number of immigration roundtables throughout the state of maryland. at the lutheran immigration and refugee service in baltimore we discussed the importance of streamlining the process in refugee and asylum cases and
eliminating barriers to family reunification. we discussed the need for strong provisions to prevent human trafficking and to make sure that the u.s. labor protections applied to all immigrant workers workers. we talked about making sure we have a realistic ten-year pathway to citizenship that can be both started and finished in a workable manner by undocumented immigrants. all those issues have been addressed in the bipartisan bill that is currently before the united states senate. i held a similar discussion in hyattsville. we discussed the dream act recently approved by the voters of maryland and the dream act provisions that are pending in the bill before the senate. the group stressed the importance of family reunification and the need to create a workable pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. we discussed the need to clear up and eliminate the backlog of legal immigrants waiting in the system so that the undocumented immigrants don't have to jump ahead in line.
and, mr. president that's what this bill does. it provides the resources so that we can process those that are currently in the system in a fair manner, which is in the best interests of this country and the best interests of those who are currently caught in this backlog, and the bill provides for an orderly way to consider legal immigration and to deal with those who are currently undocumented as they come into our system. these roundtables were important for me to hold to hear directly from marylanders that are affected by the immigration policy decisions we make in the senate. maryland as well as the united states has a long and proud tradition of welcoming immigrants and our nation is truly a nation of immigrants. according to the immigration policy center and the u.s. census bureau statistics, foreign-born immigrants make up roughly one out of seven marylanders, 14% of our population. more than a quarter of maryland's scientists were foreign born as were roughly 1/5
of our health care petitioners mathematicians and computer specialists. according to the mieg race policy institute the number of immigrants in maryland with college degrees increased nearly 70% between 2000 and 2011. my point here, mr. president, is that immigrants contribute to the growth of america. they help us develop the innovation of tomorrow that will create the jobs of tomorrow. they help solve the problems that we have today. they help our economy grow. that's what has made america strong. according to the urban institute, immigrant households pay nearly 1/5 or $4 billion of all taxes collected in maryland, including federal income taxes social security, medicare taxes state income sales and auto taxes and local property taxes income sales auto and utility taxes. so i hope that we can keep these facts and statistics in mind as
we enter into this historic debate on how to overhaul our nation's immigration laws. we should avoid stereotyping and generalizations in this debate. but more importantly i want to put a human face on these facts and statistics. so i will share two stories of individuals who came in contact with our office. these two i think are representative of literally millions of people. we hear the numbers but when we listen to the stories and look at the faces of people involved, we know that we have to act. so the first is about e. gerald gomez, age 20 years of age who was originally from india. i am going to quote. my own story started in 1994 when i came to this country in the arms of my parents. i was only a year and a half. my parents came from india and bangladesh hoping to provide me with opportunities something they didn't have growing up in poverty in their homes.
my earliest memory in life is growing up in maryland in the basement of my great aunt and great uncle's house and learning english from their children, my older cousins. by watching "fresh prince of bel air" and "full house." after 1995, my brother was born. my parents had an ongoing asylum case which was denied in 2006, but over the 12-year span, my father worked hard as a hotel server. in order to help my mother pay for her college education and for us to live comfortably. growing up, i felt as though i was just like any other middle-class american peer from school. but in 2006, we became undocumented. our work permits could no longer be renewed so my father was forced to quit his job at the hotel, and my mother had to resign her tenure as a college professor and surrender her ph.d. studies in computer
science. in 2008, our home was raided by i.c.e. a few days after my dad was pulled over one night for driving with a busted taillight in baltimore. ultimately both of my parents were deported in 2009. i faced my own deportation in 2010 but was able to remain in the united states because of the hard work of my lawyer, the support of my friends church community and the media. it will be five years since my brother and i last saw our parents. currently, my brother and i live with the same great aunt, great uncle and cousins whom we resided with when my family first came to the united states. it was disheartening when my parents missed my own high school graduation and it will be disheartening when they miss my younger brother's high school graduation. moreover the pain of separation resonates to our extended family too. my mother treated my great aunt and great uncle naturalized u.s. citizens, for 40-plus years
like her own parents. that she cannot be here to take care of them in their old age. their son my cousin, a u.s. citizen, has degenerative muscle disease which prevents him from traveling. if immigration reform does not happen it's possible he will never get to see my father who he treats like his older brother ever again. i will graduate from the university of maryland-college park in three semesters with my undergraduate degree in biochemistry. i really hope that my parents will be here to see me walk across the stage. for myself and millions of others immigration reform means a pathway to pursue our dreams and give back to american society our own personally. i want to enter into the field of medical research or pharmacy. moreover for myself and so many others immigration reform means the hope of being reunited with family members. it also means no longer having to wake up every morning with the constant fear of deportation. i have lived in the united states since i was a year old.
this is the only country i have ever known as my home. despite all the challenges my family has faced i still love the united states and i have always considered myself to be an american at heart. i hope that after this year, i can be an american on paper too. let me just tell one more story. mr. president, i could read from other letters that we have received. i'm sure the president has the same situation. we have all heard from people in our community. let me talk about raymond who was originally from the philippines. i quote again. my family and i came to the united states in hopes and dreams of a better life. we left everything behind in the philippines to pursue the american dream. at the age of 9 assimilating to the american culture was not difficult. naturally, i felt as though i was just like everyone else, or so i thought. the harsh reality of being undocumented hit me in my senior year of high school when i came
home from an invitational track meet where i was scouted and offered scholarships. i was so excited to tell my parents the great news. to this day i still remember the proud look on my father's face. my mother, on the other hand, suddenly broke down in tears. i was confused as to why she was asking forgiveness. she began to explain that we were undocumented and due to my immigration status, i would not be able to accept scholarships. finally hitting the wall made me realize that all my hard work would amount to nothing. for as long as i could remember, my family has constantly faced financial struggles but somehow we always found a way to make ends meet. my father who was once a successful businessman was forced to work odd jobs such as landscaping, delivering, driving a cab. my mother who was a nurse practitioner worked multiple jobs cleaning houses, babysitting and taking care of the elderly. my sister who is only 2 years
older than me made the sacrifice of not going to college so i would be able to. she worked any job that came along. they all worked day in and day out to make sure that food on the table clothes on my back and a roof over our heads. i know that if my parents were able to work legally in the united states in business and nursing,away would not struggle as much and we would be able to contribute much more to the u.s. economy. yet, because of our current broken immigration system, our hard work does not pay dividends. in 2011, i became involved in the campaign for maryland dream act which involved grassroots organizing. at this point i realized that no longer would i stay silent in the shadows. i had to let my voice be heard and take a stand against this injustice that my community and i face. throughout the campaign, i realized even as a youth you can still bring forth change, which is why to this day i continue to fight for my family
and all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the united states. in this year's push for comprehensive immigration reform no one will be left behind. we must stand united and battle this oppression. in the words of martin luther king jr. injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. again, mr. president i could bring up many other stories put faces on these numbers because i think we need to do that. this immigration bill is for the two persons i just talked about their families and for the 11 million. it is for this nation. there is bipartisan agreement that our nation's immigration and border system is broken, it must be fixed. we must ensure that our borders are secure and that we know who is coming and going from the nation. at the same time, we must find a tough but fair process that allows the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the united states to come out of the shadows and set reasonable
requirements if they want to stay in this country. this legislation creates a fair pathway to citizenship for undocumented citizens currently living in the united states. this path to citizenship must be earned and would require individuals to register with the government submit biometric data learn english pass criminal backgrounds national security checks, pay taxes and penalties before they would be eligible for a provisional legal status. this pathway to citizenship requires individuals to earn their status over a period no fewer than ten years. in addition, the legislation addresses the need for improved border security and requires a 90% effectiveness rate for apprehension and return in high-risk border sections before individuals and provisional legal status can adjust to permanent residence. it also creates an effective employment verification system,
news of the everify system that will prevent identify theft and the hiring of unauthorized workers and help stop future ways of illegal immigration. and finally this legislation establishes an improved process for future legal immigration that is responsive to the needs of american businesses and supports reunification of families. despite fears that immigrants will take jobs from americans numerous studies show that immigrants and u.s.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs. in fact, in 2009, a study by the cato institute a conservative think tank, found that immigrants have a positive effect on the work force. the business sector strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform. that's because our economy is in need of highly skilled workers that can help stimulate growth and keep our nation in the forefront of innovation and invention. from 1990-2005 foreign-born nationals found that more than 25% of the technology
start-ups -- founded more than 25% of the technology start-ups in the united states. immigrant reform is about keeping families together and ensuring that immigration laws are respected. i want to commend my colleagues from both parties for coming together and crafting a bipartisan bill that creates a workable framework for comprehensive reform. now the senate needs to move forward in passing legislation that is both comprehensive and fair. this legislation enjoys broad support from a diverse coalition of labor business, civil rights and religious groups. polls indicate broad support across party lines for comprehensive immigration reform with most americans agreeing that immigration is a net positive for the united states. most americans want congress to take action to fix our broken immigration system. while this legislation is not perfect, it's not what i would have drafted. i believe it is a strong step forward and a vast improvement over our current laws, and i
urge my colleagues to support the balanced approach to immigration reform. article 1 section 8 of the constitution provides that congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. congress last enacted a major overhaul of immigration policy in 1986 during president reagan's administration over a quarter century ago. the time is now for congress to act. madam president i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president i'd like to take a moment to do something special. this week, the senate community will say goodbye to marcus peacock, my staff director on the senate budget committee. during his tenure with the committee, he has been a constant warrior for sound finances for our country that he so loves and i'm going to miss his exemplary service and the
nation will miss his service. marcus has been with me since i became ranking member on the budget committee and during that time he's helped my staff and me to negotiate and navigate the intricacies quirks of the budget processes which anyone with budget experience will tell you can be a most daunting and frequently frustrating task, even for the most savvy budgeteer, and he's approached every task, every challenge with his trademark sunny disposition remarkable unflappability and can-do attitude. dure his ten your with the committee, he was instrumental in crafting the honest budget act. we need that around here. the legislation that i introduced in 2011 that exposed some of the most egregious budget gimmicks utilized to get around budget requirements. together we've achieved a string of victories on budget points of
order. i think as many as maybe seven consecutive times the senate has failed to go forward with a spending bill that broke the budget and that's very significant achievement. he's -- he's been able to, therefore, expose and frustrate some of washington's spendthrift ways. and i was very glad to have him at my side when the senate finally produced its first budget in three years. it had been so long since the last budget, that everyone was a bit rusty about what to do, and i was very grateful to have his counsel. marcus brought inavailable experience to his leadership of the budget committee staff because he spent his professional career creating and implementing ways to measure and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government programs. whether he was managing oversight efforts on the house committee on transportation and infrastructure leading the
performance improvement initiatives at the office of management and budget under president bush, or ferreting out waste and inefficiency as a deputy administrator at the environmental protection agency, he's always been a careful steward of the taxpayers' dollar. it's their money. it comes to us in trust and we have an absolute duty to be -- show fidelity to it. marcus imposed these same principles at the helm of the senate budget committee turning back 15% of his budget every year. coming in 15% below the allocated amount, something i was very proud of. and i would be remiss if i didn't also thank marcus' wife donna and their two lovely daughters iona and mae for loaning his time to public service. hours on the hill can be long and i know he's missed a recital or sports match here and there and probably several date
nights too. so, thank you donna iona and mae. truly, marcus is one of the finest public servants i've ever had the honor to work with. his character and integrity are sterling. he honors his family. he surely is a role model for high-quality public servant. marcus, i know i speak on behalf of the entire staff of your budget committee when i say that we will miss your wit your leadership your dedication to good government. i wish you the very best of luck and i know our paths will cross again. thank you. thank you. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: a number of people have said they didn't know what was going on with the intelligence situation that developed in the country they didn't know. the program's been around for seven years. we've had a number of briefings both classified and unclassified.
