tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 18, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT
the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, last week, i previewed an amendment that i will be offering hopefully as early as this afternoon on the underlying immigration bill. this is an amendment which the democratic majority leader and at least one or two other members of the senate have called a poison pill. i find that somewhat bizarre, especially in light of what others have said about this amendment which i'll talk about briefly, and it strikes me as unusual that any time anyone offers a different idea by way of an amendment that people don't like, they call it a poison pill, as if that was the only option. you either take it without the amendment or you accept the amendment and it kills the legislation. well, we know the truth is far
different, and in fact several members of the so-called gang of eight that have been very much involved in negotiating the underlying bill have different opinions, which actually i find somewhat refreshing but not all that surprising. senator flake, for example, from arizona said i don't think it's a poison pill on june 12. senator rubio said of my results amendment, it's an excellent place to start. i'm grateful for their comments. and senator bennet, a senator from colorado on the other side of the aisle and senator flake argued that they aren't afraid of adding a requirement to nab 90% of would-be border crossers. that was at a "christian science monitor" breakfast on june 12. senator bennet went on to say i have every confidence that we're going to meet the mark well before the ten years. he said that on june 12 as well.
so the interesting thing about this discussion is the very same measurement or standard that's in my amendment actually comes from the bill that was introduced by the gang of eight. 100% situational awareness of the border and a 90% apprehension rate. all my amendment did is to say okay, you set the standard but we're going to make sure that the federal government actually keeps its promises because unfortunately the history is littered, recent history in particular with broken promises by the federal government particularly when it comes to immigration. my amendment is necessary, my results amendment which i will describe further is necessary because in its current form, the underlying bill does not include a genuine border security trigger.
you don't have to take my word for it. last week, the assistant democratic leader, senator durbin of illinois, himself said quite explicitly that while the original proposal, as he described it, in january, 2013, he said a pathway to citizenship needs to be contingent upon securing the border. he said that in the context of the bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform. but later on, he was quoted in "the national journal" on june june 11 saying the gang has delinked the pathway to citizenship and border enforcement. well, the bill that's being sold today delinks the pathway to citizenship and border enforcement, and my amendment would re-establish the very same linkage that the gang themselves
trumpeted in january, 2013. so i think this is a remarkable admission that the current bill delinks the pathway to citizenship and border security. i think most members of the senate believe that whatever we do in terms of the status of people who are currently here and undocumented status, that one thing we have to do is to make sure that we don't ever deal with this issue again by failing to deal sensibly, responsibly with border security and enforcement. so basically, the approach of the proponents of the underlying bill as currently written before my amendment is trust us. trust us. well, i have to say that you don't have to be a pollster to know that there is not an awful lot of trust toward washington
and the congress and the federal government, and it's easy to understand why with all of the various scandals or things that have been represented one way that turn out to be another way. there is a trust deficit here in washington, d.c. and for those of us who believe that doing nothing on immigration reform is not an option, what i would like to do is to do something to make things better, but in order to get there, we're going to have to guarantee that the border security and the interior enforcement provisions and the re-establishment of basic order to our broken immigration system is accomplished in this bill. otherwise, it's not going to happen. so in the words of ronald reagan, i think we should ask people to trust but we should also verify that that trust is justified. i'm not sure some of my
colleagues appreciate just how essential immigration reform or border security is to immigration reform. for the past three decades, the american people have been given one hallow promise after another about the federal government's commitment to secure our borders. the rhetoric from washington has been impressive, but the results have been pathetic. the reality on the ground in texas and in other border states have been quite different. let me put it this way. a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 americans in new york, the department of homeland security has gained operational control of less than 45% of our southern border, 45%. secretary of homeland security said the border is secure. the president said it is more
secure than it has ever been. 45% secure. for that matter, it's been more than a decade since the 9/11 commission recommended another important requirement that's contained in my amendment, which is a nationwide biometric entry-exit system. it's been 17 years since president clinton signed legislation mandating such a system. so we wonder why there has been such a lack of confidence and a trust deficit between the american people and washington when it comes to immigration reform and fixing our broken immigration system, it's because they have been sold one hollow promise after another. and yet we still don't have a biometric entry-exit system that president clinton signed into law 17 years ago. even though about half of
illegal immigration occurs when people come into the country legally and overstay their visa and simply melt into the great american landscape. that's where 40% of our illegal immigration comes from. and we're asking the american people to trust us again? mr. president, until congress acknowledges our credibility problem, when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws, including border security, and until such time as we take serious action to fix it, we're never going to get true immigration reform, and we will never be able to pat ourselves on the back and say you know what? this is not going to happen again. my amendment goes beyond mere promises and platitudes. it demands results and it creates a mechanism for ensuring
them. under my amendment, probationary immigrants are not eligible for legalization until after the u.s.-mexico border has been secured and until after we have a nationwide biometric entry-exit system at all airports and seaports and after we have a nationwide everify which allows employers to verify the eligibility of individuals who apply for jobs to work legally in the country. now, that is what a real border security trigger looks like, and that's why it's so important, because we need to incentivize everybody who cares passionately about border security and restoring the rule of law to our broken immigration system on one hand and those who on the other hand who more than anything else want an opportunity for people
to eventually become american citizens, even if they have entered the country illegally after they have paid a fine and proceeded down a tough but fair path to citizenship. what we need to do is incentivize the executive branch, the legislative branch and the entire bureaucracy to make sure that we guarantee that those will happen, and this is the only way i know of to do it. unfortunately, many of our colleagues don't want a real trigger when it comes to border security. above all, they want a pathway to citizenship, and i'm not convinced beyond that they have much concern for whether we keep our promises with regard to border security. they are hoping that once again, once again the american people will put their faith in empty promises, but the time for empty promises is over when it comes to our broken immigration system. if we're ever going to push
immigration reform across the finish line, which i want to do, we need to guarantee results, and my amendment does that. i would contend, mr. president, that rather than my amendment being the poison pill, the failure to pass a credible provision ensuring border security and interior enforcement, that will be the poison pill that causes immigration reform to die. that is not a result that i want. i want us to see a solution. i do not want the status quo because the status quo is broken. it serves no one's best interests. so i am just amazed at some of my colleagues who are resisting this amendment. why won't they take yes for an answer? why won't they take yes for an answer on something that unites republicans and democrats who
are actually desperately interested in finding a solution and believe the status quo is simply unacceptable? as i have repeatedly emphasized, my amendment simply uses the same border security standards as the underlying gang of eight bill. they're the ones that came up with the standard for 100% situational awareness, they are the ones who came up with a 90% apprehension rate, but their bill reiterates a promise but guarantees no results. we've had 27 years of input since the 1986 amnesty and we still don't have secure borders, and now it's beyond time to guarantee, not just for promises or inputs, but real outputs. mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent for an additional two minutes. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. cornyn: i thank the chair. the latest data show that the u.s. authorities apprehended about 190,000 people along the u.s.-mexico border between october of last year and march of this year. given that we apprehend fewer than half of illegal border crossers, this means we still have hundreds of thousands of people coming into the country across our southern border every year, and the problem, it won't surprise you, is particularly serious in my state because we have the largest common border with mexico, 1,200 miles. as "the new york times" reported this last weekend, the front line in the battle against illegal crossings from mexico has shifted for the first time in a decade away from arizona to the rio grande valley of south texas. indeed, on one day in the rio grande valley sector, the border patrol detained 700 people coming across the border. 400 of them were from countries
other than mexico. 400 of them. during the fiscal year which began last october, the number of apprehensions in south texas has increased by 55%, with more than 94,000 apprehensions just in the rio grande valley. i was in south texas a few weeks ago meeting with property owners, ranchers, law enforcement officials and others deeply concerned about the rising tide of illegal immigration. not only is this a national security issue because people are coming from countries other than mexico, including countries that are of special concern because they are state sponsors of terrorism, this is also a major humanitarian issue. in brooks county last year, 129 bodies were found, people coming across ranch land after suffering from exposure because they have come from central america, they have come from china, they have come from the middle east, they have come from
all over the country, and we have seen a sharp increase in the number of people who die because they are trying to navigate our broken immigration system. one final point about immigration reform. whatever legislation we pass in this chamber will necessarily have to go to the house of representatives. if we want the senate bill to have any chance of passing in the house and becoming law, we need to include real border security measures and a real border security trigger. our house colleagues have made that abundantly clear. in other words, my amendment, mr. president, is not a poison pill. it's the antidote because it's the only way we're ever going to truly have bipartisan immigration reform. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: i ask unanimous consent that i be allocated
eight minutes and that the remaining democratic time be understand control of the senator from connecticut, senator murphy. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to add my support to s. 744, the comprehensive immigration bill that we have been debating over the past week. i first want to thank the eight senators who came together to draft this bipartisan bill. they've done an extraordinary job and i want to particularly thank senator leahy for his brilliant leadership as chairman of the judiciary committee. immigration reform is an important part of that -- that for far too long has been left unaddressed. we agree the current system is broken. the bill before us is a realistic approach to fixing this broken system and that's better tharn continuing the failed status quo. i've belonglong been an advocate for immigration reform that is tough but also fair and standing here addressing my colleagues urging immigration reform, i cannot help but remember the 2006 and 2007 immigration
debates and the many calls to pass immigration reform during that time and since that time. today, six years later, we still not have passed needed reform, responded to the overwhelming call to do so from the american people, and move our immigration system into the 21st century. today we once again have the chance to act and to pass comprehensive immigration reform. this bill includes strong border security measures to better protect our national security and to ensure that those trying to come to the united states for better opportunities do so legally. it calls for persistent surveillance of the entire border and for apprehension of 90% of the illegal entries and makes an investment in infrastructure and technology that we need to meet these tough goals. the secretary of homeland security would be required to submit a comprehensive border security strategy and a fencing
strategy before the 11 million immigrants waiting in the shadows can even begin the very tough but fair earned path to citizenship. this rigorous path includes criminal background and national security checks, paying fines, fees and taxes, learnings civics and english and going to the back of the immigration waiting line. the bill before us improves work site enforcement to better protect all workers and wages and makes changes to our immigration system that will help us retain the bright and talented leaders of tomorrow and reduce backlogs and inefficiencies. as we continue this debate, i am hope thankful the senate will have the opportunity to consider three amendments that i have filed. in the 1990's, liberian refugees fled a civil war that displaced more than half the population. since then these individuals have been granted temporary
protective status for deferred enforcement departure granted by the administration because the conditions in their home country of liberia were too dangerous for them to return. many of these individuals have now been legally residing, legally residing in our country for more than 20 years, paying taxes, holding jobs, being part of the community. amendment number 1224 would clarify one aspect of the merit-based two-track system ensuring that it makes eligible these liberians and others who were granted t.p.s. or d.e.d. due to dangerous or inss who hospitable conditions in their home countries and meet the ten-year recipe requirement for alien workers. this bill intended to include these populations. however the long-term alien section uses a term -- quote -- "lawfully present" and since this term is not defined by statute it could be subject to interpretation these liberians and others in similar situations could be inadvertently excluded
from this track. the intention was always to include them. i ask my colleagues to work with me to correct this so these deserving individuals who four different presidents have supported are not left behind on a technicality. a second amendment, number 1223, recognizes the long-standing role that libraries have played in helping new americans learn english, american civics and intergreat into our local communities. it ensures thee thnt company -- they continue to have a voice. the libraries are cornerstones of all sorts of educational activities. according to the institute of new mexico miewm and library services, more than 55% of new americans use the public library once a week. they offer learning opportunities in a trusted environment and we have to recognize the are vital importance of libraries as we ask these individuals to come forward to learn english, to
learn civics, to learn the skills that are so required to participate fully in the life of the american people. this amendment expands on the recent partnership we've developed with libraries so they remain a keystone and a resource for new americans. it would add the imls as a member of the task force on new americans to help direct integration policy and clarify the role that libraries will continue to play in facilitating these services. i've also filed an amendment with senators schumer and casey, 1223, that would upgrade the immigration bar on ex patriot rtd rathd -- ex patriot rat tax dodgers. i offered an amendment that would prohibit citizens to renounced their citizenship from reentering the united states. i was prompted to act after hearing about a raft of wealthy citizens that gave up their citizenship to avoid paying
taxes but would obtain reentry to the united states very easily and continue to live their lives as americans even though they were for tax purposes foreigners. one of the more egregious was kenneth dart, a billionaire who in the early 1990's renounced his american citizenship to avoid paying u.s. taxes, became a citizen of belize and then was appointed by the government of belize to be a counselor officer in sarasota, florida, mr. dart's hometown. this ruse and other ruses like it must be stopped. my amendment would make it clear that the immigration service must stop this flouting of the status of avoiding taxes by changing citizenship. mr. president, i look forward to action on these amendments during this debate. this is an important debate. indeed, the strong bipartisan vote that brought us to this moment procedurally captures the overwhelming recognition we need to fix the system. we need to move forward.