we're having another one at 2:30 today, general humphrey will be be -- what is his name? -- yes, alexander, will be there and he has some new stuff he wants to lay out for us. so everyone should go. if you don't go, you have no excuse for saying you don't know what's going on. this meeting has been scheduled all week. so, having said that, i ask unanimous consent the senate recess from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. i don't want anyone to have an excuse why they're not going there. so from 2:30 to 3:00 i ask consent that the senate stand in recess. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. a senator: madam president in less than three weeks the interest rate on subsidized student loans will double if congress fails to act. ms. warren: this is not only wrong, it is unnecessary.
senator harkin and senator reed have proposed a plan to hold the interest rate steady at 3.4% for two years. this will give congress time to develop a long-term plan to address the rising burden of student loan debt a long-term plan that keeps interest rates low and that addresses rising college costs. now, two weeks ago a majority of senators in this body voted to approve this temporary extension to provide a measure of relief to our families. unfortunately republicans have decided to filibuster this bill blocking a measure that has majority support. that's not the way our democracy should work. i met with students in massachusetts earlier this week. they told me, we need to fix this problem. they said to me don't double my rate. don't double my rate. dozens of massachusetts universities have asked us to step in and to help their
students. petitions you urging us to stop interest rates from doubling on july 1st have collected more than a million signatures. students parents families are asking for help. they don't have time for politics. so, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader following consultation with the republican leader, the senate proceed immediately to consideration of calendar number 74 s. 953 the student loan affordability act and that the bill be read a third time, the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: madam president
reserving the right to object. my good friend and colleague from massachusetts stated that students in massachusetts and come up and said, senator fix the student loan program. fix it. she said that what republicans have done is filibustered it. the fact is that what republicans offered was a fix. what the senator comes to the floor today to do is to have a two-year extension of a student loan program that the secretary of education admits doesn't fix the problem. as a matter of fact, in an article in a washington paper today, the secretary of education secretary duncan is -- is very clear and implores the senate and the congress, fix it, find a long-term solution. let me state for my colleagues that what the senator from massachusetts is here to do is
to extend a preferred interest rate of 3.4% for two years on 39% of the student loans that are taken out. you see current law is that for subsidized student loans they're subsidized at 3.4%. and that preferred half or 50% cut, is effective until the end of june. but under current law today the unsubsidized stafford loans are at 6.8%. the parent and graduate plus loans are at 7.9%. and my colleague's amendment only covers the subsidized stafford loans that are 39% of all the loans that are administered. so what her proposal says is we're not going to fix it, we're
going to kick the can down the road for two more years. and to the parents and to those that don't get subsidized stafford loans we're going to continue to charge you double what we charge other students. now, let me just say if you look at the math where we are is unsustainable. now, i -- i understand that when we voted on a republican alternative last week, it was the alexander-coburn-burr bill where we actually wanted to tie the interest rate on an annual basis to the rate of the ten-year treasury bond. and the advantage was that if you locked that in any given year, that was your interest rate for the entire life of the loan. what students want is predictability. what they want to do is understand how much is it going to cost them for their education. not this year but over the life of having to pay it off. well, you know what?
we put a proposal on the table and it was routinely rejected, even though it was a solution, it was a fix. it was what the president's called for. it's what the secretary of education called for. the president also proposed a fix. the president's -- i don't agree with all aspects of it but it's a start. it's -- it's -- it's the nucleus of a compromise. and in the president's bill he ties everything to the ten-year treasury bond. very similar to the fix that republicans came up with. here's the difference. the president ties subsidized loans to the treasury -- price of the treasury bill plus .93. ours was 3.0. on unsubsidized stafford loans it was ten-year treasury bill plus 2.93 almost identical to the republican propose a. and for parents and -- republican proposal. and for parents and dprad watts
the -- graduates the president's bill called for a ten-year bond rate and plus 3.93 3.93%. so if you do the math and you look at 60% of it not being subsidized and 40% being subsidized what republicans laid on the table and what the president has laid on the table are very similar. as a matter of fact, both the republican proposal and the president's proposal said let's fix the rate for the life of the loan. so not only am i being asked today to agree to a unanimous consent request to take up a bill that doesn't fix the problem i'm being asked to grant unanimous consent to a bill that doesn't even extend the same rate for the life of the loan for the students that are borrowing it. now, imagine where we'd be in the marketplace if we wanted to buy a home and when we walked in in our lender looked at us and said, i'm going to lend you the $300,000 but i've got a right to readjust the rate every year.
some people take a risk at doing that. they're call mortgages that are fixed with a.r.m.'s. they weren't very popular. as a matter of fact, many of those were the ones that were foreclosed on. here's the challenge. we've got to present something that is understandable and that's predictable and something that is financially sustainable for the american people. now, some have come to the floor and they've been brave enough to say that these bills actually produce a savings. let me squash that. the congressional budget office has come out and projects that direct student loans issued between 2013 and 2023 will cost $95 billion based upon a fair value basis in contrast with a
projected savings of $184 billion using questionable fuzzy math. so make no mistake about it. there are no savings that can be claimed from any of the proposal as that are out there. it is a cost to the american taxpayer one that i think is a justifiable investment in education if we apply it to everybody. but this isn't applied to everybody. it's a unanimous consent request for 39% of the individuals that take out student loans. to the other 61% it says, hey you live with 6.8% or 7.9%. so i'm not in a position today to agree to the unanimous consent request that's been made made but i am in a position to do this. i would ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the bill that is at the desk which
the president of the united states proposal on student loan rate issue. i further ask that there be an hour of debate equally divided in the usual form and at the expiration of time the bill be read a third time and the senate proceed to a vote on passage of the bill. and let's put this to bed now. let's not wait till the end of june when we've used a couple of more weeks to say to kids, you ought to be concerned because rates are going to go up. let's lock it down. i won't argue with the rates that the president set even though i don't agree with it all. but it starts to fix the problem problem. it's a solution in the right direction. where just assuming that we extend what's currently broken doesn't fix and is not cost sustainable i believe is the wrong thing. the presiding officer: is there objection to the request of the senator from north carolina? ms. warren: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren con. reserving: reserving
right to object. i would like to focus on three words that the senator senator burr discussed here, and that is unsustainable everybody and fix. i heard all three and i think all three are very important words here so let's just go through this and figure out what it is that the senator is proposing. and what it is we need to do. right now we have a student loan program that produces $51 billion in profits this year off the backs of our students -- d $51 billion. and, yes senator i think that's unsustainable. we must find way to deal with tax the republicans did put a proposal on the table. their proposal would have increased profits to the federal government from the student loan program by another d 16 billion. so the republicans' plan was to say, let's take a debt load that's already too difficult for students to deal with and let's
make it harder. that is, in my view, completely unsustainable. we've got to do better than that. now, the question the senator also raises is one about everybody. we need to fix this problem for everybody, and i agree with the senator. we do indeed need to fix this problem for everybody. but let's think about what this is. what we're talking about here is about student interest rates that are about to double, and what the democrats have proposed what i proposed in the original request for a u.c., is that we not let those interest rates double and we use to time to try to develop a comprehensive way to deal with the rising costs of college and with the trillion dollars of college loan debt that is outstanding. in other words we recognize this is a narrow slice. this is to prevent our students from facing a double interest
rate a doubling of their interest rates on july 1 and we say we will use this time in order to get a comprehensive answer for all of our students. what the senator has proposed and what he has asked for unanimous consent on is not that. it is only a narrow slice of the question of how we're going to deal with interest rates on loans going forward. it doesn't deal with the interest -- the loans outstanding, and it certainly doesn't deal with the rising costs of college. they want to put this problem to bed by saying, that one problem we'll deal with and we'll move on and leads keep in and let's keep in mind, we've seen from the republican plan will to. the republican plan will cost our students an additional $16 billion. that's the plan. take a problem and make it worse. but not something that's sustainable and not something
that fixes it for everyone. the third point he raised is he used the question of fix and i think fix is exactly what we're talking about here. we have three different kinds of problems that we need to solve. we have the problem of a trillion dollars of outstanding student loan debt that is crushing our students. we have the problem of rising student loan -- rising costs for college. we must deal with this. and we have the immediate problem of interest rates about to double for our students. we can fix one of those problems in the next two weeks. we could fix it today. we could fix it by unanimous consent right now. and then we could agree to sit down on a bipartisan basis and we could work together to try to solve the larger problems. that's what our students are asking for. that's what we need to do. one last point i want to make -- i notice that senator burr cites
the congressional budget office study. let's just be clear what that same study he cited right from the beginning. the congressional budget office projects that the total cost to the federal government of student loans dispersed between 2013 and 2023 -- i believe that's what you were referring to senator -- will be negative. that is, the student loan program will produce savings that reduce the debt. don't let anyone be confused by what that language means. produce savings that reduce the debt means our kids have become a profit center for the united states government; that right now this government will lend to large financial institutions at less than 1% interest, but the plan is continue to produce profits off the backs of our kidskids -- and not small profits; tens of billions of dollars of
profits. $51 billion projected this year. the republicans asking for another d $16 billion. we can't do that. we need a sustainable answer here. we need a fix that encompasses all of our students, all of our families and for that reason, madam president i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. is there objection to the original request from the senator from massachusetts? mr. burr: madam president continuing -- continuing my objection, i am appalled. i am, frankly appalled. out of the student loan program the democrats push $8.7 billion to the affordable care act -- $8.7 billion of student loan-designated money is going
to pay for obamacare and i realize the senator wasn't here when the vote was made, but it is. $8.7 billion. and to suggest that trying to be fiscally responsible is an insult to this generation of students when they're sending $8.7 billion to a health care plan out of the student loan fund is incredible. let me go a step further. the senator quoted from the c.b.o. let me quote from c.b.o. as well. i quote "taking account the cost of market risk significantly reduces or eliminates the savings estimated for student loans under ferc la approach makerring student loans
costly to the federal government in most years during the coming decade." so maybe you can pick a piece out that says, we make money off of this, but i'm not sure it says it any clearer than that, that it costs the american taxpayers money. and let me say, madam president i'm fine with subsidizing student loans. i'm not objecting to that. i didn't object to the president's proposal. i offered the president's proposal. and i'm sure the president is going to be shocked to find out it doesn't solve the problem because the secretary of education surely surely believes that it does. here is what i object to. i object to the fact that we're going to give some kids a preferred rate and we're going to sock it to the 61% of kids, parents, and post grads. why should they be denied the same rate? why only 39% are going to get a cut of 3.4%?
why? because it's hard to do. it gives away a political tool. you see we're here today we're arguing this because of politics not because of affordability of higher education. thank goodness the president in his budget proposal laid something on the table. you know, quite frankly i'm sick and tired of waiting until the deadline. we're going to come out here every week and we're going to hear in three weeks this is going to happen, two weeks this is going to happen, in one week it is going to happen. and then we're going to come down to the last day and we're going to dare each other not to do it. i don't know what's going to happen on the last day. but i can tell you what's going to happen on every day until the last day: i'm going to come out and object to anything that does not solve the problem long term. i don't want to go home and look at kids and tell them that the rate that they agree to this
year is not the rate for the entirety of the loan period. that's not the case under this bill. i'm not going to go home and look at two different students who we have put in two different categories and tell one now you got to pay 3.4%, but you've got to pay 6.8%. that's wrong. it is not our role to pick winners and losers. i would turn to my good friend from massachusetts and say to her, have i in any way shape or form misstated what her proposal does, which is extend the 3.4%, which is limited only to subsidized stafford loans? if the gentlelady thinks that that's wrong, i would ask her to speak up now. ms. warren: so, i believe if i understand this correctly what we're trying to do is protect the subsidized stafford loans, and what i understand the republicans have tried to do is protect all the new loans but that to one is dealing with all the loans that have already been
issued and that are at much higher interest rates. this is how i understand t when you talk about trying to -- i assume you mean all the student with student loan debt and yet that is not your proposal. mr. burr: reclaiming my time, clearly you said your bill only deals with the subsidized stafford loans. current law -- let me state it again -- unsubsidized stafford loans, current law 6.8%. ms. warren: that's right. mr. burr: graduate-plus loans 7.9%. somehow somebody thinks this is fair. and i personally participated in coming up with something that treats everybody the same, that ties it to a ten-year treasury, that fixes the rate above a ten-year treasury, that et is that number once a year, that
let students now what their exposure is going to be and provides them the certainty for the interest rate for the life of the loan i. ms. warren: will the senator yield for a question? mr. burr: let me finish. ms. warren: all right. mr. burr: which this unanimous consent request doesn't incorporate. so, in essence the unanimous consent says we're not going to deal with the 61%. we're only going to deal with 9%. because they've gotten a preferred rate up to this point we want to protect their preferred rate. some people think that's the role of congress. i don't think it's the role of congress. i will yield to my colleague for a question. rein rein soms. warren: so i want to make sure i understand. have the republicans put anything on the table that will deal with all of the outstanding student loan debt? mr. burr: i would be happy to address the gentlelady's question. no we haven't. the president's proposal -- and i said there are parts of it i don't agree with -- makes loan forgiveness tax-free. you know, maybe what we ought to
debate is whether we're going it make college tuition free. ms. warren: senator? mr. burr: because this is a race to who can make it cheapest on the backs of the american people when we're $1 trillion out of balance. $1 trillion we spend -- well, excuse me, we've got new numbers. $646 billion this year. projected to go up next year. we're accruing debt on this country's books at a rate that nobody ever dreamed and we're still talking about constructing programs that financially are unsustainable because we're using somebody else's checkbook. this is the definition of "insanity." therefore, i would object to the gentlelady's original request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. warren: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: so i just want to return to this question, since the senator has raised it, about the congressional budget office. and let's all be clear about
what the current student loan interest rates produce for the united states government. the c.b.o., the agency in charge of estimating these costs for the government, maintains that this year the united states government will make $51 billion in profits from the student loans. their most recent report on this -- i read the language earlier -- is clear and direct. we will make a profit. now, the c.b.o. uses this accounting method because it reflects reality. it's the reality of how these loans affect the federal budget. the c.b.o.'s method takes into account the cost of lending money from the treasury and the projected money that will be returned to the treasury. it takes into account the risk that the students will default. in other words it's basic math. some people don't like the idea that the government is profiting from student loans so their
approach is to try to change the accounting rules to treat the government as if it were a private bank, rather thank the federal government, which it is. the government is not a bank in the private market. if we want to reduce the profits from student loans then we should actually reduce the profits from student loans; not change the math, not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that those profits don't exist. so let's go back to what the senator has proposed. the republicans propose that we take $51 billion in profits that would currently be made from the backs of our students and add another $16 billion in profits off the backs of our students. this is just fundamentally wrong. it is not sustainable. but i think the larger point that the senator makes is one that says, we have a big problem here. we need to talk about the
deficit is outstanding. we need it talk about how we're going to pay for college over time. we can't do that in the next two weeks. we need to make sure interest rates don't double and then we need to address this problem and i'm glad to work with people on both sides of the aisle on this. thank you, madam president. mr. burr: would the senator entertain a question? the presiding officer: senate should be aware that we have a previous commitment to adjourn -- mr. burr: i would ask unanimous consent to ask one question of my colleague from massachusetts and that would be -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burr: does the senator from massachusetts tbrea that out of the student loan fund $8.7 billion is diverted to the affordable care act? ms. warren: no. mr. burr: the gentlelady is not aware of that? rein religious so -- look, we could go back over this. ms. warren: so, look, we could go back over this. what is clear is the c.b.0 has made clear we will make $51 billion in profits off the backs of our students.
the republicans propose to make another $16 billion off the backs of our students. we can't do that. it is unsustainable. our students are asking for more. mr. burr: i thank my colleague for that answer. the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate >> posada's recessive numbers can attend a closed-door briefing. the senate continued work on the immigration bill, created a 13 year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. sanders noted that republican attempt to require the u.s.-mexico border to be under control for six before immigrants here illegally take the first steps toward citizenship. more debate when senators return at 330 eastern. the bipartisan policy center hosted a discussion this morning on the state and local impacts of immigration reform. will show you that now while the
senate has been a break. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning everyone. welcome to the bipartisan policy center. i'm the director of recreation policy here add that to thank you coming today. we are very excited to have our distinguished guests here, governor haley barbour and governor jeb bush to talk about immigration reform, state and local impacts of immigration reform, republican politics, what you want to talk to them about. as many of you know to be pc with by senate majority leader howard baker, bob dole and george michelle at the place where rigorous analysis, recent negotiations and respectful dialogue. we have multiple projects at the bpc where we combine
policymaking restaurant proactive advocacy and outreach. in february the bpc launched a task force, which is cochaired by governor barbour former governor randolph, former secretary of state condoleezza rice and former secretary of hud, henry scenario. the task for his hopes to work through issues that need to be resolved in a large number of immigration debate. we hope to host many more offense like this on to foster a conversation among key advocacy groups policymakers, academics and hopefully congressional members from its august issue of immigration reform. there's unique perspectives on this important issue. alternative castling coke, former correspondent and author of rising from katrina who will moderate this discussion. thank you all for being here.
[applause] >> thank you very much in thank you for joining us here today. i know you hear this frequently that they guess they no introduction in this case it's really true. i will keep the introduction brief because in your folders you know them. governor jeb bush served as the 43rd governor of the state of florida from 1998 to 2007. he's co-author of a new book immigration and american solution. he is the son of a president the brother of a president and many supporters with the exception of his mother believed he could hold that office and how someday. i'd also like to introduce a job in to me was very handy is to add that your state ever encounters the worst natural disaster in u.s. history, my
home state of mississippi back in 2005, haley barbour has been governor for just a year. he took office in 2004 and hauled off this as the 62nd governor mississippi until 2012. before that, haley was chairman of the republican national committee from 1993 to 1997 and is back doing what he does best as a lobbyist having a immigration reform. organization here at bpc. i would like to first go to them each for a brief opening statement remarks. governor bush, you first. >> were going to talk about the state and local aspects of immigration reform, but i want to set the stage in a broader way about why embracing our immigrant experience, immigrant heritage is important for renewing america's greatness. i think our country is the only developed country that could
grow 3.5 4% per year for the next decade. we have abundant resources great talent and the ability to rebuild our democratic pyramid that is eroded dramatically. hayley and i getting older. all the societal changes taking place make it imperative for us to have immigration reform is a key element of an economic strategy for sustained growth. this is a huge opportunity. i view as embracing a enormous opportunity to fulfill her potential as a nation and we are within our grasp to do it now. the delay would be important because the new normal of economic growth in our country will not allow us to deal with the pressing problems we face. will be overwhelmed by her
problems that we don't grow economically and there's other elements of an economic row strategy both at an immigration i don't see how we can do it. >> first ask us to talk about three minutes in the city now i can't say hello and three minutes. [laughter] i'll try and stay within the bounds. jeb's points have been interested in the spirit of america is in a global battle for capital and labor and if we grow the economy in the united states in the race he talked about at the historical rate of all of our lifetimes, then we've got to have more labor. they not only have to have more high skilled labor like science technology engineering and not. that is critical to increase the
number of h1b visas and do a better job of raising american kid to get masters and phd's in engineering physics, but in the short term in the midterm, a lot of the labor has to come from other countries. we are so blessed our university system is a bag for the best in the world. when a kid gets a phd in engineering for mississippi state, we had to say blake green card his diploma. if not he's going to go home to mumbai and higher 800 people were if we let them come he'd much rather hire our people. so that is obvious of almost universally accept it. we also have other essential labor that's not phd.
we've got california, the biggest agricultural state in america come more than half the farm labor reportedly here illegally and only 4% are here on the special ed cultural visas because they're cumbersome and unwieldy that policy. we can't just focus on the top hand, but jeb is right. if we grow our economy at the rate we can we need to remember gdp growth is simply part of it to be multiplied by the number of workers. i can figure out if the number of workers stays the same during this administration, we are essentially the same number of people in the united states that were working five years than men. it's hard to guess gdp would
grow up at the rate that will sustain our children and grandchildren a lifestyle which we enjoy and which we can continue particularly with the energy changes in our national economy. unlike jim, i'm focused on this for policy and the right policy for our economy is to have real, comprehensive immigration reform >> thank you very much, governor. >> never heard it said that way. >> governors come before we talk about the why i want to talk about the lie. the measure right now midwinter immigration reform potentially will make it to the house is it not true -- do you believe they would even consider the immigration reform right now if it weren't for what happened in the fall if mitt romney had not secured just 27% of the hispanic
vote? the gop wasn't taking one of the fastest minority groups in the country? >> i personally think we need to do immigration for good policy. >> over doing it now because of policy. >> we are doing it now because obama didn't do it the first year really he said he was going to. this is not a partisan argument and shouldn't be a partisan issue. republicans need to be for good policy. democrats need to be for this because it's good policy. it could've come up in alaska for years. now it's coming up we'll see bipartisan support evidence of what you see here the reason is not good politics. the reason good policy the reagan is to say at the end of
the day good policy is good politics. if you do it's right company get good results. when you get good results, you get reelected. that's the reason we ought to be doing it. >> why are we doing it? >> both parties feel a need for political reasons to forge a consensus on good policy. nothing wrong with that. i would say the canary in the coal mine politically would be asian-americans. if you are a pollster from gallup that didn't have a whole lot of knowledge of american politics but enough and you are told, here's a group group that has higher intact families more important euro, higher than average incomes, higher college graduation rates and they support president about mr. election 75 23 that would
be surprising. asian-americans are the canary in the coal mine i believe for republicans if i've us connect to the beat to urging voters not because of policy and are not engaged in issues of import to them. democrats can't keep going back to the well promising to do things that never even trying. so both parties are now focused on this. when you have these windows of opportunity, you really need to engage and i'm proud of the fact this is one little part of policy world. we pick structural problems other things need to get done. has a place for the process seems to be working and we should not be critical of that. we should be celebrating the fact that our democracy can work when people build confidence build phase, don't think there's enough dirt to outdo one another and forge a consensus which is
being done right now. i'm very pleased similar adverts on their way. it leads me to believe there's a good chance there's going to be in immigration and the strengths we have is an immigrant nation. >> governor bush i know what it's like when you read a book appeared were you surprised by the reaction sometimes you get from people when her work comes out and you go in hindsight i wish i had written some in a little bit differently. i wish i changed it. lucky not to the reaction to the immigration morris, is there anything you'd do differently? are you at all surprised by the reaction? >> now, look i think everything is viewed from a political ones rather than a policy point of
view. so people that were critical of my book hadn't read it. i just assumed maybe they would actually understand the substance of the proposition before they were critical. but i'm not surprised by it. with him in a hyper partisan hyper political world. the book we wrote, which we wrote last year is eerily similar to what's discussed in the senate in the house. i feel pretty good about that. it's called immigration worse than you can probably get it at a deep discount on amazon. [laughter] this is totally off-topic, but we wrote the book and we wrote it kind of old-school. we wrote here is the problem here's some elements are peripheral to the challenge but are significant and immigrants to put a human contacts in the
last chapter of recommendations from the publishers said no you have to put the recommendations in the first shot her, which i thought i don't normally read books in the beginning to the end, but apparently in the world of twitter, you have to have it all at once. you get to the conclusion first. so our book if you don't have time to read a full book the book will give you a set of recommendations in chapter one. >> with the path to citizenship you wouldn't change anything about that. some undeservedly for such conduct to which four to encourage. >> now, if we end up with a law takes 13 years where people have to do the same things who recommended the book where you have to learn english you have to pay a fine. you cannot access government -- federal government transfer payments and it takes 13 years.