this is a situation we have a bipartisan bill that has overwhelming support in the united states. we must move it forward, amend it appropriately as i've suggested, pass it, and then send it to the house with the hope and the expectation that the president will sign this bill, opening up a new era in this country for millions and millions who seek to be americans. with that mr. chairman -- mr. president, rather, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, there is so much good flowing through the veins of this country. we are by and large a compassionate, just people and it hurts us deeply to see pain
and suffering in places that don't enjoy the relative safety and security of america. and we are today more so than ever before a powerful people with one remaining superpower with a moit that dwarfs all others, a record of throwing our weight around all corners of the globe. mixed correctly, this combination of goodness and power can be transformational. it can lighten the loads of oppressed people, it can cure diseases. but there is one fatal trap that comes with these defining cairk particulars of 21st century america, a tripwire that has ensnared our nation too many times. this is the belief there are no limits to what this combination of goodness and power can achieve. in a word, that trap is hubris. mr. president, i rise today because i fear that we are on a the verge of falling into this trap once again. in april, mr. president, you
and i as well as several other members of the senate and the house visited the refuse few he gee camps along the borderer of syria. they were set up to shelter syrian families fleeing the blood and carnage of that country's civil war. it's not a place i wanted to stay another hour. we met a girl who had her face scarred by a syrian rocket attack, met an orphan boy whose parents were felled by the ruthless tactics of bashar al-assad. you didn't immediate knead to spend more than 0010 minutes to be deeply moved by the case of the refugees. syria is of immense strategic importance to the united states. the assad regime has been a thorn in our side for years and his refusal to step down has created a bloody conflict that is destabilizing a region that is critical to our national security interests.
even worse, the fight has drawn in islamist groups affiliated with al qaeda and a failure to root out their presence threatens to hand them a new base of operation with which to plot attacks against americans. so it's easy to see why american intervention is so attempting. why -- tempting. a humanitarian crisis, a strategic interest, a uniquely american blend of goodness and power tells us we can, we must try to make things better. but here's the rub: it is not enough for there to be a will. there also has to be a way. and, mr. president, today in syria i do not believe that there is that way. and i do not believe this congress should give the president the ability to escalate america's role in the syrian conflict without a clear set of goals and a clear sense that we can achieve these goals. so let's start with the odds attached to our first
objective, overthrowing bashar al-assad. the unfortunate reality is the momentum is with the assad regime. with the help of hezbollah and a senior iranian commander, assad has driven the rebels from the key town and his forces are battering the rebels' positions in aleppo. american weapons are not enough to change this reality and chile antitank and antiaircraft weapons along with armored vehicles could give the advantage to the opposition this would frankly invite another more sinister problem. the syrian opposition is an interlocking, sometimes independently operating force. our favored faction is the free syrian but they are currently far from the most effective fighting force of the opposition. today the most yective unit is an islamist extremist groups
with ties to al qaeda. if we give heavy weaponry to the f.s.a. there is no way to guarantee these weapons will not find their way to a group that represents the very movement we are fighting across the globe. in fact, we've been down this road before. in the 1980's we gave weapons to the mujahideen in afghanistan, freedom fighters that we supported in their war against the soviets. of course, as we all know, after kicking out the soviets those firefighters later formed -- fighters formed the foundation of the taliban providing the staging ground for al qaeda's plans against the united states. so then let's take our second objective. even if we are successful in toppling assad, it matters to us greatly who takes the reins of syria next. i can't imagine we are getting into this fight just to turn the country over to the front, or another iranian or russian-backed regime. if we care about which regime comes next and we should, we need to admit we aren't
intervening in syria for the short run. we're in for the long haul. why? because as we all learned in history class these upheavals run a pretty predictable course. first the revolution and then there is the civil war. iran, nor russia will allow a u.s.-backed free syrian army to simply stand up a new government and certainly the extremist groups are not going to do the lion's share of the early fighting and then just walk away with no role in the new government. then we've got to admit that we are in the medium and in the long term deciding to arm one side of what promises to be a very complicated multifront, heavily proxied civil war. one may say there is an interest to negotiate the logistics of the second conflict. to that i would ask what is the evidence we've ever gotten this type reason right -- tightrope right in the past? america is pretty miserable of
pulling the strings of middle eastern politics. in afghanistan many experts think we we leave the place will look pretty much like it did before we got there. if we can't effect chings with tens of thousands of troops how can we do it with just guns and cash? there is a risk our assistance could actually make things worse. won't it embolden the iranians or russians or extremists to fight harder against the new regime if they know they are backed by american money and arms? as we saw in our disastrous occupation of iraq, american presence often attracts extremists, not repels them. our money and our arms, they become bulletin board material for extremist groups around the globe. why would we want to help al qaeda's recruitment by putting a big red, white and blue target on damascus for years to come? the bottom line is this, mr. president -- not everywhere where there is an american interest is there also a reason for american military action. in syria, with a badly
splintered opposition, a potential nightmare follow-on civil war, i believe that the odds are slim that a u.s. military assistance will make the difference that the president believes that it will make. and i worry that our president -- our presence could harm, not advance our national security interests. there is, thankfully, another away. given the atrocities occurring within syria and the potential for further destabilization of the region, the united states cannot and should not just simply walk away from syria. we should dramatically increase our humanitarian aid, both inside and outside syria. we should help improve conditions at the refugee camps in turkey and jordan and help other nations bearing the burden of displaced persons, like lebanon and iraq, deal with the influx of people. put simply, we should concentrate our efforts on humanitarian help inside syria and on making sure the conflict doesn't spill out -- outside of syria's borders. and at the very least, our nation's role in syria deserves
a full debate in congress before america commits itself to a course of action with such potentially huge consequences for our national interests. according to published press reports, the administration has indicated that it does not intend to seek congressional approval before shipping arms to the free syrian army. at a time, i would note, with with some irony when the united states still officially recognizes the assad government. now, the foreign relations committee has done its work here and i commend chairman menendez. we have had hearings. we have held a debate and a vote on a resolution. but now that the president has announced these new steps, it is incumbent upon the full senate to ask questions of the administration's short-term and long-term goals and to debate the consequences of american intervention fully. this is serious business and the american public deserves a full debate.
consent proceedings under the quorum call be suspended. and i aaddress the senate as if in morning business. and i want to thank the chair for his patience and allow me these few extra minutes and preventing him -- the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: -- and preventing him from enjoying a sumptuous we pass with his colleagues on the democratic side. i intend to speak until 1:00. 12:45. the presiding officer: you can speak as long as you like. mr. mccain: mr. president, i'll speak rather quickly. there's a lot to say about the immigration bill and obviously there are amendments that are pending. one, the thune amendment would delay the process of bringing people out of the shadows until 350 miles of double-layer fencing is complete. this could have the impact of delaying the process for years. i note with some interest that
the senator from texas, senator cornyn, believes that there's no more fencing required in the state of texas. and fencing is important. surveillance is more important. this bill alone does, as it is presently written, includes $1.5 billion of fencing for the southern border as a trigger to begin adjustment of status for those in r.p.i. status but it doesn't arbitrarily dictate the number of miles of double-layer fencing that should be built. i think we should leave that to the best judgment of the border patrol. and i would point out that back in 2007, the senators from texas added an amendment to an appropriations bill that said, "if the secretary determines the use or placement of resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border, we currently have 352 miles of
pedestrian fencing, 298 miles of vehicle fencing along the southern border, which is where the border patrol said that it's most effective. the vitter amendment has the same limitations and we agree and in the bill an exit-entry system is created and the bill mandates that before anyone receives a green card, an entry-exit system must be in place in all air and sea capabilities. i want to remind my colleagues that keep referring back to 1986 -- and i was around at that time -- there was no provision, real provision for border security there. there is provisions here. and i want to emphasize that we know exactly from the border patrol the technology that is needed in each sector in order to get 90% effect effective control of the border -- 90% effective control of the border and 100% situational awareness and these are detailed and
important technology, which is the real answer to border security. and i am confident, i am absolutely confident with the implementation of this technology-based border security systems, that we can absolutely guarantee the american people but more importantly the head of the border patrol -- and i'll have a statement from him by early this afternoon -- the head of the united states border patrol will say that if we implement the technology which they gave us the detailed list of, that he is confident that we can have 90% effective control of our border and 100% situational available -- situational awareness. i hope that my colleagues will pay attention, those who are concerned about border security and legitimately they are, i hope they will pay attention to the statement of the head of the
border patrol, who says unequivocally that if we adopt these specific enforcement capabilities and technology, that we will be able to have control of our border. that is an important item in this debate and it is incredible detail. we also in this legislation need to give them the flexibility where there's improved technology, et cetera. but those who think that we need more people -- we do need more people to facilitate movement across our ports of entry. but we have 21,000 border patr patrol. today there are, in the arizona-mexico border, there is people sitting in vehicles in 120-degree heat. what we need is not more people, because we've gone -- in 1986 we had 4,000 border patrol to
21,000, but what we need is the technology that has been developed in the intervening years. and i would be more than happy to say to my colleagues that if we have a provision that this strategy must be implemented and is providing 90% of border patrol -- border control, effective control, that that would serve as a trigger. i hope that my colleagues will reject the pending amendments, the vitter and thune amendment, and we will move on with the legislative process. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
>> the white house is reporting progress on president barack obama's initiative to reduce gun violence. vice president joe biden will announce today that the administration has completed or sixthly advancedded 21 of the 3 executive actions that obama ordered in january in response to the connecticut elementary school shooting that killed 21st graders and six staff members. see his comments live here on c -- c-span2 at 1:15 eastern.
>> it was essential to remove france from canada for the united states as it became, to have the opportunity to, to, achieve its independence. and the few people led by franklin recognized the possibilities for america to become a great country. let me put it from different words from what i said a moment ago. the american achievement, people of, 2 1/2 million free people, half a million slaves, for them in effect to get the british to evict the french from their borders and french help them evict the british, to manipulate the two biggest powers of the world was an astonishing achievement. >> conrad black on the emergence of the united states as world power. saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. part of booktv this weekend on c-span2.