that satisfies the concerns of having the right balance between respect for the rule of law and embracing immigrant heritage. >> you argued you not? >> now, totally. >> okay. >> my guess is the majority of people that hopefully get legalized status as there'll not even apply for citizenship. if the amnesty bill was in 1996 or 87 was an example of that the majority didn't apply for citizenship. he totally misread what the aspirations are for a whole lot of people. iraq from the shadows and be treated with dignity and respect. they want to work hard to pay for the needs of their families and many want to come back to their families. that sounds like a crazy idea but people don't always leave their countries of origin because they hate them.
they leave because they have no other option. the proposal we made was geared towards a consensus at a time when there was no -- at least in september i had no idea no thought we would be as far along as we are. i don't find either one of those incompatible. they solve the problem either way and that so we need to do. >> governor barbour, what are your thoughts on the bill right now that's moving through the senate? >> i think it's a good start. the fact that it's bipartisan and they worked hard on it i don't think itself ultimately pass. the senate is likely to amend itself. the house will pass the bill and certainly won't be exactly the same and may be quite different in some ways than the senate bill and whether they passed several small bills and then
throws them or whether they decide to pass one big toe, which is unlikely in the house then i think we'll go to conference with two bills that have substantial difference does and have to be worked out. that's the way the process works. i am hopeful and this congress we would get a bill that we would get an immigration reform ought to put into effect immediately after passage. for me no immigration reform is the worst outcome. if you're concerned about securing the border even what we've got now in doing nothing will have another 10 alien illegal immigrants come into the country the next 10 to 20 years. immigration reform is the critical element needed for border security to finally enforce pieces expiration dates.
34% of the people in this country illegally entered legally. they came here on visa. when the visa expired they stayed in a to my knowledge and history has ever tried to do anything about that, has ever tried to go find them. so if you want to do something about it if you want a secure border, much less if you want to economic growth our country is capable of to maintain our leadership role in the world, immigration reform is essential and not having it is going to lead to more bad results on every front. >> i was wondering if you're concerned about the and amendment. for people who don't know, the details of a couple measures that require 100% monitoring capability and 90% apprehension
rate before granting not full citizenship, but simple legal status to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. >> i'm not going to comment. its work in progress. my only comment is it's encouraging and sausages being made rather than talking about it. our democracy doesn't work when doesn't work when we are chirping on the sidelines. it works and people are engaged in good faith to find consensus. i would say a key element of border security, obviously controlling the border better is an essential element but creating a legal system of immigration is also a key element of border security. the eerie is -- the fact is if you make legal immigration easier with less cost less pain, less risk than illegal immigration you will not have as much illegal immigration and
our legal immigration system is broken. one of the elements controversial in our recommendation that is embraced in the senate bill likely in the house bill is to redefine narrow family petitioning back to it every other country in the world has come a something along the lines of a spouse and minor children. the senate bill has minor children, spouse and adult parents. whatever the case if you narrow it down, you open up the door for economic and you can create a guestworker program and expand h-1b visa is an economically driven on the high-end and low-end of the income scale. with so while border security has to be first and foremost simultaneous has to be as distant when he spake in the back of the line come if you're filipino not petition by a family member, the back of the
line is the hundred 65 years. must be of a massive change her life expectancies dramatically changed, that is not a line. creating a system of openness for people having a chance to come legally is critical. >> without chirping i think jeb's point about more of the people who come in legally come here because of merit and work and what they can do to our economy. that's what they need is and i think he's very right on that. i think it is also fair to understand after simpson is solely that there are people who are concerned if we're serious about border security. if you ask him since then, he will tell you what was the princes both failure? we said the first and will do a
secure the border and we never did. so i can understand -- i'm not going to try to get into senator cornyn or anybody else's amendment, but it's clearly understandable that this time the american people want to have some certainty that were going to have order security and do better enforcement these days because last time they just took the government at its word and i think they're prepared to do that again. for me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. >> governor, this measure is moving to the senate right now and eventually we expected to be taken up by the house. even if immigration reform makes it through the senate, everyone does say it's an uphill battle in the house and there's a really interesting analysis recently in the cook political report that while it is increasingly diverse that the average republican district is
getting wider and wider. how do you persuade those lawmakers to vote for immigration reform particularly when so many constituents don't want to. a poll found that 60% of legalization opponents would not support a candidate for congress who voted labor of a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. >> we've got pulling all over the lot. it's kind of like streetcars. a few meson, there's another one along in 10 minutes go in a totally different direction, but which is taken at face value. those districts are largely rules. does have a huge dependency on agriculture. arboriculture in america has a huge dependency on immigrant
labor. i was talking about california. mississippi has a substantial agricultural state. believe it or not, the number one commodity is chickens. we process $2.5 billion a year worth of poultry boilers. you go to a chicken processing plant in mississippi and if you find someone who speaks english, i will give you 100 bucks. they are all here for work. they are willing to do nasty, dirty work or every day they come home covered in blood guys and see it in feathers. >> okay, we got it. >> i'll tell you how bad it is. there is this idea that if they met their jobs americans won't take.
in mississippi with a very advanced corrections department. our recidivism rate is about half the national average 27%. one of the reasons is in a cynic as to a security level, we let them work and they can go work in the area, get paid. the state takes the cost of incarceration. one of our institutions is an chicken country. the inmates will stay two days. they'd rather be in the penitentiary them work in a chicken plant. that's the literal truth. so those congressmen you talk about have huge constituencies who are dependent on the flavor. the big part of their economy and they'll have this constituents say to them congressmen please vote for immigration reform so we don't have to have people here legally, so we can get a burr here legally to build the
economy and support the families of your district. there's a lot of that and other examples one after another. >> most of the polling i see shows broad support for the reforms being discussed in congress right now. the implication of the question is every decision is made purely for political self-interest in congress today and there's probably, you know company survives by being cognizant of the fact that she can't go way out of the mainstream of your district. the district isn't as out of whack with what we are doing right now and again i haven't seen the poll you brought up but i was on the other street car going the other way i guess. i think there is a broader question. you change the conversation from the question of illegal immigration and move it to have you created an economic strategy
of sustained economic growth in the whole dynamic of the conversation changes. i advice to members of congress and i gave humble advice this morning at 7:30 or 8:00 the wishes that. change the conversation had with historic greatness of the nation by sustained economic growth? if you say we can do this with an older and older and older population that is less good where fertility rates -- a message on every one of her kids and grandkids going to have four or five kids, then there is no way we can have based on the simple math paid product of labor output times productivity that we can grow for a sustained period of time. we have to change policies. they are broken. that is a winning message in conservative america for sure. >> governor bush house conservatives to shut down your brothers own efforts back in
2007. what's different now? >> it wasn't just republicans. that's a wrong premise. a lot of people ran for cover on both sides. it was a nice note and all of a sudden it stopped being a must for people got scared and went from 61 to 62 people supporting the bill to 39 or 40 at the end. >> what is different now? >> what is different now as a people do see it as an issue of great opportunity. i think both people realize that we have to do something for political purposes and the policies need to be implemented. and see, i think that the people , the american people are generally, by a matter of two to one, supportive of the initiatives proposed in congress right now.
i'm not sure in 2006 to be good point, i don't remember -- i don't know if it was as popular as it is today. >> one minor observation about that. the american people are not prepared to accept the low-level economic growth we've had in recent years. in the last three years the economy grew 2.4% 1.4% 2.8%. when pete domenici was still in the senate, in the 80s and even deeper recession in terms of unemployment, the economy had 4.5% 7.4% 1.4%. americans are not willing to accept 2% growth is the new normal and this is part of the equation for getting us back to the growth we are used to that we can have an frankly kids and grandkids deserve.
>> governor barbour are you concerned about the foundational point that came on a couple months ago that immigration reform is going to cost the u.s. 6.3 trying dollars over the next 60 years? you and others have criticized not taking into account the benefits from immigration reform. a 30 day mansion on the floor. >> of course, everybody knows it's a political document and it is designed to be a political document. there is a reason we don't expect government to make her addictions about spending and taxes for more than 10 years at the congressional budget office. the idea that will predict 50 years into the future to the precision within a few tens of millions of dollars is silly. we can't do that and people know you can't do that. it's also so obviously a
political document that is now starting to be compared to other people's studies which have different results about the heritage foundation has been an ally of mine when i was chairman of the party governor mississippi, they helped us with lots and lots of things. my wife doesn't agree with you and everything. so the fact they don't agree with me is not a big deal to me. the fact of the matter is it's a political document. it's not a serious piece of work. you don't fire people who chose to your top, top study. your most important political document she don't the next week fired the guy who did it if everything is going peachy keen. >> as you do, senator. >> i wanted to ask you one more
thing. the national congressional committee said they must embrace and championed comprehensive immigration reform if we do not appeal that will shrink to core constituencies commending the implication is the republican party will go the way of the dinosaurs. what's happened to the republican party in the presidential candidates like yourself if it doesn't get through congress this time and republicans are seen as being responsible for not passing immigration reform, what happens? >> i think the system will be blamed not one party or the other of both parties are engaged. that's why i'm pleased that rather than saying no for principled reasons, they say no to what might be proposed by democrats, the old-school way has been applied here which is people of good faith quietly gone about their business to form a consensus to be submitted
to the regular order of the judiciary committee now on the floor of the senate and the house will have their version of that and it validates the civics books. we were starting to worry we'd have to republish civics books in america because the process ignored what they'd written about how the thing was supposed to work. i don't think political aspects of this are because of engagement. i think were in pretty good shape. it would be hard to imagine of republicans in the house passed a bill and you can't forge a consensus in the conference committee for whatever reason that somebody could be blamed politically. i'm sure though be a first to try, but making a good-faith effort with sincerity and believe in and the other side's views can have a conversation about them is helpful in that regard. >> i just did say the biggest issue you're bringing up as if it doesn't pass the news media
has decided it's the republicans follow. if it fails because of border security, because the democrats say that's a poison pill is that the word she used a while ago? the liberal media elite is prepared to say it's the republicans follow. the fact of the matter is there's republicans that want immigration reform if anybody else into predetermine today it's the republicans fault is something we have to work on to see what happens. hopefully we get a bill. a bill the president signs. republicans have to make sure that if they share to support a bill that they couldn't get past because the senate wouldn't take it or the president would sign it that there isn't just a predisposition to matter what the facts are.
well, it was the republicans fault. >> i would say that transfer from the heritage foundation report to the political world to reality for a second. a heritage report is flawed in mind because i was on the board and i greatly admire their work has been in the forefront of advocating dynamic scoring that life is full of people interacting in creating far more of what they could come up with. to have a report that assumes this constant trendline is flawed and not given any credit for economic entities that every study shows immigrants bring to the equation. politically we are in the same situation. everything has to be about politics. immigrants don't like republicans. why? why do we assume that? it's not part of our history. why do we assume it's going to
be that way because it currently is no way? i would argue republicans win when they are positive and hopeful and aspirational and we draw people toward their cause when we do that and if we play the game for less government we don't believe in a muscular government that message is not aspirational not hopeful, not particularly optimistic and we could lose. my guess is the messaging will change and we could garner significant support amongst immigrants from africa, from asia, latin america. it's been that way pretty regularly in my guess is that we'll continue to be that way. the final point is if we do nothing, we will have family reunification be the dominant 75% petition by family members in not necessarily as
aspirational as those that if we created a strategic approach to this and if you believe in that politics republicans are doomed and i would disagree with that. >> let's go to questions. if you would give us your name and who you are affiliated first. >> takes hold in a state of the congressional correspondent for the hispanic outlook on higher education. i've been covering immigration for seven years and wrote a book about four years ago. let me say first i do think the press, keep saying the republicans and hispanics don't like republicans. the fact is hispanic republicans are driving the debate right now that there's five new hispanics elected in 2010 and the congress on republicans.