>> and to think about, to think about the lives lost, the through the great battles before fred exdocto exdoctorburg -- fred dixburg, chancellorsville, we talk about antietam, we talk about shiloh, all these battles for people defending either what they think are slaves, all that, this contradiction, and, we won. we have our country. and i like to go to gettysburg to say to my folks, do we deserve this? do we deserve the sacrifice
for the country that we have and are we living up to it? >> the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg. live all day coverage from gettysburg national military park sunday, june 0th. 9:30 a.m., eastern on c-span3. >> over the weekend and state and local republican officials spoke about the immigration reform legislation now in congress. this panel discussion was moderated by university president carlos campo. this was part of the faith and freedom coalition at the j.w. marriott hotel in washington, d.c. this is about a half hour. [applause] >> good afternoon. welcome, great that you're here. there has been a lot stated in these past hours or so about colleges and universities across this
country. i want you to know that if you're losing faith in america's youth, we want you to pay a visit. it is 28 minutes away to regionent university and there you meet people like eric, brandon, members of the regent university conservative union. one of our panelists colleen holcomb and many others. don't lose heart. don't lose heart. you are about to here hear from opinion nellists immigration, dos and don't. one of the things i appreciate about it as a english professor many, many years, ago dos and don'ts imply as imperative. one a positive imperative and one a negative imperative. those agree wherever we stand on this issue it is imperative of absolute necessity. why did it become for me as a professor many years in the west and now in the east? immigration became personal. it had a face as i began to look into faces of young
people who said to me, i have nowhere to go. i'm graduating from high school. america is the only country i've ever known but now because of a system that is broken, a system that allowed for an unintend consequence that now had a face, his face looked not too different from mind and his name might have been carlos or jose or rafael or could have been a myriad of other names. i met students from cambodia, africa, mexico, el salavador and elsewhere. i said the system needs to be fixed. and the second imperative for me became as i began to hear the rhetoric regarding this issue. an important issue. as a christian person and person of faith i knew it was god's kindness that brought me to repentance. i knew when jesus had to travel to galilee and go through samaria, he did not do what other jews proverbally, have to have done, walk around samaria,
he walked to and through to a is a marian woman. a woman he did not judge by citizenship but judged her as a daughter and made her perhaps the most powerful evangelist of her time. you're about to meet other panelists, who feel passionately about this issue, the issue that needs discussion. we wanted time for some conversation. we hope you will join in the conversation. i heard something recently there is something to the magnitude of 40 to 60 amendments now to the bill being considered by congress. let's have a moment of prayer and silence just for that alone because these people need to discern well. this is not a issue of small magnitude for us. please, would you help me welcome our panelists today. here they come now. yes, here they come. let's welcome them. [applause] ♪ .
i'm going to first bring to the podium, representative steve montengero. steve and i met recently. he is second term in the arizona house of representatives. during the 51st legislature he will serve as chairman of house reform and services committee as member of the house commerce committee. please, let's welcome steve. [applause] >> hello, everyone. it is truly an honor for me to be here with a select and honorable group of people. thank you for having us. it is really is an honor. i have to tell you that i really, really enjoyed the panel that just, we just had on issue of life. i work with congressman trent franks and i actually would have loved to be in on that one myself but i get it. [laughter] i can tell you that, in arizona, we work tremendously on issue of life. i was sponsor of a bill that did away with sex selection abortions and race selection
abortions in arizona. there are different states that do just one component. we're the first state that did both of those. and so it is signed into the law. we're getting sued by the aclu. i think that is a badge of honor so. [applause] just to tell you a little bit about myself in getting to the issue of immigration. first of all, i, some people asked me what i'm doing in politics. i would like to tell them i fell and hit my head but that is simply not the truth. i was recruited to run for office in 2007 for 2008 house of representatives. i tell you never did i expect in arizona we would be dealing with perhaps some of the things the way the media nationally has dealt with them but i have to tell you that we have been at the forefront of many issues. people look to arizona, especially issues on immigration. i was there proudly sponsored, cosponsored senate bill 1070. i voted for it. defended it. i became the go-to guy
trying to explain what the bill truly did. i know the media tries to make things into a circus because it is about ratings. we have to be truthful with people and we have laws we have to enforce. i received death threats, threats from all kinds of e-mail. you know what? sometimes you have to stand up and do what is right. one of the things that -- [applause] thank you. one of the things that i like to tell people is that there is a diversity of thought, whether you go into any community, whether hispanic community or any other community, i'll tell you right now i like to tell people as i did when i first started off the fact that i can speak in spanish and i emigrated from my family legally doesn't automatically make me a liberal addicted to big government spending. [applause] getting into the issue of immigration one of the things i always like to
highlight and bring to the forefront the the value of american citizenship. this is something like i told you, personally, my father is a pastor. i'm a minister. our family emigrated from el salavador. getting away, fleeing from that civil war that horrible civil war that left more than 75,000 people dead in el salavador in the mid, early, mid 80s's. i will tell you my family emigrated legally and we have a tremendous and deep respect for american citizenship. my father always taught me the importance value this country has in the foundation of the biblical principles and foundation that gives such value to the individual, personal freedoms but also personal responsibilities and those rights that are inalienable given to us not by government or by our neighbor or somebody else but by our god, by our creator. and so when i like to approach the issue of
immigration or even citizenship it is something of great value. citizenship isn't something that, it is not just a certificate that you can hand to somebody. it is not just a certificate that you earn. american citizenship is a responsibility. it comes with high responsibility. things that we have to as americans understand that the way of life that we hold is not something just given to us. too many, too much blood has been shed. people have given their lives so you and i can sit here today and discuss the different issues in the freedom, you know, in the liberty that we do without fear of persecution. that is something that my family has told me about and we see that happens in different parts of the world. and so understanding the value of the individual, and understanding that having american citizenship is something that we need to fully comprehend the responsibility that we have. i don't think that when we
talk about immigration, not everybody that comes to this country wants to be a citizenship. there are people that come here to work. so for us to even think of a program or a system that forces immigration on somebody is just not something we should be looking at. i would also like to say, i don't want to take too much time because i want to allow the other panelists to speak and get into questions as well and leave more time for you but i do have to say we need to be very careful as well. the subject brought forward, we want to reach out to the hispanic community. we want to reach out with the issue of compassion and we want to reach out to the hispanic community. i agree we need to have the dialogue but we have to be careful not to be pandering because truth of the matter is, if you look at poll after poll, even the left with its polls, 2010, hispanics, or the pew poll hispanic center did a poll in the middle, october of
2010, right, right in the heat of senate bill 1070 in arizona. immigration came in fifth as among hispanics in this country. immigration came in as the fifth most important or perhaps one out of five latinos in this country view immigration as the most important issue. and that wasn't that you wanted comprehensive immigration reform necessarily but you wanted to do something about it or that was an issue at the top as well. that is one out of five, if you look at 2012 in june, gallop did a poll as well where, it was one out of four. so if, if you begin, excuse me one out of five as well. if you begin to polling everybody, everybody latino in the country ask you issues what matter to them. that is 25%. that is one out of four, 25% see immigration as the most important subject. that is just in general of latinos. if you go to registered voters to latinos, it went down to 12%.
the issue this thing media is trying to create, that immigration is the top issue for the entire hispanic community is simply not true. and we have to be careful because as conservatives or even as a party, if we're seen to be pannering or trying to be a party that pannedders, there is a party that beat us already to do that. there is a party that is already pandering to do that, that is the democratic party. we have values and standards. the best way to deal with people whether they are hispanic or black or asian or from any other country, tell them the truth, the truth with boldness [applause] in love and compassion. let's talk with each other and explain what the issues are. i'm not saying that we are not a party or a country of compassion, i mean i'm not going to sit here and be lectured by a party of democrats that tells us, telling us to be compassionate when they sat buy and let 50 million babies be aborted and lose their lives.
[applause] on the issue of compassion, i'm simply not going to accept the premise of them lecturing us on that. the fact we honor immigration laws and we respect immigration laws and enforcement of immigration laws to me, as an immigrant, to my family, tells me that we are honoring immigration in this country. so i would like to share that with you. that is just my, the way i believe, that we have to be able to talk to people. we have to be able to connect with them. and sometimes we don't need to change our message. we just need to change our approach. how we deal with this. and, sometimes that is, you know, we have different manners of doing that. but i believe that we're getting better. the issue of border security i think is something that's very important. we're dealing with a bill right now that is going through congress. i think it's at this moment it is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. if i were to ask you, everybody in this place by show of hands, how many
belief that this bill going through congress right now will actually secure the border, raise your hand? and that's why it is not going to work. [applause] because people, now, people want, as it is written right now, people want to know that they can trust the government. if we can build that trust, now how many people in this room would be willing to work with almost everything in that bill if you were certain or if you knew this problem was going to be solved by securing the border and we were not going to have to deal with this again, raise your hand? see what people are asking for, is to make sure that we secure that border. i live in arizona. i work in arizona. so i see this first-hand. we are having problems with cartels at our border. we're having problems with trafficking, not only of drugs and weapons and humans and children but we're seeing is a substance abuse as well.
we're seeing all kinds of flow through that border. i think that people with, this is greater than just immigration. border security is something people are asking for the security of our, not only our families, but our country and our future as well. so i think that is something that we seriously need to address and, i want to make sure we answer some questions as well as we are here as well. thank you having me. it is an honor and we want to share our thoughts. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, steve. next to the podium is colleen hell come. colleen is the -- holcomb. executive director of eagle forum founded by phyllis slav any in 1992. she went on to graduate with a jd none other than from regent university. she received a masters degree at regent as well.
when colleen was at regent in law school she received the national association of women's lawyers outstanding graduate award. welcome to the podium, colleen holcomb. >> thank you, dr. campo. such an honor to be here. i want to thank you all being here. eagle forum is grassroots organization. for people of faith to be involved in the political process, motivated by your faith, this is why our country is great and why it will stay great. i want to thank you all for being here. i wish i had time, 744, current ging of eight bill going to the senate. i wish i had time to get into specifics, overwhelming costs ineffective national security or multiple national security failures and many injustices inherent in the bill. if you're interested we set up a website. this is www.stop gang of 8, the number 8,.com. click on lobby senators tab.
that will give you all very specific information about what is really in this bill. most of your senators don't know because it is over a thousand pages and they haven't had time to read it. so you need to tell them. this bill is classic example of the washington way of doing things. there is a problem. both parties come together and in many cases really have, want to make a good-faith effort to solve the problem but the solutions to the problem, the actual solutions get lost in the need to pay back their political allies and to pay back in this case well-funded corporate and liberal interests and a desire to win over a large voting bloc. so all of this comes together and every group gets what they want. the bill get as wonderful-sounding name that would be political suicide to vote against. then the government gets vast new powers. it happened with obamacare. saw it happen with obama care. now it is happening with immigration. as a person of faith i get profoundly offended when, faith leaders, in particular,
imply there is some kind of biblical mandate to pass a bill like this. scripture is clear on many things. we're talking about many of them today on when life begins. what the definition of marriage is, behaviors that a government should and should not to -- tolerate. but a sovereign nation's immigration policy simply not one of them. there is no biblical mandate for mass amnesty for illegal aliens. the scripture that i hear most when i hear people advocate for amnesty is leviticus chapter 19 verse 33 which mandates we treat the sojourner, and stranger kind lie like a member of our own family. that is absolutely necessary but that is a mandate for us, not government. we also have to read that hand date in the context of chapter before, leviticus chapter 18, both nate tiff born and the foreigner must obey the laws of the land. that is incredibly
important. going back to the mandate for compassion, when a government tries to implement compassion it can only do so on political basis which will always ingd up in injustice. in this case it is an amnesty bill with $6.3 trillion price tag. that is just the amnesty section. not the many new programs that this bill puts into effect. it's also, this bill will flood the labor market where last week's job numbers indicated 11.8 million americans are out of work. this bill will flood the labor market with 11 million people who are in the country illegally, who will not only be competing for those jobs and suppressing wages, although initially they won't be eligible for federal benefits, they will be eligible for untold state and local benefits which will have a terrible impact on state and local economies. going back to when the government tries to implement compassion it will always be done on a political basis.
i want to speed up because we want to leave time for discussion and our other panelists. i want to give you an example how this happens. i heard this great example. think about a mother who steals to feed her children. she goes to children. her children end up in foster care. we have sympathy and there is the terrible situation, where is the outcry for amnesty for such a person? where the outcry for family reunification for someone broke the law. it is not there? why? because she is not a member of desired political block people in washington trying to garner favor for. that is to go back to let individual discuss 19 we get mandate for compassion. go next to verse 34, right after the mandate that we exercise kindness to strangers, it also prohibits unjust weights and measures. that is what this bill is. it is an unjust weight and measure. we need to take the things into consideration. i could go on. this bill also, another command we're given in
leviticus 19, not to oppress the foreigner which this bill absolutely does, keeping them as a very, very hard-working underclass, by failing to properly insure that they learn english, the only opportunity that they will have to succeed in american society. and that they assimilate properly into american society so they're not, so that they're not vulnerable to exploitation. now that is at the low skill level. at the high skill level this bill dramatically increases number of h-1b visas, to bring over high-skilled labor. this is incredibly frustrated, specific companies got carveouts in the bill to allow them to have increased number of visas and avoid the requirement they make a good-faith effort to find americans who could fill those jobs, and, to avoid the requirement that they pay the foreigners the same amount that they would pay american citizens. so that allows direct oppression. norman matlock, a professor at the university of
california at davis, he is a liberal professor but he has written extensively. that is also on our stop gang of 8 web site, about the abuses for these people who come over on h-1b visas. also these are people who are treated like indentured servants. employers are responsible to keep them in the country. what incentive do they have to ask for a raise? what incentive do they have to report behavior that's not acceptable? those are some of the injusts inherent in the bill and i will yield the stage. i'm getting the flashing light. thank you again. keep doing what you're doing. [applause] >> thank you, colleen. next to the podium is carlos robella many know carlos a leading conservative voice. he founded capital gains and worked in dade county for education reform. so please welcome, carlos. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is such a privilege to be here with people that i
share one of the most special things in common with, that's a faith, a common faith. and my colleagues left me very little time so i will tell you about myself for one minute and then make talk about immigration for two minutes. then we'll take some questions from y'all to have a nice dialogue. i decided to run for school board in miami-dade county in 2010 after our first daughter was born. i figured i had something to contribute and i could make a difference. we have done great things. let me give you an idea because i heard congressman sanford talk about spending earlier. five years ago our budget in miami-dade county public schools was $6 billion. we had 11 "f" schools, and we spent a ton on administration and bureaucracy. today our budget is $4 billion. we have zero "f" schools and we have cut bureaucracy by 58%. so that tells you something about spending. [applause]
now, since this is dos and don't on immigration, i'll give you some of my thoughts and here's the first do. do realize that the status quo is unacceptable. what senator rubio says is true. what we have now is de facto amnesty. so we do need to make a change. in our school system we spend over $20 million a year as a direct result of the broken immigration system. so we have to dom something. and republicans, conservatives have to be a part of the solution. i remember in the '90s when i first started following politics. our party, republicans, we were popular. we were liked because we were the party of solutions. they would always say democrats all they do is manage problems. we know how to solve them. we need to come together to solve this problem. here's a don't. don't pander to hispanics. i speak spanish. we speak spanish to our daughters at home because we want them to learn another
language. they're learning english at school. they're actually better at english already even though we never spoke to them english at home. don't ander to the is panic community. i thought it was imploreable that senator mccain deliver ad entire speech on the floor in spanish. english is the language that unites this country. we need to send a message to every immigrant they must learn english. [applause] it is not just we want them to. because it will help them become independent and successful members of society. so, here's do. do speak compassionately about this issue. i know we're frustrated that people broke the law to come to our country. okay? and people need to pay a price for breaking the law because we believe in the rule of law in this country. however, remember that knows of the people that came -- most of the people that came and still try to come do so because they want a better life for their families. so we need to be sensitive
to that. and while, yes, there are consequences for breaking the law, we do need to find a realistic solution for the 11, 12, 15 million people that are in our country right now. but, please, let's try to come together. i understand that this legislation isn't perfect, the one being proposed in the senate but let's fix it. let's make it better because i think we can all agree that the status quo is totally unacceptable. thank you, and i look forward to listening to your comments and questions. [applause] >> thank you, carlos. we're coming up to a break in a few minutes. we have time for q and a. i know this is an issue many of you find near and dear. let's take a question or two from the audience before we conclude. i see hands back there? yes, please, stand. i'll repeat your question. >> [inaudible].
the fact that israel, in the old testament was a theocracy. the church and state were one in the same. the new testament references the government in rome man and first peter are basically narrow. government exists. god institutes government as punisher of evil-doer. doesn't go any father than that. so all of the biblical references in the old testament applying to a theocratic situation, do you feel there is a big difference there between that and our situation today, just generally in biblical application? >> to repeat the question, the question was, do we feel there is big difference between the theocracy and
current governmental form in america, in relationship to this issue? does that sound like a fair representation of this issue? >> refer to the reverent. >> it is a very sensitive subject because you're right, the bible talks about the sojourner how we have to look out. you mentioned that as well. but it also defines the foreigner. it also talks about a foreigner. while i don't believe that the bible directly talks about immigration in how a government should establish its policies for immigration, i don't see evidence that the government direct or that the bible directly outlines how a government here on earth should run or establish its immigration laws. i do see that it does give the government the authority to set its immigration laws, as the sovereignty that the state has. i think we do have to be careful. because it has been
mentioned in my opinion, it has been mentioned we have to be compassionate. we have to understand as well, that one size fits all policy is not what everybody is looking for as well. there are people that are coming here to work and for us to ignore that and try to just make it a blanket policy to give everybody perhaps, citizenship is not something that is outlined in the scriptures either. . .
>> we have to, yes, on the one hand, people have to pay a price, there have to be consequences for the sins, the mistakes, and laws broken in the past, but we also ought to give people a chance to thrive in our society and become independent people that are not a public burden op our country. >> let me just add quickly. i think we all agree this is one of many issues that one can find plenty of folks ready to stand on a pulpit or elsewhere and give you what they think is a very strong biblical foundation for this side of the argument; right? we've heard them all. let me go on to say perhaps i'm certainly the oldest person on the panel. i remember the days in the 70s and 80s when not only did we not enforce our laws. we were only winking folks and looking at other way.
i lived there, and i know that we encouraged people to come across the border because we needed the labor force, and from my perspective, one of the things we want to continue to remind folks in the conversation is there is a level of culpability on the part of government that only did not end force, but truly implementation and practice, it was a reversal of the law. we encourage workers to come as though someone had been driving 72 in a 55 for ten years, and we never pulled them over, but now when we realize, and we do, we have a serious issue, we're going to send you all a bill because we've noticed for the last 17 days, we do not pull you over, but you break the law so now the full force of the law will be brought to you. i don't think any person, christian, secular, religious, every person understands that's unfair. there's a fairness to the issue that must say there is not one
single couple party here, we have an issue. we have a problem. thinking, cares, christian, and notary public christian americans can resolve this in a fashion that's better than the current system. we have time for one more question. >> quick. >> yes, please, one quick question. >> [inaudible] >> big business went to profit from cheap labor, but one group is advertising on television saying the gang of 8 bill is a conservative solution. i think that is outrageously -- an outrageous lie to be exposed. what do you think about it? >> the question was about the commercial seen about the gang of 18, a conservative bill, a group, one person thinks it's outrageous lie. >> you are exactly right. it's an outrageous lie, and it is paid for by corporate interests, the very one i mentioned, mark zuckerberg, the
26-year-old billionaire, founder of facebook, who wants cheap labor. that's right. just to quickly address the point about de facto amnesty, that is true that the situation that we have now is de facto amnesty. the current bill before the senate would be to codify what is the som and to give power to the secretary of health and human services because it's deja vu with obamacare, but of homeland security whose policy is to not end force immigration law and legalize as many people as possible. you're right. >> the last word. >> briefly, on that last point, there is a major difference between this legislation and the 1986 legislation. if you run a stop sign, and i'm the cop and i forgive you, that's am necessary -- amnesty. if you pay a fine, it's not amnesty. it's important to distinguish this is not what happened in 1986. >> well, again, all things we can agree on is the issue that needs reformation and none of us
are convinced by a commercial seen on television. that's why we are here. thank you for being here, thank you for the conversation. thank you to the panelists. thank you. [applause] >> live pictures from the white house where haven't joe biden is about to deliver remarks on administration efforts to reduce give up violence. the associated press reported biden will push congress to overhaul nation's gun laws announcing the administration completed or significantly advanced 21 of the 23 executive actions ordered by president obama in response to the sandy hook shootings last year. we expect vice president biden in a moment. live coverage here op c-span#2.
>> the vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> good afternoon. i'm steven martin, and i never expected to be standing in this room introducing the vice president in the same way i never expected to be a victim of gun violence. about a year ago, i was a few hours south of here on virginia
beach dipping the rear wheel in the ocean, about to embark on a trip i planned with my best friend, ethan. we had ambitions of traveling abroad after being in college, but realized we had much to learn about our country, and the best way to do that was traveling through america, towns, farms, immediating everyday americans from all walks of life along the way. we dipped our wheels in the atlantic a year ago, 43 days, we arrived in aurora, colorado, buying tickets for the midnight premier of the summer block buster we talked about all summer long "the dark knight rises," and i still remember the night vividly. i was hit in the head and torso by a shotgun blast before i realized what was happening. i fell forward into the aisle
and listened to the steady rough pore of the assault riffle as blood rushed out of my neck and to my fingers. i heard ethan yelling at a 911 dispatcher who was not wounded on the the cell phone. our host who sat between us and whose ticket we bought had been shot in the head. a winding, unpredictable cross country johnny led us to the worst mass shooting in america's history. i thought i was going to die, but i didn't feel ready at all. i was 22 years old, just graduated from syracuse university, a full grant to teach english from russia. if nothing else, i had a trip to finish. it was not my choice to live that night anymore than it was anyone's choice to die. for reasons i still struggle to understand, the pell lets nearly missed my brain, artery, and heart.
the magazine jammed giving me time to escape out the back emergency exit and get to an operating room 30 minutes later. ethan escaped without injury and our host survived without serious damage to the brain. i woke up two doors down from her in the intensive care unit of the hospital after surgery filled with more than 20 pieces of led and renewed sense of vitality. my optimism was tempered placing my experience in the greater gun violence in america. more than 30 # americans are murdered and almost 50 americans commit suicide with a gun every single day. to say nothing of the unaccounted sons, mothers, daughters, fathers, friends, neighbors left behind. i spent a month and a half experiencing the best the country had to offer, and then i was confronted by the worst. gun violation is not just an urban issue as i believed nor a gang or minority issue. it's an american issue that
affects us all. i defer my plans to travel abroad and began working for mayors against illegal guns in september. i had the fortune of meeting vice president biden p months ago where he joined bloomberg and several families who lost loved ones in newtown, connecticut to call on congress to pass legislation reducing gun violence. minority in the senate blocked that common sense legislation, but the president and the vice president's commitment to the issue has not faded one bit. on behalf of the hundreds of survivors of gun violence, i've met in the course of my work, i thank them for their continued leadership on this issue. today marks an important step forward in the national conversation about reducing gun violence. ladies and gentlemen, the man helping lead that conversation, the vice president of the united states of america, joe biden. [applause] >> folks, thank you, thank you.