of course the tina governor of the united states i think the press has to get off the message that hispanics hate republicans. it's absolutely not true. my question is -- >> keep talking. [laughter] >> i have a little thing about that. but anyway, my question is what is the urgency right now? disintegration is absolutely not an election issue. nobody really cared about it and even hispanics believe in poll after poll it was number four and five on the list of concern. so why is it suddenly obama's legacy when he has even talked about the last eight years? >> is going to continue to get worse. we've got a system as jeb says is broken.
it doesn't work. it doesn't serve the purposes of country needs to be served and there's an appetite, so go get it. that is my view. when something's broke, fix it. >> and when it's an opportunity sees it. i don't come near enough i guess. everything doesn't have to have a deep political motive. it could be people think our country can grow and immigrants can play his part of that. they set up my businesses buy more homes. they're more formally oriented. in many cases when they start jobs have gone unfilled on the high-end witness huge opportunities to invest in their own country and every time i make the decision but not in other places and have been the beneficiary. this is an opportunity to fix it. i have a confession to make.
i don't live in washington where this is a political world and insensitive to that respect it. i live in miami were half the people in my vibrant beautiful place are born outside the united states. when i finally make it home on a friday afternoon and get to spend the night with my lover it is my wife who was born outside of the united states. on sunday found a snake it to be with georgia, lena walker bush my munchkin 22 -month-old granddaughter her mom was born in canada of iraqi national pants. that experience i think george is going to be 52. i think she might be a president. that experience is one we should not do work. that is the unique american experience that i've had the blessing truly a blessing to experience in a way that has a
tremendous amount of vitality in my life. it is something no other country has done as well as we have done. why can't that be what the debate is about? why can it be bigger things that tie to heritage make us a better country? >> another question right here. >> by the way did i mention my wife was my lover. >> i think you clarify that, governor. [laughter] go right ahead. >> world magazine. i had a question about roe allowed to tour the house a key role in house negotiations and said he joined the group in part because democrats made some concessions in agreement that in some cases they've now gone back
on case in point with the health care issue. illegal immigrants to legalize, for him to agree to a deal they would have to cover the cost of their health insurance and now he said they dropped out of the group. number one, how do you see the health care issue coming down and from a political aspect are you concerned there may be any bait and switch negotiating going on in the house? >> i don't know. i hope not. i don't know that. the concerned about the health care issue is there maybe some executive authority to waive parts of the affordable care act or something. that's one of the issues on health care. so i believe there's a senate amendment that might alleviate concerns. but this is sausage being made and there's a lot of there's a lot of give-and-take. for washington, this seems to be down outside the light.
it's been done in a quieter way more than most bills. so let's see what it looks like two weeks from now or three weeks from now and let's see what happens after the senate passes a bill which seems to be likely. the house is likely to respond. >> gentleman right here. >> thank you. i am a business owner. an immigrant here in 1999 home in 2002 study business in 2004 and i've hired almost 200 personnel in this country. this is my question. i believe the abolition of the immigration from the citizens
were unfairly affect immigration from africa since most people benefit from immigration, i'm not going to be africans. this is very unfair and also is going to break her family fabric, which is their value. i want a comment from you. >> sure, i think the definition of family ought to be the traditional one in our own country were the only country in the world that has as part of its immigration policies this broad definition, the broadest possible. no other country has that and there will be opportunities that we have a legal immigration system. we should eliminate the diversity lottery because of how the leak of immigration system he wouldn't. narrowing the number of people to come to her family petitioning creates hundreds of thousands of positions open for people that aspire to come here and work.
so i'm not suggesting narrowing the total number. the proposals i've seen an increase illegal immigration i am all for that. i think detroit would do real well if we started repopulating out with young aspirational people like yourself that is built to business. i don't consider it discriminatory to have a policy similar to that of the rest of the world. >> another question. >> asker maturely press national immigration correspondent for "the new york times." governor bush i wanted to ask you to clarify your position further on the citizenship issue because this has become quite central in the discussion in the senate and the house. there are discussions in the senate that would make it
complicated for immigrants to attain some legal status to go on and become citizens eventually. also, this has become a central issue in the house as well. i am wondering, do you think it is not essential for immigrants who have been in the country illegally to have a path to citizenship? or how would you describe what you think the purpose and goal of citizenship should be for those people? >> the senate bill that requires 13 years as i understand it 10 years to get a green card her teen years on an accelerated path or green to citizenship status with gates you have to go through as it relates to some discussed right now how to do this to make some clear statement that our borders are secure based on some objective
means, we learn english and you don't access government benefits, that reaches the proper balance. the bigger issue to me is getting people out from the shadows, the majority of which do not want to be citizens. poor countries taken our country steak and other people were we have all these people in limbo getting a bill passed to improve our laws is a very valid deal. if the law was to be like it was with simpson was solely or you could become a citizen over a shorter period of time, but they've done the right thing about the proper balance and i applaud marco rubio's work on this to be able to bring a consensus between right amount that is uncommon in american politics and others, not just
marco has taken a lead and i trust him to reach the proper balance and i hope the democrats . >> you support the path to citizenship? >> i support learning english in hunting dates related to border security. >> thank you for clarifying. question here. the >> all users style of asking a question and given the context. the question is what role should the states play in the context is your federal action and inaction federal action in the emergency medical treatment and labor act states are mandated with providing health care education and other benefits and yet we have very little tools to address that interaction.
in utah in 2005 we started down the road of immigration reform at the state level with the driving privilege card. 2011 would pass comprehensive immigration reform. today in the salt lake tribune the poll shows 71% strongly or somewhat strongly support bipartisan immigration. and immigration reform that would need to fix our broken immigration system. what role should we play? >> people are shocked at left-wing utah. [inaudible] >> 24 out of 29 are republicans.
[inaudible] so we are left-wing enclaves. last night >> the question is very to governors because of the federal government fails to do its job and not his control the border then we get people that are here illegally and when states try to take action to do something to protect their resources the federal government often stops you from doing it. a lot of people have lost track of the initiative in california back in 1994 prop 117 whatever it is. it is all about illegal immigration. it was not about legal immigrants at all but it became
politically symbolic that the california republicans were against immigrants, which is not the truth. the problem is california is trying to deal with just which are talking about. they were being flooded with health care costs because of federals government got to do their job. they don't pay the law-enforcement bill pay the federal government doesn't pay to incarceration though. in fact when somebody gets taken away by i.c.e. or the local jails, they won't tell us they're not very good partners at this and they've got a hard job in this love we can get a good immigration reform will make the federal government's job easier and it will take these burdens off of us because the federal government presumably won't be failing. now you do understand why some
people think we'd like to you know, we've taken this on faith once. let's get something in place. let's get something going here to help the states. >> at night to pay tribute to utah. as international heritage, the residents in utah don't fear the outside. they've embraced the outside. utah is a forward leaning state because of that and the policies you adopted in 2011 got no attention, should've got a lot of attention because it was a nice counterbalance to a reaction in the neighborhood that i think, you know, has been adjusted over time. utah is a fantastic place and its quality of life is enhanced by this embrace of diversity and embrace of the rest of the world. as it relates to the state and local responsibilities by law
state and local law enforcement are prohibited from being partners in this. it wasn't not long ago. i was governor and it must've been 1999 i think it was my first year he got briefed on the federal law enforcement presence in the state of florida and there's one border patrol agent between palm beach and jacksonville. the reaction was like you're kidding me. it seems ludicrous to me. the law as it was the someone came across, which they did regularly back then by boat, landed on a beach in florida into this peer coincidence bump into a border patrol officer. then it all worked out pretty good. it was probably 99.999% of the cases come to you to hold the
person in the car for a discrete amount of time or release them. since there was no one on the other side of the amount, if it may be what we have to do is go to washington and see we can get some agreement with the justice department where our guys and gals can be trained to beady eyes and ears of the federal immigration border patrol folks to extend the reach. first go around was under the 42 administration like a reject it. the attorney general is a great floridian. janet reynard didn't see how this would work. we got the deal done and i think we should expand not. state and local law enforcement is significant. rather than create confrontation and conflict, they seem state and local law enforcement can help the federal government enforces laws of proper training, protocols established
to protect people's rights and all that just as they do with legal citizens and residents of our country they could do the same for people not here legally and it would solve much of the law-enforcement problem we have. there's huge resistance to that of the federal government right now. >> i'm afraid we're going to have to cut things i've. we got started late about 10 minutes late. okay, one more. will take one more. sorry, everyone. >> i'll be fast. and that could breed with rare. both of you have been dismissive of the politics behind immigration reform process are those of you who are politicians, but which he said the biggest bet is to reform on both sides republicans and democrats. >> from our side there is zero cost and fear that we won't have
sufficient border security. i think for their sign and the unions are very cautious to put it mildly about this and also how much border security is the right amount from the democrat side. so border security could be a place where both sides could be concerned. and finally, work versus family unification is a potential -- a potential issue. some of the unions want less fewer workers coming in. that can affect some democrats. most of the republicans think this is a very important way to grow our economy. >> the greatest political risk as people look at this through a
political lens in the minute that happens to go back to the old way which is two armed camps and the center then dissipates. if it's focused on policy, at least from my reading of it there's a higher probability that its past. >> thank you for joining us. sorry we couldn't take everyone's questions. this could go on all day. [applause] >> governor bush will be signing books in the lobby and a few minutes. there's some for sale if you'd like to join us after that. by the imac >> if you want to join the conversation, join us on twitter or go to the website bipartisan policy.work. thank you all very much.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the senate spent the morning debating the immigration bill and rejected an attempt to require the u.s.-mexico border to be under control for six months before immigrants here illegally could take the first steps toward citizenship. turning onto live coverage of the senate floor here on c-span 2.
mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection -- oh, we're not in quorum call. mr. blumenthal: thank you. thank you madam president. today we mark a six-month anniversary of a date that none of us will ever forget because it transformed our lives it transformed america it certainly transformed connecticut and the community of newtown. we commemorate the six-month anniversary of that unspeakable
unimaginable tragedy that cut short the lives of 20 beautiful innocent children and six dedicated courageous educators. it transformed america in so many ways changed our lives irrevocably and put us on a trajectory i hope toward changes in our laws that will prevent this kind of horrific, unimaginable tragedy from ever happening again. and our challenge right here in this body on this floor is to make sure that we learn from it, that we act on it, that we keep faith with those families as well as the newtown community and all of our country that lost so much in that day. december 14 began like so many
other days for the parents of newtown, connecticut. they took their children to school kissed them goodbye and went about their day with plans for playdates and hanukkah and christmas and holiday parties presents that they would give to those children for those holidays. they planned snack breaks and holiday parties they wrapped those presents and just hours later i stood with them saw them emerge from the sandy hook firehouse having learned that those children would not be coming home that night. i arrived in newtown as a public official within hours of that shooting but what i saw was through the eyes of a parent -- griefstricken, panicked parents.