[applause] thank you very much. if you want reason for optimism, you're looking at it. if you. -- if you want a great education, go to syracuse. [laughter] a remarkable young man, absolutely remarkable 3, and i look forward to working with you and finishing this job. thank you, good luck to you. >> thank you. >> folks, it's good to see so many faces i'd hope we would have assembled this auditorium earlier. i'd hoped we would assembled here couple months ago celebrating the first number of victories that we will have in having the congress, 44 of our
colleagues or is it 45? voted no on a rational, simple, straightforward extension of an existing background check system that already exists in the constitutionally permissible, but first thing i want to say before i begin talking about the subject matter, the specific subject matter today, is that we have not given up. janet napolitano has not given up, eric holder has not given up. richard bloomenthal has not given up, congressman mike thompson has not given up, and speaker of the connecticut house has not gimp up. i wish we had the success you had up in connecticut with your governor and with your legislature, and mayor pam o'connor of santa monica has not given up, nor has carolyn
maloney, one the leading advocates for rational gun policy who is not here today. the congresswoman is not here today because she's fighting another fight. she's fighting a fight that we have her in our prayers. she's fighting lung cancer. she'll beat that like she'll come back to help us beat gun lobbying that is preventing the rational action from happening. six months ago, the president and i stood in this room joined by the victims of gun violence, parents, teachers, members of law enforcement, and many others as we made a simple promise to the american people. we said we'll do everything that we can, everything in our power to reduce gun violence in this country. at the time, the shock and horror, the massacre at sandy hook was fresh in everyone's mind, only four weeks earlier, the entire country was turning on their television to learn
that 20 first graders were killed in the classroom, six staff, and education personnel died trying to save them. the entire country, the entire country sitting by the television is a very personal means of communication. you sit there in your living room or your library or your den or your kitchen, and you associate directly with the person on the screen. everyone who watched when was going on sat there, and i'm confident, if they had children, imagined -- imagined what it would be like if they were getting a phone call. remember the parking lot? parents running around not knowing whether they go in, out, what was happening, is my child? every mother and father, every grandparent in the country, you felt it in your bones, wondering
what would you do had that been my baby? moms, called their sons that night and daughters, not because they lived anywhere close to newtown, because they just needed to hear their voice. just needed to hear your child's voice, even your grown child. it was instinctive. dads tucked their babies into bed just a little tighter and sat there a little bit longer because they wanted to hear the rhythm of their sleep. you know, so i'm here to tell you that the most important message to take from here today is the president and i are a team. we have not given up. our friends in the house and senate, they have not given up. we pushed congress to pass common sense legislation to reduce gun violence, and the majority of the senate stepped up. the majority of the senate stepped up and said that makes
sense, but because of the innovation of a rule, perverted filibuster rule requiring 60 votes for everything in order to get a vote, we lost, 41 democrats and four republicans voted no. i'm confident, i know for a fact, some of them wonder well, now whether that was a prudent vote. the president, when he stood here that first day said he would do everything within his power, constitutional power, to change the ethic about gun violence in america. it wasn't merely that he said we laid out the team i just mentioned, all of us sat together, interviews 128 groups of stake holders from gun ordinary persons to the n --
owners to the nra, brady group, police officers, ect.. we came up with a list of the rational things that should be done, but that's not all the president's talking about. on that day, six months ago, the senator said, excuse me, the president said, that he's going to do everything in his individual power under the executive power of the presidency to take those actions that did not require congressional authority to begin to deal with that problem. although we have yet to succeed to the house and senate, but we will, we moved forward on what was within his power with executive actions he could take, but today i can report that he announced 23 executives executive actions, 21 of them have been completed or major progress made towards the total
completion, and that we're on track to finish the job. for example, we've strengthened the existing background check system. one of the things everybody found out except for eric and i have been doing this our career is that there's an awful lot of people in states all around america who under the constitution are disqualifieded from being able to own a weapon, and yet, and their names are held by the states in which they live, and those names have not been commune -- community kateed through this national system, the national background check system. now, under the constitution, we are not able to dictate a state to take certain action, so eric and i and others inquire why in the states, 17 of them, by and large, was this information not
getting into the system? already accumulateed. why were those names not in the system? we got all kinds of reasons. one of which was, well, the cost. well, the president proposed $20 million to incentivize those states, which easily cover whatever costs they had, to get all the names, several million of them, into the background check system. nothing new. the names are already in a file. already in place. we are working on that system. we are making sure that law enforcement has the tool at their disposal to combat violence calling on congress to provide the $10 million, for example, the president already said that these restrictions on the ability of any federal agency to keep any statistics relating to gun violence in the
studying the issue, there's an absolute prohibition that existed. the president wiped that prohibition off, and now says he wants to have $10 million to allow the center for disease control to restart the gun violence prevention research they had in the past been doing. why are we afraid of information? an informed society should not be afraid of the facts. we're also working to improve access to mental health care. how much did we read and hear about mental health as a component to this problem and part of the solution to the problem of gun violence? there are too many people experienced mental health problems who are not getting the help they need. you know, the most at-risk people are between ages of 16 and 25 who need the most, not gun violence, but mental health needs going unmet.
here's what we did. we finalized the so-called affordable care act, i call it obamacare, so that coverage of mental health and substance abuse services would be available for 62 million americans for whom they are not available now. a big change. we made it clear to every state official through direct communications that medicaid must treat mental health care coverage the same way they treat physical health care coverage. god knows how many moms and dads knowing they have a child with a serious problem, i mean, having no nothing notion about the abuse of a weapon, knowing, but not able to afford, not able to afford to get the mental health care they need, whether they are on medicaid or whether or not they have their own private health insurance.
these are really important action the president's taken, and time will tell how much positive impact they'll have on this whole issue of gun violence. there's a number of other executive orders that the president has instituted that are near completion. i won't go into that now in the interest of time, but there's one i want to talk about today, and that is the set of guidelines for releasing today to give schools and communities the tools they need to protect their children. now, a lot of you are professionals out there. i'll bet you your police department was contacted by about every school district, every school in your district saying what do i do if this happened in my school? i personally, members of congress were getting calls from their district. i personally was getting calls
from around the country. joe, what do we do? if anything remotely similar to what happened, what happened in sandy hook happens in our community. the one thing the federal government can really do well, better than any single jurisdiction, is they can scour the nation and find out best practices. they're able to assess and gather all the resources to say what works best? what are the best evacuation plans? what are the best prevention plans? what are the best actions that could and should be taken in the event of a shooter in a school? we provided guidelines in the past. different agencies had different messages. urn the leadership of our team, we brought in home and security, which includes fema, the single best disaster relief operation in the world, the fbi, we
brought in the, in addition to the fbi, we brought in the justice department overall. we brought in the -- instead, we insisted they sit down together, not separately, together, and make sure they were all in the same page as one of the single best recommendations that could be made so there's a coherence to this. they all have had significant input in dealing with disasters. we put them together in one room, with more than 100 experts from law enforcement to higher education, from k-12 teachers to first responders to emergency planners, and we said all of you come up with what you think are the best practices, the most concrete recommendations that you could give us that enable us
to teach, prepare, or lay out a men knew for the school district and churches. interesting thing is, i think it surprised most people a bit. remember eric and i sitting there? we had the faith leaders. the faith leaders not only wanted to talk about making school safer, but they know, they are worried that their congregations are at risk, and they wanted to know what should they be thinking about when someone stands up in the middle of the congregation and decides to do something similar that we saw in the schools? we gave concrete direction. we are going to, there are three documents made available today, a guide for developing high quality school emergency operation plan, and that was for k-12 and a guide for developing high quality emergency operation for science of institutions of
higher learning and a guide for developing high quality emergency operation plans for houses of worship. we took a hard look, and when a school principle gets in touch with the federal government and they shouldn't hear from the justice department and department of education, and we got to make this bite sized. we got to make it understandable. we got to make it available. the best thinking in the country. we made sure the guidance reflects all the lessons learnedded over the years to ensure schools, higher education, house of worship have an opportunity to share the latest and best knowledge in advancement in emergency planning. all that work has been distilled down to the guide books referenced. these books outline a detailed process that every school, every
institution, every house of worship should go through to create their own plan within the frame work of the best policies available. the guide books ask each school or house of worship to consider the fundamental questions that go into the kind of planning and come up with answers to the collaboration with first responders, and the practical impact is we are asking and suggesting in addition to the specific guidelines is asking a school district or school who wants to put in place the best emergency plan to call a meeting, call a meeting with their local government officials, call a meeting with the police officers, with the first responders and the fire department, ect., and sit down and go through what are the unique aspects of their concern in their school. it details what information can and cannot be shared, for
example. there's three pieces. one, what can we do through the guidelines to maybe prevent, prevent a shooter from recurring in the school. one of the things here in education know, my wife's educator, is that there are a number of rules that are out there to protect privacy, the privacy of the student so it can't be misused, so there's all kinds of federal regulations, actually, three big ones. school districts and officials call in and say, what am i able to make available? what can be shared about a student or an adult's mental health past bheaferl patterns? what's shared without their background? where i don't violate the law? what am i able to share? share with the parent, share with the law enforcement officials, and share with those
in the school system so we may be able to nip in the bud the threatening behavior that we see and it's obvious in some students, and it also talking about beariers and walls to protect. we know the planners are asking the right questions, and what are you going to do if there's an emergency, where should they go? how do you make sure the students with disabilities, where to go if there's a fire, what's the alternative? if god forbid there's an active shooter, how do you alert the people? do teachers know what they should to do? these books tell you what to do, and they start with the conversation of schools in community that they already have with their first responders, parents, and teachers, and we're going back, going back and going
to back it up with training. the department of homeland security, the fbi worked for the top experts in the field of texas state university, and technical training to officers who respond in active shooter situation. there's a two-day workshop on active shooter situations at every single win of the 56 field offices nationwide with reachedded senior command staff from state, local, tribal, and police agencies working with communities that represent millions of people. this is a miewj mobilization of the resources to make sure our front lines of law enforcement know absolutely what the best protocol for responding to these situations are. it's going to help save lives, not only potential victims in harm's way, but cops as well.
as i've said, we made significant progress here, taking together each of these actions i've outline today to reduce gun violence in america, but let me make very important point before i close. as proud as the president, as proud as i am of the progress we've made, we need congress to act. the american people are demanding it. as i've said before, we need to make sure the voices of those we lost are the loudest we hear in this fight. we need to make sure that everyone in the country knows that this fight is not over, far from it. i would yield to my friends in the house and senate, but i assure you that the one thing each of us can say to our colleagues about these votes is the country has changed. you will pay a price, a political price, for not, for not getting engaged in dealing with gun safety.
it used to be before sandy hook that the polling data would show that all the 60 #-80% of the people supported these significant and sound proposals we made. it would have came down to it, the 30% or 20% that didn't support them, they'd show up on election day. they would make that the single most important issue, and the other 80% would say, that was a nice vote, but it was not determined. what changed in sandy hook, what changed with sandy hook, the straw that broke the cam mel's back is now those people who support rational safety measures say this will be a defining issue for me. for the first time, a clear majority of those who favor rational proposals say it will matter, it will make a difference in who i vote for. that's a fundamental change in the political call --
call cue louse out there. i will not mention names, but look at who voted no and look at the situation in the states of many who voted no. many were popular in the 50s and of 0s now find their ratings in the 40s. many of those in very tough states made very tough votes made on conventional wisdom like hagen north carolina, mary landrui in louisiana because the country's changed. the country's changed. nothing we're asking for, nothing we continue to pursue is inconsistent with constitutional rights that every american has, not a single, solitary thing. folks, i'm optimistic. i know people say i'm always optimistic, but i am optimistic. i am because i've gotten the phone calls from those members
of congress, many of whom voted no saying can you find a way? can you find a way? can you find a way for us to revisit this? that's exactly what we'll be doing, cowpedth counting on leadership, the members of congress here, and i mean that sincerely, and counting on the continued leadership of the workhorses of this administration and homeland security, department of education, the attorney general because the american people are there, but in the meantime, the president's going to continue to take every executive action within his power to make schools safer for our children, churches safe place to worship, and significantly work on reducing the number of gun debts in america. ladies and gentlemen, since newtown, more people have dieded at the end of a gun than we have
lost in afghanistan. pretty astounding. pretty astounding. and iraq, as a matter of fact, over 5 # -- 5,000. there's no way to run a country. public knows it. they any we can do something about it. no matter how long it takes, we're determined to do something about it. i'll close by thanking my colleagues, the administration, and my friends in the congress for not giving up on this. we got a majority, but not a supermajority needed. we will get it. we will be back. we will, in fact, improve the lives and safety of all the children in america who should look at school as the safest place in the world they can be. thank you very much. [applause]
>> if you missed this event, go to c-span.org. the director of the national security agency said today the government sweeping surveillance programs foiled some 50 terrorist plots worldwide including one at the new york stock exchange. shawn was also at the hearing providing hearings on four alleged terrorist plots that were foiled due in part to the nsa data collection programs including a plot to bomb wall street. here's a look. >> thank you, ranking member and members of the committee to be here today. in,nsa has a relationship valuable since 9/11. i want to highlight the incidents. in the fall of 2009, nsa using
702 authority intercepted an e-mail from a terrorist located in pakistan. that individual was talking with the individual located inside the united states talking about perfecting a recipe for explosives. through legal process, that individual was identified. he was located in denver, colorado. the fbi followed him to new york city. later, we executed a search warrant with the new york joint terrorism task force and nypd and found bomb making components in backpacks. he later confessed to a plot to bomb the new york subway system with backpacks. also, working, business records, they provided an unknown number of one of the coconspirators. this was the first core al-qaeda plot since 9/11 directed from
pakistan. another example, nsa utilizing 702 authority was monitoring a nope extremist in yemen. this individual was in contact with an individual in the united states namedded kalid. the individuals that we identified through a fisa that the fbi applied for were able to detect plotting to bomb the new york city stock exchange. he had been providing information and support to the plot. the fbi disrupted and arrested these individuals. also, david in the u.s. citizen living in chicago, the fbi received intelligence regarding his possible involvement in the 2008 mumbai attacks responsible for the killing of over 160 people. also nsa through 702 # coverage of an al-qaeda affiliated
terrorist found that he was working on a plot to bomb a danish newspaper office that published the cartoon depictions of the prophet mew hamid. in fact, he confessed to the publishings. he and co-conspirators were convicted of the plot. lastly, the fbi opened an investigation shortly after 9/11. we did not have enough information, nor did we find links to terrorism so we shortly thereafter closed the investigation. however, the nsa using the business record tipped us off that this individual had indirect contact with the known terrorist overseas. we were able to reopen this investigation, identify additional individuals through a legal process, and were able to disrupt this terrorist activity.
thank you. >> republican mike rogers of michigan who chairs the committee and congressman of maryland, the panel's top democrat, said the programs were vital to intelligence. the man who leaked the nsa information, by the way, is in hiding, said to be in hong kong. well, senators at recess to members attend the weekly party lunch meetings back at 2:15 eastern for debate on immigration bill. votes start at 3 # p.m. eastern on three amendments with the border fence, visas, and adoption of foreign children. the congressman of north dakota is working on an amendment with bob corker and others on a new amendment to give border security priority over issuing provisional green cards. live coverage when the senator returns here on c-span2. >> it was essential to remove fronts from canada as the united
states as it became -- to have the opportunity to achieve its independence. they -- and the few people led by franklin recognized the possibilities for america to become a great country. i -- so many words from what i said a moment ago, the american achievement, people of the two and a half million people, half a million slaves, for them in effect to get the british to evict the french from their borders and then the french to help them effect the british, to ma nape lit that was an astonishing achievement. >> congress mapp blank on the united states as a world power saturday at 7 p.m. eastern, part of booktv this weekend on c-span2. >> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays with live coverage of the u.s. senate.
>> the senate gavels in at 2:15 eastern, but now a look at media bias and how it may be impacting the political landscape. this is a topic of a panel at the conference of the faith and freedom coalition here in washington including national review editor, radio talk show host, and national review editor. this is about 20 minutes. ♪ [applause] >> it's been so long since i've seen you guys. actually, our apologies. we had a moderator mishap, so i'm filling in for the next
panel. my pleasure to do. the media bias, changing landscape panel, joined today, i think, coming in right here, someone else you recognize. [laughter] john fund. national review, and america spectator. rich lowry, national review as well, and not bad. let's make some noise, come on. [cheers and applause] >> all right, well, this is the new specious for me told to moderate a panel 4 # 2 seconds before it starts. >> perfect. >> good news is we have three fantastic leaders in the media community who probably don't need prompting from their moderator. >> if you need me to take over, i will. >> no, exactly. okay, so why don't we start with you, sir. media bias, change, is there bias, should we care, where is this media bias? >> yes, there's media bias. [laughter] >> why should we care? why should we care?
aren't we all human beings? media, of course, will be bias. >> okay. it's interesting. what the media's doing is try to obvious and make it seen like there's an alternate reality. i'm going to take you back in time for a second, okay? i'm going to take you back to a few days after september 11, president bush on that pile of rubble in front of the buildings, remember? all together as americans. i hear ya, remember that? i hear ya. we were together, democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, it didn't matter, we were together. then he says, by the way, now that we're all together, the back to the future technology worked. i got in the delorian, went 88 miles per hour, went back into the future to the year 2013, okay, and now here's good news. first of all, we caught the guy who did it, bin laden, we got
him, yeah! next, saddam hussein. we got him. he's dead. yeah! now, the president's middle name in 2013 is hussein. well, start with that. it's different than you thought. john mccain, my good friend, he goes to syria, and he wants to give weapons to the guys who just did this, al-qaeda -- [laughter] that's not good, i know. okay, well, i'm a democrat, i didn't like you anyway. al gore's doing good. he's doing great, a tv network. he just sold that to al jazeera, so, i mean, can you imagine the difference the amount of time has made? a lot of that is because of the media. oh, things aren't bad. obama's great. the muslims, they are all wonderful, wonderful people we've been told. you know what? there are bad people in the world. this administration, they don't
want to talk about the bad people, they want to pretend it doesn't happen. guess what, they are bad people in the world, and we have to stand up against them. we need to stand against them as americans, as christian, and stand up and do the right thing, and the media's stopping it, and we have to do the right thing. [applause] good night, everybody. >> exactly, exactly, exactly. rich, you want to jump in? >> it probably won't surprise you to know that rusty had three cups of coffee in just 15 minutes i was with him in the green room. >> what's scarier is i don't drink any coffee. [laughter] >> thank you, all, it's a pleasure to be here. with media bias, i go back to what i think is the best line that disqualifieded stills the dynamic which is cal thomas who says he gets up in the morning, and every day he reads the bible and the "new york times" just to know what both sides are doing. [laughter] i want to make a couple points here, just really quickly. one, this thing with most
liberal reporters, i believe, is they don't know they're biased, okay? i think the problem is in life, there are no such things as just objective people, okay? i know a lot of conservatives, obviously, my line of work, i know a lot of liberals in my line of work, and i know the lot of marxists. i live in new york city. [laughter] i don't know any objective people. i think if you ask most roars, are you bias or liberal? they say, no, i'm a reasonable person. my second point would be related to that one, most liberal journalists and democratic pretty koa -- politics are the same people, they socialize together, go to the same parties, marry one another, and they switch back and forth among the sides of what is a business. if they go from ab news to the obama administration, they really shouldn't have to change health plans; right?