tears streaming down their faces who came hoping to reunite with their children, and many parents did reunite. the children were brought to all of the parents who gathered at the firehouse and they left with their children. until until the families realized that those children would not be coming home. i saw those families who lost beautiful young children -- and some of them are here along with adults dedicated courageous adults educators who sacrificed themselves trying to save their children. and i will never forget the cries of grief anguish pain disbelief. every parent in his or her
d.n.a. has something fundamental fundamental. it's about trust and caring for children making sure that they come home at the end of the day when they go to school. that they are kept safe in some very basic and fundamental way. society shares that trust. society failed in that trust. and we will never forget the loss and heartbreak of that tragic day in sandy hook but we also know in the face of evil that there was tremendous goodness and heroism. there were genuine heroes. the first responders who braved the unknown hearing gunfire charging into that school stopping the shooting through their courage because the shooter turned that gun on himself.
there were the brave educators teachers administrators school psychologists who threw themselves in front of bullets or tried to save their children and perished themselves. and then members of the community who came together in support of the families and who themselves, along with first responders are continuing to recover. they exemplify the quintessential values of this quintessential new england town that make us proud to be american. 32 members of the victims' families at the massacre wrote to the united states senate judiciary committee and through their unspeakable pain and suffering, they asked congress to honor the memory of their loved ones by supporting measures to stem and stop the
epidemic of gun violence. they wrote -- and i'm quoting -- "in the midst of our anguish, we are compelled to speak out to save others from suffering what we have endured." these brave families have come to washington to tell their stories. they sat in this very gallery they met with colleagues. some of our colleagues refused to meet with them and i urge them to have some of their courage and meet with them to hear their stories and we owe them tremendous respect and gratitude. they enabled us to come to this point where we are close to making fundamental changes in the law. but in april that day of the vote was a day of shame because the senate turned its back on the families of newtown while some of them watched in this
very gallery explaining to those families or trying to explain how 90% of the american people could be in favor of reasonable commonsense measures that we proposed, background checks on all firearms purchases and a ban on illegal trafficking and straw purchases on assault weapons and on excess capacity magazines. how 90% of the american people could be in favor of those kinds of commonsense measures most especially the background check and yet the senate failed to pass it. those families have been resolute and resilient at every turn. as mark barden wrote whose son daniel was killed six months ago at sandy hook, we are not defeated. we will always be here because we have no other choice.
despite their profound and harrowing loss, those parents husbands wives sisters brothers grandmothers have kept faith, and they have inspired us to keep faith. they have uplifted us. and their determination has meant the world to colleagues who have heard them and as an example of grace under pressure and courage and strength, they have refused to give up and they will not give up nor will we -- we are coming back for another vote. we will not allow that vote to be the final one. it may be the first one but it is not the final one and we will win the last vote, which is the one that counts. and in the meantime, many of my colleagues have stood up to the special interests and most especially the n.r.a., which was used to having its way and holding sway in this body in
congress just as a school yard bully would and my colleagues have stood up to that bully once and will do it again and this time we will win. what happened in newtown can happen anywhere in america. if it can happen there it can happen in any town or city, and it has in fact, claimed the lives of 4,900 people since newtown. gun violence has claimed their lives. and i am constantly shocked and saddened by how quickly that number rises each time i speak about this topic. just last week, a man armed with a semiautomatic ar-15 assault rifle and more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition opened fire at a santa monica college and killed five people. the stories about newtown about
all of the massacres since and before whether columbine or virginia tech or arizona and tucson all affirm that these laws can help save lives. these laws can help save lives. six months ago i left the firehouse at sandy hook to attend a vigil at a church in newtown. the church was st. rose of lima provided over by father bob senior robert weiss. the church was filled. it was a powerful and moving experience. people listened to the service through the windows and the p.a. system outside. i said that evening the world is watching newtown and in fact,
for six months the world has watched newtown and it has since seen a story of unparalleled and unprecedented courage and fortitude and now we will continue to watch newtown but the world is also watching the united states senate. we need to be worthy of the courage and strength that newtown has demonstrated in moving ahead. i thank the majority leader harry reid and all of my colleagues who have determined that we will bring this bill back. not only to honor the memories of the newtown victims and keep faith with them, but also to make this country better and safer, worthy of these children. beautiful and innocent at the time of their passing all of their future ahead of them, educators who worked for their
whole professional lives in trying to help children like these young people. out of that grief and pain, we can make america safer and stronger. we can make america better. that's the potential legacy of these lost lives. a better and safer america and if we achieve it, they will not have died in vain. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. i join my colleague from connecticut here on the floor of the senate to commemorate a sad sad day six months since the shootings in newtown that took 20 little 6 and 7-year-olds and six of the teachers that were charged with protecting them. madam president, i know you share in our sadness because it wasn't too long afterwards that your state went through a tragedy in some ways of smaller and bigger proportions. and you have to wonder, six months later after these families the brothers and the sisters and the moms and the dads of these victims coming down to the senate over and over again, including this week, looking senator after senator congressman after congressman in the eye and asking for this
place to learn something from this tragedy you wonder how six months later we've done nothing. you wonder how if 20 little kids dying at the hands of a madman with a gun over the course of five or ten minutes doesn't move this place to action, what would? what visit to your office, what message, what story what set of facts could possibly make this place change the laws that have allowed for these slaughters, plural over and over again to happen? it's six months later and we have done nothing. at least here in the senate floor, we raised the bill, we put it on for debate.
we got 55 votes and the rules prevented us from getting it passed. the house down the hall has done absolutely nothing haven't lifted a finger to move legislation forward six months later, and no answer for these families. madam president, i was there with senator blumenthal that afternoon in that firehouse and those were moments that i would a lot of days love to have never lived, things that i didn't need to see. but it changed my life, committed me to action, and it commands us to understand that the most shallow argument that has been posed i would argue the most backwards argument that has been posed over the last six months is that yes these terrible things happen, the most terrible of them we're marking
the six-month anniversary of, but there is nothing that we could do here that would really change that. that really bad things are going to happen to good people, to good first grade students, but that nothing here is going to really change any of that. that is just flat wrong and it shouldn't be every six months that we come to the floor to try to rebut that argument. it should be every day because in columbine the guns that were bought to slaughter those high school students were bought outside of the background system intentionally so because the person that bought them knew if they went into a legitimate gun store they wouldn't be able to purchase the guns that were being requested and so they went to a gun show around the background checks system. we know different laws would change things because in aurora, the shooter went in with a
100-round drum and the shooting stopped and people escaped including a couple of my constituents because the gun jammed. they had trouble switching these massive, massive ammunition clips. and in newtown we know the power of the gun that was used. i mean, these assault weapons are all over the place today. they have become commonplace but it doesn't belie the fact that they still have a power to kill that few other guns do. so much so that adam lanza walked into that school that day, fired over 150 rounds, shot 20 kids and not a single one of them survived. every kid that he shot died, in part because of the power of that gun. that same day a very sick man walked into a school in china armed with a weapon, attacked
over 20 children, and every single one of them lived. that guy had a knife. assault weapons if we continue to allow them to ripple throughout our streets lead to these mass slaughters. high-capacity ammunition clips when somebody chooses to engage in one of these massacres allow more people to be killed and our failure over and over again to pass comprehensive background checks is unacceptable, given the number of criminals and the number of people with severe mental illness who are still allowed to get guns on the internet or in gun shows. six months and we've done nothing. but, you know, madam president i stand here, frankly more optimistic about human nature than i was six months ago not less optimistic. i might be less optimistic about this place about the united
states congress, but i am more optimistic about the indomitable human spirit than i was when this started out. senator blumenthal said it best. that ten minutes of grievous violence mental illness masquerading as evil inside that school was essentially enveloped by the millions of acts of humanity that just flowed forth from newtown from connecticut from all over the country whether it was the heroism of those teachers, whether it was the firefighters, the volunteer firefighters who stayed at that firehouse for days and weeks on end with no pay or just the thousands of gifts of teddy bears, of small tokens of appreciation of the community that came from all over the country. people are good. they really are. and despite what that young man did, it reaffirmed my faith in
who we are. last friday night the sandy hook fire department had their big annual fundraiser, and some people wondered why they would do it. first of all they said they were going to do it because they weren't going to start changing the way that they did things, and second, they needed the money because they have expended a lot of effort and equipment and resources in responding to this tragedy. well on friday, we had an absolute deluge in new england. it was just raining cats and dogs all day. there was no reason why they should have gone forward on friday night with that lobster bake at the sandy hook firehouse. but they decided to put it on, and i went, despite thinking that there was going to be about six people inside that firehouse. it was packed jammed full of people. not just from newtown but from all over new england who came down on a torrentially rainy evening to show their support for those firefighters, for that community and for those
families. that's what defines newtown. six months later, we know the headlines still read about the 26 kids and adults who lost their lives there but what we know newtown to be today is a place full of love, full of compassion, and although not maybe today yet a place that will a year, five years ten years down the line be defined by resiliency. so, madam president i wish we weren't down here commemorating six months. i wish we weren't down here commemorating nothing having been done over the course of six months but we are not going away. we are not giving up. the families that were down here this week didn't turn into advocates for four months; they
turned into advocates for 40 years. and they will be back again and again and again until we have an answer for these mass tragedies and for the 5,033 people who have died at the hands of guns since december 14, six months ago. mr. president, i yield back the floor. the presiding officer: who seeks recognition? who seeks recognition? the senator from connecticut -- mr. murphy: i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: thank you so much. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mccain: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and that i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection, and the senator is recognized. mr. mccain: first of all, i would like to thank the chair the distinguished senator from delaware who not only an outstanding member of the senate but as chairman of the homeland security committee has gone out
of his way to understand the issues that we face when we are addressing border security. the chairman was kind enough to visit the border between arizona and senora, mexico spent a lot of time with us and with the people who are entrusted to do so, and he made some remarks that i think were entirely accurate about the challenges we face in enforcing our borders. so i again want to thank the distinguished chairman of the homeland security committee. i'd like to address today a few aspects of the issue of comprehensive immigration reform that we are -- that need to be discussed. first of all everybody says -- and i say it, too -- we don't want to return to 1986. that in 1986, that we guaranteed the american people that we would secure the border and it would never happen again. well, the fact is when we look
at what we did in 1986 -- and i will first of all plead guilty for having voted for it -- the only -- the only mandate in the entire legislation which gave -- quote -- "amnesty" to 3 million people -- and i quote -- "of the amounts authorized to be appropriated under paragraph 1 sufficient funds shall be available to provide for an increase in the border patrol personnel of the immigration and naturalization service so that the average level of such personnel in each of the fiscal years 1987, 1988 is at least 50% higher than such level for fiscal year 1986." now, let me translate that meaning for you. it meant that we would increase the border patrol. that was the only mention of how we were going to secure the border after we gave amnesty in 1986. and at that time, my dear friends, it calls as i mentioned got to be 50% higher.
the border patrol has to be 50% higher. well, do you know what that number was than it had to be higher than? that number of the border patrol in 1986 was 4,000. 4,000. now we have 21,000. so i think it -- so there was really nothing in the 1986 bill about fencing about censors about other ways to -- to get our border secure. and so we learned from that. we learned from that. and this legislation that recently passed through the judiciary committee is now on the floor this bill as compared with 1986, where they said they would increase the numbers of border patrol by 50% this legislation says, it appropriates $3 billion in funding for the comprehensive southern border security strategy. no one who is in r.p.i. status will be able to petition for a
green card until requirements are fulfilled. the following -- everify in use by all employers and an entry-exit in place. $150 billion for additional funding for southern border fencing strategy that has to be submitted within 180 days of submit -- of passage of this legislation signed by the president. it sets a goal of 90% effectiveness rate for all southern border states. if that goal is not reached within five years there will be a bipartisan commission be formed and authorized to spend $2 billion in additional funds to secure the border. it will add an additional 3,500 customs and border patrol agents. remember in 1986, there was a total of 4,000. it will authorize the national guard to provide assistance along the border if requested. the national guard has had tremendous success on our border
border. no they don't carry weapons but they do do incredibly important work. and i'm glad they don't carry weapons, to tell you the truth. four additional border patrol stations and forward operating bases. increase in a thing called operation stone garden, which is vital, in my view, in disincentivizing people to be -- more frequent border crossings. strengthens the border control training. it increases the prosecutions in the tucson sector. why do i mention the tucson sector? not because i'm from the state of arizona but because the tucson sector for years has been a major thoroughfare for both people and drugs. it provides money to incarcerate criminals and unauthorized illegal immigrants. grants to homeland security
access to federal lands that. is a problem with our border where we have an indian reservation on the border. they are sovereign nations and this will authorize a greater ability for us to have access to their lands. they're wildlife refuge as that we need access to as well. it removes the discretion from the secretary of homeland security to develop the southern border strategy and provide minimum requirements that are recommended by the border patrol. those are the people on the ground. these are the people that today in 120-degree heat in the sonoro arizona border are sitting in vehicles and patrolling our border to keep our -- our nation secure. and -- and it's -- this is recommended by them. it must be included in the strategy that we want to achieve and must achieve 100% situational awareness of each and every one-mile segment of the southern border.
the technology list will include, but is not limited to, sector-by-sector requirements, integrated fixed towers, radar systems. these radars track people back from where they came from. unmanned aerial systems -- ie. what we know of as drones -- fixed cameras mobile surveillance systems ground censors, handheld thermal imaging systems infrared cameras, thermal imaging cameras, license plate readers radiation detection systems. all of these are part of this legislation and the billions of dollars that we're going to spend to improve border security security, and we all admit that the border is more secure. but where i disagree with the secretary of homeland security is it is not secure enough. so we want to prevent the adjustment of status from r.p.i. -- that's registered -- the legal status for people who will be granted once the passage of this bill is achieved --
until that strategy is deployed and operational. deployed and operational. this is just to achieve a legal status in this country. remove -- also the technology list, before anybody can adjust from the r.p.i. to green card status. it removes the sole discretion from the department of homeland security to certify the strategy is complete. it requires written third-party certification of the president and congress that affirms the elements required by the strategy are operational and capable of achieving effective control of the border. with these tools in place we can achieve situational awareness and be guaranteed this technology is deployed and working along the border. so i say to my friends who say that we are not having sufficient provisions for border security we will be glad to do
more. but let's look at this. look at what we are doing billions of dollars of technology as well as additional people as long as other measures, including the everify, which is the magnet that draws people to this country is jobs. and if the word is out that unless an everify is in operation, that unless you can get a job in this country you're not going to come here unless it's through a legal means and not through illegal means. and we are a nation of immigrants. and i'd remind my colleagues again, 40% of the people who are in this country illegally did not cross our border. they came on a visa that expired expired. so we need to have footprints and other physical evidence of illegal crossing. it's a tool for border patrol agents to identify and locate illegal border crossers. but it's imprecise and that's why we need to have this technology, so we can surveil
and have situational awareness of the entire border. in terms -- according to the general accounting office an organization that all of us over time begin to rely on enormously, i quote from them -- "in terms of collecting data, border patrol officials reported that sectors rely on a different mix of cameras sign cutting" -- that's tracking footprints -- "visual observation identify and report the number of turnbacks and gotaways. turn backs are those you catch and turn back and gotaways are those you see come across and do not apprehend. according to border patrol officials, the ability to obtain accurate or consistent data using these identification sources depends on various factors such as terrain and weather. for example data on turnbacks and getaways may be understated in areas with rugged mountains and steep canyons that can hinder detection of illegal entries. in other cases data may be overstated. for example in cases where the
same turnback identified by a camera is also identified by tracks. double-counting may also occur when agents in one zone record as a gotaway an individual who is apprehended and then reported as an apprehension in another zone. as a result of these data limitations, border patrol headquarters officials said that while they consider turnback and gotaway data sufficiently reliable to assess each sector's progress towards border security and to inform sector decisions regarding resource deployment they do not consider the data sufficiently reliable to compare or externally report results across sectors. that's why we need this technology. now, mr. president, i want to point out that from the border patrol not from the department of homeland security i got a detailed list of what they believe is necessary using their experience, as to the specific equipment and capabilities that they need on
each of the nine sectors of the border. for example, in the arizona sectors, yuma and tucson, we need 50 fixed towers, we need 73 fixed camera systems 28 mobile surveillance systems 685 unattended ground censors 22 handheld equipment devices 11 nonintrusive inspection systems seven fiber -- the list goes on. it is a specific list of what the border patrol believes in each of the nine sectors on our southern border in order to give us 100% situational awareness and put us on the path to 90% effective control of the border. so i say to my friends who say that we cannot control our border, i believe -- i respectfully disagree because of what we are doing in this legislation. and those who say that we're unable to keep track of what goes on on our border, i would
argue that the minimum requirements that to be included in the southern border security strategy as provided by the homeland security -- by the border patrol is -- i think should convince anyone of what we need. and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that these minimum requirements be included in the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: and i just for a moment mr. president i see my distinguished friend from vermont who's always worth listening to on the floor so i will be -- i will be brief except that i want to share with our -- with our colleagues another aspect of this problem that we really have not talked about very much and that is the issue of drugs. drugs are a problem in this country of enormous proportions. i think when you see the effects of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and others and the devastating effects they have, it is incredible -- doing
incredible damage to our nation and particularly to our young people. now, this is a document called the arizona high-intensity drug trafficking area, the threat assessment of 2013. now, i'm not going to go into a lot of the details but there are some stark facts about the flow of drugs across our southern border that should disturb all of us. and i quote -- "in tucson and phoenix areas remain the primary distribution hubs for ton quantities of marijuana in the southwest region." ton quantities of marijuana in the southwest region. as tucson and phoenix based sources sell throughout the united states. in other words the drugs come up across the arizona sonoro border. they are tracked by guides on mountaintops and into phoenix and from phoenix arizona, they are distributed throughout the country. the phoenix field d.e.a., drug
enforcement agency, phoenix field's division by annual drug price list for 2012 indicate -- indicates marijuana prices in the tucson and phoenix metropolitan areas remain stable during the period january 2011 to 2012. why is that important? because the only real indication as to whether you are reducing a supply is the price of that supply. so when you see that the price of marijuana in phoenix and tucson is exactly what it was for the entire year, no matter what you see on the papers and on television of these large apprehensions, unless the price is going up, then we are not apprehending these drugs. so i just want to mention a couple of other facts to my colleagues and why we are not i think sufficiently in this legislation probably not addressing the drug problem. the retail price of methamphetamine decreased in the phoenix area and now ranges from
$500 to $1,000 per ounce. if there is a terrible drug on the market today it has to be methamphetamine. i am told that one -- one -- ingestion of methamphetamine makes one an addict. and so what have we been able to do as far as methamphetamine? the retail price of methamphetamine decreased which obviously means that it is -- the supply is certainly not -- has certainly not been impacted. wholesale black tar heroin in arizona have remained stable or decreased slightly, including market stability. only 35% of the heita -- these are the high-intensity trafficking area -- respondents reported high cocaine availability in their respective jurisdictions. intelligence indicates cocaine price increases in mexico and arizona during the past year may have impacted the supply of
cocaine to the arizona drug market thus impacting other drug markets so that is good news. the price of a kilogram of cocaine increased $5,000 to $6,000 per kilogram in the phoenix area. my friends i would -- i know that my colleagues are very busy but i would at least have your staff read this threat assessment of 2013 in the state of arizona. and again i don't say that because i represent the state of arizona, but these same people, the drug enforcement agency will tell you still the bulk of illegal drugs crossing our southern border comes through the arizona-tucson sector. and so what's my recipe on this situation? frankly, mr. president, i don't know a real good recipe, because clearly demand is either stable
or on the rise in the united states of america depending on who you talk to, and some places in america the use of drugs is glamourized. in some places, it's kind of the sophisticated thing to do. i don't think there is any doubt that there are influences in the united states of america that increase the attractiveness of drugs to our citizens, and i'm not saying i know the answer, but i do think that as we address the issue of border security, we have to understand that if there is a demand for drugs in the streets of every major city in america, they will use ultralights, they will use submarines, they will use tunnels, they will do whatever is necessary in order to get that supply to where there is a market. i'll never forget being down in colombia where the people the government people there showed me a submarine that the drug cartel people had built. very sophisticated submarine. they hired engineers to build
it. it's one that travels underneath the water. not far but underneath the water. i said how much did it cost to build it? $5 million. i said that's a lot of money. the guy said they make $15 million in one load, in one load. so i'm not coming to this floor with a lot of answers but i am coming to the floor of this senate and saying that the drug issue in this country is a serious one and if anybody thinks that we are reducing the supply of those drugs i think the facts contradict that, and it's time we started seriously as a society addressing what is killing our young and old americans. so again i want to thank my colleagues for their consideration of this legislation. i really came to the floor to convince them that this is a far different situation from 1986. we have gone from 4,000 border agents to 21,000. we have put in all kinds of
barriers to the border, but most importantly as the president the senator from delaware, pointed out earlier today we now have technology that can surveil and interdict people from crossing our border. our challenge is to get it done. i thank my colleague from vermont for his patience, and i yield the floor. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you. and let me congratulate senator mccain on all of his hard work with the gang of eight and his focus on border security, which is an enormously important issue. mr. president, as the son of an immigrant, my dad came to this country at the age of 17 from poland. i strongly support the concept of immigration reform, and i applaud the judiciary committee and all of those people who have been working hard on this legislation. and there are a lot of provisions within this bill that
i think should be strongly supported by the american people. i strongly support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows and giving them legal status will make it more difficult among many other things, for employers to undercut the wages and benefits of all workers and will be good for our entire economy. a very, very important step forward. i strongly support the dream act to make sure that the children of illegal immigrants who are brought into this country by their parents years ago are allowed to become citizens. i strongly support providing legal status to foreign workers on family -- farms. dairy farmers in vermont and the owners of apple orchards in my
state have told me that without these workers they would go out of business, and that's obviously true in many, many parts of this country. we also need to make sure as senator mccain has just elaborated on, that our borders are more secure and prevent unscrupulous employers from hiring those who have come here illegally. all of those provisions are extremely important are included in the legislation passed out of the judiciary committee last week and are provisions that i support and i want to commend my colleague from vermont senator pat leahy for his leadership on those issues. but let me tell you mr. president, some of what concerns me very much about the bill as it presently stands. and that is that at a time when
nearly 20% of the american people do not have a full-time job, at a time when the middle class continues to disappear and at a time when tens of millions of americans are working longer hours for lower wages it makes no sense to me that the immigration reform bill includes a massive increase in temporary guest worker programs that will allow large corporations to import and bring into this country hundreds of thousands of temporary blue-collar and white-collar guest workers from overseas. that makes no sense to me at all. mr. president, i am particularly concerned that at a time when college is becoming increasingly unaffordable and every parent out there with a high school kid is worried about how that family is going to afford college for their kids, at a time when young people desperately need jobs to
pay for the -- to help pay for the cost of a college education this bill will make it more difficult for young americans to find the jobs that they need. mr. president, today youth unemployment is over 16% and the teen unemployment rate is over 25%. unfortunately, many of the jobs that used to be performed by young americans are now being done by foreign college students through the j-1 summer work travel program and the h-2-b guest worker programs. mr. president, millions of americans, including myself and i suspect many members of congress earned money when they were young at summer jobs or at part-time jobs when they were in college in order to pay for the
cost of college, and some of those people, some of americans today are working as waiters and waitresses, they are working as lifeguards, they are working as front desk clerks, as front desk clerks at hotels and resorts they are working as ski instructors as cooks chefs kitchen personnel chamber maids, landscapers and many other similar jobs, and there is nothing that any american has to be embarrassed about at working at any of those jobs or any other job in order to earn some income to pay the bills or to make some money in order to afford to go to college. there is nothing that anybody should be ashamed about doing that kind of work. what i worry about very much is the degree to which those jobs will be available for yuck americans as a result of the j-1 program and the h-2-b program. it pains me very deeply that
with minority unemployment extraordinarily high -- and i was just in detroit last week talking to kids who were working so hard and they are working for for $7.25 an hour at mcdonald's or other fast food places if they are lucky enough to get that work, and many of them would like to go to college but are unable to earn the money they need in order to go to college, and it seems to me terribly wrong that we have programs like this j-1 summer work travel program which brings students from all over the world into the united states to take jobs that young americans want to do. mr. president, the j-1 program for foreign college students is supposed to be, is supposed to be used as a cultural exchange program.