it's part of the same basic operation. third point, i think despite all work done on this as conservatives, despite all the wonderful work the media research cementer has done and others, tracking bias, calling it out, mocking it, analyzing it, the media is worse than ever, and i think a lot of it just has to do with the fact that in 2006-2007 or so, they fell in love with barack obama, and they knew this relationship could not be con sue mated in the way they desperately desired unless he was in the white house, and, you know, i used to be a stock line in my speeches, i ragged on hillary clinton, and i said the people who hung out in new york, we put the ron-hillary bumper stickers on front of the car. there it was, the 2008 primary
battle, and i felt sorry for hillary clinton; right? she could not catch a break from the mainstream media. only on fox news did she get somewhat of a fair hearing because they are so in love with barack obama, and that just carried through the last five years. there's a lover's tift now over the ap subpoenas and other things. it'll blow over. i got married two years ago. i know how this works. they'll get over it. two other points quickly, one is it's just so important that the structure of media as handed down to us in the mid-20th century is steadily eroding. their power, every day, a little bit seeping away. the big three news broadcasters are important, but they are not quite as important as they used to be. there's a line on sunset bull scrard -- boulevard, the movie, said to
the performer, big actress, says to her, you know, you used to be in silent movies. you used to be big. she says i'm big, but it's just the picture got smaller. what is happening every day with the mainstream media right now is that the pictures are getting a little smaller, and that's a very good thing, and everything we can do to chip away at that and develop our own institutions and our own outlets that are not just about analysis and opinion, which do well as conservatives, but are about reporting in investigative journalism. every single progress in that direction is good. the last point, and i think maybe this is the most tragic criticism of the press. the free press is a very important thing, arian important thing. madison said to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all
the game by reason in humanity over era and oppressed. a free press in the country is absolutely essential and the most telling criticism of the current press is they are messing it up, and they can't be trusted, and we have to get out there and test the service and do it ourselves. >> thank you, sir. [applause] appreciate it. moving on to john. >> first point, yes, bias is a problem, but the biggest problem in the media is another formative one. this is why if you gift wrap the story and hand it to the reporter and convince them they get all the credit for it, they often will run with it regardless of what is significant. we can't forget that. you dangle the right incentive. having said that, one of the reasons we know reporters are
lazy because rich said the definition of media changed. it includes everyone on the internet, bloggers, people in this room, and one of the ways you would really spell out how the bias is is how do media people, especially the people treat their own? i was appalled because, you know, many of the tea party groups applying for nonprofit status, many of them had media operations. they were the franklin center, chapter, tea parties doing news letters to develop the community covering local news. that's important. being denied nonprofit status, they were suppressing the media, the new media, and i didn't hear a peep from any media outlet that that was a result of the irs target. now, one of the things we also
have to realize is that their reporters who bravely are trying to cover the obama camp, and they've been shut down, excluded. cheryl atkinson at cbs news, we know her computer has been broken into, e legislated information taken from it. we don't know from whom, but it was an extremely sophisticated operation. cbs has protocols. somebody did this. she's been yelled at, marginalized by the white house for years, and she's the only reporter in news that covered that benghazi stuff. only now is she getting grudging respect. she is not down the line conservative. she's an independent reporter. the fact that the news media has given so little support, so little attention, some of it may be jealousy, but i think it's -- i think it's fear of angering,
as rich says, the obama administration. just to pick up on the point about how closely interlocked the media and administration are right now, npr's white house correspondent is married to a top official in the white house who works for the white house. npr's defense of this, this is a conflict of interest that would not happen in the reagan and bush administration. the defense is, oh, the people covered any story involving the white house counsel, they'll cover everything else in the white house. you can't make these people up. actually, i wish we could because they wouldn't exist. >> thank you very much. time is the ticket, but the media bias the problem that some folks don't admit they are bias. in other words, we want fox news, national review to go away? we like conservative media? do we just want liberal media to
exist and admit honestly, or -- >> that would help. there's a lot of things going on in the media people don't realize. advertising is changing. media's changing before your eyes. you don't even know it. we talked about data and all the things the government is stealing. what's about to happen with media is pretty soon, very soon, they run commercials because right now, there's a dvr, going past the commercials, but they advertise on tv, when they do not buy tvs, they don't get money, and they cut back because they are in troublement they have ideas. they know you're a dentist, and pretty soon all your tv commercials are targeted, well, dentist, here's the fluoride you need. commercials will be targeted directly at you. it's getting scary on how much is coming right down to you individually and what they know, and, you know, it's interesting,
a couple years ago i was at israel, overlooking the battleground, armageddon; right? , and -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> okay. there's a little confusion backstage, but we'll start this now. in the media, conservative women, play a role here -- >> let me finish the story, and go ahead. >> okay. >> why is this important? i'm at armageddon, and i want to tell you the story first, and i'm thinking how is this going to happen, there's a big field in israel, is this the end of the world? i think about revelations 1:7 #, look, he's coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, how is every eye going to see him? then i realized i'm looking at
the thing on my cell phone, every eye is seeing it. we'll watch it on the internet. it's all coming down, happening right now. you are seeing it before your eyes. >> i'm with you, sister, see you there, baby! [applause] it's not all -- there is a lot of bias, but there's a lot of other things in the media landscape that's changing, be aware, be careful. that's what's happening. i'll let the smart guys stalk. >> let me ask you that question. what do you read and way do you watch, what do you find to be the most objective news outlets? >> the rusty show on channel 300. >> taking out your own outlets, of course. >> oh. >> what do you recommend to the audience as the unbiased paradox? >> first of all, emily, we were worried about you because paul referred to a moderator mishap,
and i didn't know what that euphemism meant. >> it meant that mrs. reed and i -- >> okay, well, that's good. well, your question segues also with the question paul asked, would it just be better if the media admitted, and i think it would be better, and, you know, i don't think media should really be objective. for most of the history, it was not on objective. we had media on both sides. we wrote a book recent by about abraham lincoln now on amazon.com. it is excellent, by the way, but the media then -- i mean, political parties own newspapers. there's no pretense, and it's difficult to find what was said in the debates because the republican newspapers, lincoln was incredible eloquent and
grammar purpose, and they couldn't put a sentence together and the democratic papers were the opposite. that's not a horrible thing. it's more or less that we have in this country, just that the liberal media won't admit it. in terms of my own reading habits, i don't -- there's no objective completely objective outlet i'm aware of or read regularly at least. i just read wisely, and i do -- i'll admit this if you don't look down op my too much, forgive me, rusty, i read the "new york times" every day. occasionally there's good journalism, oftentimes there's not, but it's good to know what the others are thinking. i look at drudge report, hot air, power lines, memorandum, the aggregator of various laws left and right, and i read "wall street journal," and all starts that i'm not thinking of at the moment, and that's what i just coup csh counsel for everybody, read as widely as you can and
make judgments op what is correct and accurate. it's no longer three news anchor called the voice of god, literally called the voice of god, telling you what to believe. now there's a wide open environment, and many more sources of information for you to filter through. >> see the rest of this at c-span.org. we'll leave it now as the senate is gaveling in this afternoon as the senators return to vote on immigration. votes later today. senate. we worked hard on the judiciary committee, madam president, to craft a strong bipartisan bill that bolsters our economy, secures our borders and promotes opportunities for both businesses and families. i thank all of those involved in the original bill, senator schumer, mccain, rubio,
graham, menendez and flake, and i thank the members of the judiciary committee who all had a hand in changes to the bill, and i specifically want to thank senator hatch to worked with me on the i squared, the immigration innovation bill. the bill on the floor today contains many of the provisions from our i-squared bill that encouraged more american innovation. as you know, we passed this comprehensive immigration bill out of the judiciary committee on a bipartisan vote of 13-5, and i'm hopeful we can build on that kind of broad-based support on the senate floor as we saw when we began this debate. this isn't going to be simple. it isn't going to be easy, but the most important thing, the reason i'm optimistic we can get something done is the fact that we are all coming at this from the same basic starting point. democrats and republicans, senators from border states and senators from inland states, we can all agree on this. our current immigration system
is broken and changes must be made. the question now is how those changes should come about, and that's why we're having this debate, to find the common ground and pass a bill that is ultimately stronger because it reflects the needs and priorities of both parties in all regions of the country. passing comprehensive immigration reform will be a vital step forward for our country. it will be vital to our immigrant communities who have been separated from their families for too long. it will be vital to our security, and it will be vital to our economy to strengthen the work force, addressing our long-term fiscal challenges and promoting innovation. there are many strong and compelling arguments for immigration reform, but let me begin with the economic impact on our businesses and major industries. minnesota is a big agriculture state, just like the state of wisconsin, madam president. and i can't tell you how many farmers and agricultural businesses i've heard from who
tell me they rely on migrant workers and other immigrants to keep their operations going. i have heard it from high-tech start-ups, too, as well as big technology companies like 3m, st. jude, medtronic. i have heard it from the home builders, the construction companies, even hospitals and health care providers. these businesses represent a vast range of industries and interests, but when it comes to immigration reform, they all agree it's critical to their operations and it is a vital engine for growth and innovation and, in fact, history shows that immigrants have helped america lead the world in innovation and entrepreneurship for generations. madam president, more than 30% of u.s. nobel laureates were born in other countries. 90 of our fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants. 200 of our fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants or children of immigrants. workers, inventors, scientists, researchers from around the
world have literally built america, and in an increasingly global economy, they are a big part of keeping our country competitive today. if we want to continue to be a country that thinks, that invents, that exports to the world, then we can't afford to shut out the world's talent. it doesn't make sense to educate tomorrow's inventors in our colleges and our universities and then send them back to their other country so they can start the next google in india or in france. that's why i introduced the i-squared act with senator ranch to make much-needed reforms to allow engineers and scientists to come into our country. one of the things that the bill would do is to increase fees on employment-based green cards so that we can also reinvest in our own home-grown innovation pipeline. the idea here is that when companies get a green card, that part of that funding will be used for our schools, for
science, technology, engineering and math classes so we can educate our own students right here in america. my state, madam president, the unemployment rate is now at 5.4%. we actually have job openings for engineers, we have job openings for welders, and we would like those jobs to be filled from kids that go to the university of minnesota. we would like those kids' jobs -- those jobs to be filled by kids that get a degree at a tech school in minnesota, but right now when we have openings, we have to do a combination of things. we have to be educating our own kids and we have to be making sure that if there is a doctor who comes from another country, is willing to study at the university of minnesota or in rochester, minnesota, and then wants to do his or her residency right in america in an underserved area, in a place like inner city minneapolis or a place like fief river falls, minnesota, that we let them do that intern ship, that residency there instead of sending them packing to their own country. much of the legislation that is in the i-squared bill as i mentioned is included right here
in the bill we're considering. the health care leaders provision that i mentioned originally called the conrad 30 bill, something that i worked on with senator heitkamp and senator moran and others, that is also in this bill. here's something else that just makes good sense. bringing the roughly 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows, immigrants who are off the grid can't demand fair pay or benefits, and there are those who seek to take advantage of that. it's a bad thing for american workers whose wages are undercut and it's a bad thing for american families whose undocumented relatives are being exploited. in addition to the economic implications, having millions of undocumented people living in our country poses a serious threat to both national security and public safety. the bill takes the only rational and feasible approach to bringing these people out of the shadows by creating a fair, tough and accountable pathway to
citizenship for those who have entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas. it's not an easy path. you have to pay fines, you have to stay employed, you have to pass a background check, you go to the back of the line, you learn english and you wait for at least 13 years to become a citizen. and if you have committed a felony or three misdemeanors, you are not eligible. then you have to go back to your home country. keep in mind, none of these steps toward citizenship would even begin until we have done what is necessary to secure our borders. this bill immediately appropriates $4.5 billion towards adding more border patrol agents, more fencing and more technologies like aerial surveillance to prevent illegal crossings over the southern border. that is money that is being committed today, not a promise for future spending or something dependent on future congresses. that money will be spent to make our border more secure. i think it's also important to recognize that these new efforts would come on top of the
progress we have already made in recent years. some estimates show that net illegal migration over the mexican border is actually negative, meaning more people are going back or being sent back to mexico than are coming here illegally. we have seen a sea change over the last few years and part of it, of course, is because of enforcement efforts that are going on, many of them funded by this congress. but preventing illegal immigration isn't just about stopping people at the border. it's also about removing the incentive for people to come here illegally in the first place. one way we do that is by requiring employers to start using the everify system so they can check whether or not a person is authorized to work in this country. it's that simple. and to ensure the smoothest possible transition, i know some have had some issues with the everify system in the past, we do it over a five-year phase-in period based on the size and the type of the company. so smaller companies, farmers, those that will be harder to get to use the system, they go later. i believe our compromise on the
workplace enforcement issue is a good one, and it's reflective of the bipartisan balanced approach that this bill takes overall on so many other complex issues. the economic and security arguments for reform are compelling, madam president, but we know there is so much more to do. this is about maintaining america's role as a beacon for hope and justice in the world, particularly for those seeking refuge and asylum. this is something we know a lot about in minnesota where we have always opened our arms to people fleeing violence in their home countries. minnesota is home to the largest somali population in north america and the second largest hmong population in the united states. we are proud of the work these people have done. we actually had the first hmong legislator in the united states, and we believe we are better off because of the incredible diversity and entrepreneurial spirit people have brought to our state from other countries.