a program to bring young people into this country to learn about our way of life, our customs and to support international cooperation and understanding and those are extremely important goals. i believe in that -- i believed in that passionately when i was mayor of the city of burlington. we started sister city programs with towns around the world in order to develop that type of understanding and cooperation. that is the theory of what the j-1 program is supposed to be. and a wonderful goal it is. unfortunately, that is not what it is today. today the j-1 program has more more -- morphed into a low wage jobs program to allow corporations like hershey's and mcdonald's and many, many others to replace young american workers with cheaper labor from abroad. mr. president, each and every year companies from all over this country are hiring more
than 100,000 foreign college students in low wage jobs through the j-1 summer work travel program. unlike other guest worker programs the j-1 summer work travel program does not require businesses to recruit american workers for these positions offer jobs to willing and unable americans first or to pay prevailing wages. in other words if there are jobs out there that our young people would like to get in order to put aside a few bucks or help pay for the cost of a college education the employer is not obliged to reach out to these young americans. it is one thing for an employer to say look, i reached out tried to get some young people to do this job couldn't find them i had to go abroad. i can understand that, but that is not the requirement of this
j-1 program. mr. president, let me just read from a web site of a foreign labor recruiter touting the benefits of using the j-1 summer work travel program to employers in the united states. this web site is called joboffer.org. this is one as i understand it, of many, but here is what it says, and i quote from the web site joboffer.org. and this is going to employers who need unskilled workers for the summer. quote -- "whether you are running an amusement park, a water park, a concessions stand a golf course, a circus, a zoo or anything elsewhere people come to enjoy themselves, it's a great idea not to miss the opportunities of the season and hire international seasonal
workers to cover your growing staffing needs. international seasonal workers. joboffer.org has experience in matching candidates from foreign exchange students with amusement firms all over the u.s.a., covering every type of entry level position you may want to cover with seasonal staffing. the work and travel u.s.a. program allows exchange students from abroad to work in the u.s. for up to four months during the buzz season under a j-1 visa. joboffer.org is committed to understanding your needs as an amusement business and handling all seasonal staffing procedures for you at absolutely no cost. check out the list of positions typically filled with international exchange students. end of quote.
now, what this web site is doing is telling employers in this case, they are just focusing on amusement parks but obviously it goes much beyond that into all kinds of resorts many, many other areas but what they are simply saying is that we need unskilled labor. now one knows that historically in this country that is what young people did. when you're in high school, when you're in college you're trying make a few bucks you go out and get a summer job and maybe you can earn a couple a thousand dollars, and maybe it starts you on a career or maybe it's money to put aside to go to college. i did it. many many members of the senate do t and millionsdo it. and millions of young people in this country want to do it. and now what these companies are saying is, you don't need to hire kids in your community anymore. you don't have to reach out to minority kids who desperately need a job the kids in vermont
who want to put aside a few bucks to go to college. you don't need to do that anymore. we will help you bring young people from all over the world to help you do these jobs. one of the arguments we hear on the floor is that we need highly skilled workers because high-tech companies just can't attract the scientists and the engineers and the physicists and the mathematicians they need. and when we bring them in, these guys are going to help create jobs in america. maybe -- that's a whole other issue for discussion. but nobody can tell me that we need to bring young people from all over the world to work at entry-level jobs because there are not young americans who want to do that job, with the unemployment rate for young people in this country being extraordinarily high. nobody with a straight face can make that claim. and here are some of the jobs being advertised on this very same web site -- and there are
many web sites like it. this one focuses on jocks within the amusement industry. ride operate,attendants, game operators, food service -- flipping hamburgers -- lifeguards. i guess we have to young people in america who are capable of being lifeguards, nobody in america can swim a understand get a job as a lifeguard. i guess we need to bring people from all over the world to be lifeguards. guest relations admissions, security games and attractions merchandise, grounds quality season pass processor entertainment, wardrobe, warehouse, safari gate keepers and war against parking lot attendants. yea, i guess nobody in america can be a parking lot attendant. landscape, cash control. and here's the interesting point. the web site, after mentioning all of these jobs specific to the amusement industry they ask
the following questions: what happens -- interesting question -- what happens when you use seasonal employment for your theme or amusement park? and here is the answer this foreign labor recruiter gives on their web site: you cover your seasonal staffing needs with young highly motivated, english-speaking international staff from 18 to 28 years old and cut costs by paying fewer taxes. got that? you can bring in international workers -- students from abroad -- and one of the advantages that you'll have is you pay lower taxes on that foreign worker than you do for an american worker.
in fact, mr. president under the j-1 summer work travel program, employers do not have to pay medicare, social security and unemployment taxes, which amounts to a payroll savings of about 8.45% per employee. what a bargain. so we're enticing -- we are giving an incentive to a company to bring foreign workers into this country and saving them money by hiring foreign workers at the expense of young americans who certainly could do those jobs. under the j-1 program employers do not have to pay social security and medicare payroll taxes. they don't have to pay unemployment taxes. they don't have to offer jobs to americans first. they don't have to pay wages that are comparable to what american workers make. what employer in america would want to hire a young american as a lifeguard or a ski instructor or a waiter or a waitress or any
other low-skilled job when they can hire a foreign college student instead at a significant reduction in cost? mr. president, i understand that the immigration reform bill that we are debating reforms this program by requiring foreign labor recruiters to pay a $500 fee for every foreign college student they bring in this country. right now foreign college students bear all of these costs. but, in my opinion mr. president, that is not good enough. this program is a real disservice to the young people in this country. i believe again in cultural exchanges. i would put a lot more money into cultural exchanges so that our young people could go abroad so that young people from all over the world could attend our high schools. that would be a great thing. but that is not what this j-1 program is. it is a program which is displacing young american workers at a time of
double-digit unemployment among youth, and it is putting downward pressure on wages at a time when the american people are in many cases working longer hours for lower wages. in my opinion this particular program should be abolished. cultural program yes. but bringing in young people to take jobs from young americans no. but, mr. president, at the very least, if we're not going to abolish this program, we need to make sure that we have a comparable summer and year-round jobs program for our young people in order to help them pay for college and to move up the economic ladder. at the very least, that is what should be in this bill. that is why i will be filing an amendment today to the immigration reform bill to create a youth jobs program. my amendment would provide states with $1.5 billion in immediate funding to support a
two-year summer and year-round jobs program for low-income youth and economically disadvantaged young adults. this amendment is modeled on the summer and year-round youth jobs program included in president obama's american jobs act. this amendment would build on the successes from the american recovery and reinvestment act which provided $1.2 billion in funding for the wia youth programs. this program created over 374,000 summer job opportunities during 2009 and 2010, the young americans who desperately needed those jobs. and this amendment in fact would create even more jobs. mr. president, let me be very clear. the same corporations and businesses that support a massive expansion in guest worker programs are opposed to raising the minimum wage, they
have long supported the outsourcing of american jobs, they have reduced the wages and benefits of american workers at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high. in too many cases the h-2b program for lower-skilled guest workers and the h-1b program for high-skilled guest workers are being used by employers to drive down the wages and benefits of american workers and to place american workers with cheap labor from abroad. the immigration reform bill that passed the senate judiciary committee could increase the number of low-skilled guest workers by as much as 800% over the next five years and could more than triple the number of temporary white-collar guest workers coming into this country. and that is the basic issue a understand that is my basic -- and that is my basic concern. at a time when unemployment is so high, does it really make a
whole lot of sense to be bringing in hundreds of thousands of workers from all over the world into this country to fill jobs that american workers desperately need? mr. president, the high-tech industry tells us that they need the h-1b program so that they can hire the best and the brightest science technology, engineering, and math workers in the world and that there just aren't enough qualified american workers in these fields. in some cases i think that that is true. i think there are some companies in some parts of the country that are unable to attract american workers to do the jobs that are needed, and i believe that in those instances corporations should have the right to bring in foreign workers so that the corporation can do the business that it's supposed to be doing. but, having said that let me also tell you some facts. in 2010, 54% of the h-1b guest
workers were employed in entry-level jobs and performed -- and i quote -- "routine tasks requiring limited judgment" -- end of quote -- according to the government accountability office. routine tasks. so when a lot of my friends here talk about high-tech workers they are talking about scientists they're talking about all of these guys that are going to create jobs. but that is not necessarily the case. only 6% of h-1b visas were given to workers with highly specialized skills in 2010, according to the g.a.o. more than 80% of h-1b guest workers are paid wages that are less than american workers in comparable positions according to the economic policy institute. over 9 million americans have degrees in a stem-related field but only about 3 million have a job in one. last year the top ten employers of h-1b guest workers were all
offshore outsourcing companies. these firms are responsible for shipping large numbers of american information technology scwoobsjobs to india and other countries. half of all colleges graduates majoring from computer and information science in the united states did not receive jobs in the information technology sector. so mr. president, it seems to me that this is an issue we have got to deal with, and the second amendment that i will be filing today is with senators grassley and harkin, and that would -- that amendment would prohibit companies that have announced mass layoffs over the past year from hiring guest workers unless these companies can prove that their overall employment will not be reduced as a result of these mass layoffs. in other words what we are seeing is a very clear trend. large corporations are throwing american workers out on the street and they're bringing in
foreign workers to do those very same jobs. and many of these very same companies have moved parts of their corporate world away from the united states into third world countries. so this continues the attack on american workers and we must stop it. let me just give you a few examples, as i conclude my remarks. in 2012, packard announced it was laying off 30,000 workers at the same time it hired more than 660 h-1b guest workers. in 2010, cisco laid off 1,300 employees at this time it hired workers. yahoo hired more than 185 h-1b guest workers at the same time it amountainsed it was laying off over 2,000 workers.
research in motion hired 24 h-1b guest workers at the same time that it laid off over 5,000 people. so mr. president i think it makes no sense at all that corporations that are laying off american workers are now reaching into the h-1b program to bring in foreign workers. so let me simply conclude by saying this. there is much in this legislation that i support and that i believe the american people support but problems remain. problems remain. and the main problem to me is this guest worker concept which is being widely abused by employers throughout this country. at the very least, i want to see a summer jobs program for our kids who are now losing jobs because of the j-1 program. but we need to do even more than that. so mr. president i look forward to working with my colleagues who have worked so hard on this bill to make it a bill that all americans and all
working people can be supportive of. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president i ask unanimous consent to address senators as if in morning business and engage in a colloquy with the senator from south carolina. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president in just a couple of minutes the president of the united states will be announcing that it is now conclusive that bashar assad and the syrian butchers have used chemical weapons, which is, as we all know, a red line which the president of the united states announced that bashar assad cannot cross. now, assad has been very clever in using small amounts rather than large amounts but the fact
is now we are not the first country to conclude that the assad regime has used chemical weapons in their attacks on the population of syria. the president also will announce that we will be assisting the syrian rebels in syria by providing them with weapons and other assistance. i applaud the president's decision. 93,000 people dead later over 1 million refugees, the countries in the surrounding region erupting into sectarian violence the clear spreading of this conflict into a regional conflict. sunni, shia, saudi iran russia russia -- all major