just as we have granted asylum to those fleeing violence in other countries, we must also look at those who flee violence here at home. that's why i feel so strongly about the need to ensure immigrant victims of domestic violence are not forced to suffer in silence. the bill we are considering includes two amendments i introduced in the judiciary committee that would protect immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and elder abuse. no person who is being abused should be forced to live in fear because they are worried they will lose their immigration status if they speak up. children shouldn't be forced to live in fear either, so we need to change our laws to ensure families aren't being torn apart by a system that is not only inefficient but expensive and cruel. 64,000 immigrant parents were separate interested their citizen children during the first six months of 2012 as a result of deportation, so this bill is about protecting families. it's also about building families. if i could say one thing about
the domestic abuse issue. i can't tell you how many cases we had when i was prosecutor where, in fact, a case would come into the office and the victim would be an immigrant and the perpetrator we would have found was threatening to get her deported or get her mother deported if she was illegal or get her sister deported or a family member deported if she reported it to the police. this bill fixes a lot of that with the way it handles the u-visa program as well as a number of the other amendments that i included, and it makes it easier to prosecute these perpetrators. as i mentioned, this bill is also about building families. minnesota leads the country in international adoptions, and i have seen the incredible joy an adopted child from another country can bring to a new mom or dad. that's why i have introduced with senator coats and senator landrieu a series of amendments to improve our system for international adoptions so that more children can find a loving home here in the united states. madam president, this bill is vital to our economy and to our
national security, but most importantly it is vital to maintaining america's remarkable heritage as a nation of immigrants. i myself here because of slovenian and swiss immigrants. you know a little bit about swiss immigrants in wisconsin. my grandpa on my dad's side worked 1,500 feet underground in the iron ore mines of eli, minnesota. his family came to northern minnesota in search of work, and the iron ore mines and forests of northern minnesota seemed the closest thing to home in slovenia. my grandpa never graduated from high school and he saved money in a coffee can to send my dad to college. my dad earned a journalism degree from the university of minnesota after getting a community college degree in northern minnesota at vermilion community college. he was a newspaper reporter and a long-time columnist for the minneapolis star tribune. my mom was a teacher and she taught second grade until she was 70 years old. her parents came from
switzerland to milwaukee, wisconsin, where my great grandma ran, guess what, a cheese shop. the depression was hard on their family and out of work for several years, my grandpa actually made and sold miniature swiss chalets made out of tiny pieces of wood. so i stand here today on the shoulders of immigrants, the granddaughter and great granddaughter of iron ore miners and cheese makers and craftsmen, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman and the first woman elected to the united states senate from the state of minnesota. it could not have been possible in a country that didn't believe in hard work, fair play and the promise of opportunity for people from other countries. it would not have been possible in a country that didn't open its arms to the risk takers, to the pilgrims and to the pioneers of this world. so this is a very special and enduring part of american history, and we need to make sure it continues for future generations in a way that is
fair, that is efficient and that is legal. passing this bill is important to our economy. it's important to our global competitiveness. it's important to our national security. but it is also important to millions of people who are here right now in the united states of america and others that want to come here and live that dream that my grandparents and my great grandparents lived. this is too important for us not to act. so my colleagues join us in passing this bill. let's get it done. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time?
consent that we vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: madam president, i believe that we must fix the immigration bill to make it fairer for women. the bill proposes a new merit-based point system for allocating green cards for future immigrants. simply put, the point system makes it harder for women than for men to come to this country. the theory behind the merit system is that we should give immigration preferences to people who hold advanced degrees or work in high-skilled jobs. this idea ignores the discrimination women endure in other countries. too many women overseas do not have the same educational or career advancement opportunities available to men in those countries. in practice, the bill's new point system takes that inequitable treatment abroad and saoeplts it into -- and cements it into our immigration law. this bill reduces the opportunities for immigrants to
come under the family-based green card system. currently approximately 70% of immigrant women come to this country through the family-based system. but this legislation increases the amount of employment-based visas. this bill basically moves us away from the family-based system and into economic considerations. nothing wrong with that, but we should be fair to women while we're doing it. the immigration avenues that favor men over women by nearly a four to one margin. using the past as our guide, it's easy to see how the new merit based system like heavy emphasis on factors like education and experience will disadvantage women who apply for green card status. we all want a stronger economy, but we should not sacrifice the hard-won victories of the women's equality movement to get
it. ensuring that women have an equal opportunity to come here isn't an abstract policy cause to me. when i was a young girl, my mother brought my brothers and me to this country in order to escape an abusive marriage. my life would be completely different if my mother wasn't able to take on that courageous journey. i want women like her, women who don't have the opportunities to succeed in their own countries, to be able to build a better life for themselves here. these disparities in the immigration bill are fixable. later this week a number of my female senate colleagues and i will introduce a proposal that would address the disparities in the new merit-based system. let's improve immigration reform to make this bill better for women who deserve a fair shake in our green card system. i note the absence of a quorum, madam president. the presiding officer: the
clerk will call the roll quorum call: mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, we'll be voting on some amendments coming up. i just want to share a few thoughts as we gather here in
advance of that. and one of the comments made earlier by one of our good senators indicated a belief that this immigration bill is going to raise salaries of american workers. i think that is what was said aoeufplt -- i've got to tell you. that's not accurate. a very, very serious issue that we're confronting here. i would say that this legislation does the opposite and creates an unprecedented flow of new workers into america, the likes of which we've not seen before. and it will have a direct result of depressing job opportunities and wages of american citizens, people who are legally here as immigrants, who also are looking for work and need jobs. it will impact the wages of african-americans, hispanics,
and any other group in america. and this is the reason why. under our current law, the legal flow of persons to america would be a million a year, the largest of any country in the world. over ten years that would be ten million. at this point we now have 11 million here. and these plus a backlog of five million more will total about 15 million people would be legalized in very short order under this legislation. some say they're already working here so there is not a problem on employment. but many of those workers are in the shadows. they're underemployed, may be working part time in restaurants and other places. and all of a sudden they'll be tkpwefpb legal status -- given legal status and be able to apply for any job in america.
this will be good for them. but the question is is it our duty to give our first responsibility to those who entered illegally. and how about those unemployed today and looking for work. wages today have dropped as much as 8%, 9%. wages are declining, not going up in america today. one of the big reasons according to professor borjas at harvard is the flow of labor from abroad causes the market to decline. in addition to that we have our current law that allows workers to come, temporary workers, guest workers who come for a period of time and then they can work. so, what happens to that flow of
workers today? well, they will double. the number of people that would be coming in to do temporary workers -- and you've got to understand, many for three years with their family. but re-up for another three years. they compete also for a limited number of jobs that legal immigrants would be competing for as well as citizens would be competing for. you have this bubble at once of 15 million. you've got a doubling of the current flow. in addition to that, the annual immigrant flow into our country will increase at least 50%. it could be more than that. that will go from a million a year to 1.5 million a year. over ten years that's 15 million. what we need to say is that in a country of 300 million people to whom we as elected officials owe
our primary responsibility, under this legislation if it were to pass, this 800,000 pages in this bill, would allow 30 million people to be placed on a permanent path to citizenship over this ten-year period, well above what would normally be ten million. and in addition to that, the flow of temporary guest workers, so-called, will be here -- will be double what the current rate is. how much time is left on this side, or i have? the presiding officer: senator, 17 minutes. mr. sessions: well, i would ask to be notified in five minutes.
senator vitter, i believe his airplane has been delayed. his amendment is projected to come up. i don't know if the leader will call it up if he's not able to get back. but it is a really excellent amendment. and it deals with a fundamentally flawed part of our immigration tim that the -- immigration system that the bill before us today makes worse, not better. it absolutely indisputably does. this is the current situation. six times congress in the last 10 or 15 years has passed legislation to require an entry-exit visa system. it's required that it be biometric. in other words, fingerprints or something like that. normally finer prints would be utilize -- fingerprints would be utilized. people are fingerprinted as they come into the country. it goes into the system. but we're not checking when
anybody leaves. people come legally on a visa and then they leave and nobody knows whether they left or not because we don't use a system when people exit. 40% of people now coming into the country illegally are coming through visa overstays. they get a legal visa, they come, they just don't leave. people don't know if they left or not because they're not clocked out. the 9/11 commission said this is wrong. you need a biometric entry and exit system at land, sea and airports. this bill, what does it do? it eliminates that language. it's already in law, been passed by congress. and inexplicably never carried out. it says you have a biographic or electronic system. it does not require a fingerprint type exit entry system. it only requires it at air and
seaports, not the land ports. a 9/11 commission said that won't work because people come all the time by air and they leave by land and you can't rely on it and it won't establish the right integrity to know whether overstayed or not. that makes perfect sense. so, senator vitter attempts to do that. he would have an integrated biometric entry-exit system operating and functioning at every land, air, and seaport. not just air and sea. prior to the process of any application for legal status pursuant to the original biometric exit law, a 2004 intel reform act recommendations. this is what current law says. in addition, before the implementation of any program granting temporary legal status, the department of homeland
security's secretary must submit written certification of the deployment of the system which will be fast tracked and approved through streamlined house and senate procedures. this amendment is added to the current bill, and it will be effective in accomplishing what we need. in other words, it's got a little trigger here that says you don't get your legal status until the congress gets what they have been directed to do by congress for over ten years and have just failed to do. and we have had a report done, a pilot project that showed in atlantic airport, for example, that people go into the airport, they catch a plane back home to england, jordan or india, wherever they go. they put their finger prints on a machine. it reads them as they go on through into the airport. what they found was that out of
27,000 thousand people in pilot test, that 140 were on the hit lit, the watch list for treufplts -- terrorism or other serious charges were against them. they were able to identify them before they fled or left the country. that is what the whole system is about. they found it didn't slow down the airport. they found it didn't cost nearly what people are saying it is. some have said it would be $25 billion. that is totally inknack rat. -- inaccurate. it will not cost anything like that according to this report. police officers have reading machines in their automobiles. it reads your print. if you've got a warrant out for your arrest somewhere for murder or drug dealing or terrorism, you gets apprehended. they recently caught a terrorist actually from ial, prosecuted
him in alabama. he was trying to get on a plane in atlanta. the presiding officer: the senator has used five minutes. mr. sessions: i reserve the balance of my time and yield the floor. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you, madam president. let me congratulate the gang of eight who worked on this immigration bill so assiduously. senator pat leahy, the chairman of the committee, for doing a lot of good work. and there is much in this bill that i support. i support the pathway to citizenship. i support the dream act. i support providing legal status to foreign workers who are working in agriculture. we have to have strong border security and i support that effort. but let me tell you what i do not support. what i do not support is that at a time when nearly 14% of
americans do not have a full-time job, at a time when youth unemployment is somewhere around 16% and kids from california to maine are desperately seeking employment, i do not support a huge expansion in the guest worker program that will allow hundreds of thousands of entry-level guest workers to come into this country. and this is important for at least two reasons. you have kids all over america who are wondering how they're going to afford to be able to go to college. and many of these young people are going out looking for summer jobs, looking for part-time jobs in order to help them pay college, pay for college. and that is terribly important. and we should not pass legislation which makes it
harder for young people to get jobs in order to put away a few bucks to help pay for college. and then there's another group of people and those are young people, madam president, who we don't talk enough about. not everybody in america is going to college. there are millions of young people who graduate high school who want to go out and start their careers and make some money and move up the ladder. there are others who have dropped out of high school. we cannot turn our backs on those young people. they need jobs as well. and if young people, young high school graduates, for example, are unable to find entry-level jobs, how will they ever be able to develop the skills, the experience and the confidence they need to break into the job market? and if they don't get those skills, if they don't get those
jobs and that income, there is a very strong possibility that they may end up in antisocial or self-destructive activities. right now in street corners all over this country there are kids who have nothing to do. and what are they doing when they stand on street corners? what they are doing is getting into drugs, they're getting into crime, they're getting into self-destructive activity. we already have too many young people in this country using drugs. we already have too many young people involved in criminal activity. as a nation, we have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including china. let us put our young people into jobs, not into jails. as i have heard on this floor time and time again, the best antipoverty program is a
paycheck. well, let us give the young people of this country a paycheck. let's put them to work. let's give them at least the entry-level jobs they need in order to earn some income today but even more importantly, let us allow them to gain the job skills they need so that they know what an honest day's work is about and can move up the economic ladder and get better jobs in the future. madam president, at a time when poverty in this country remains at an almost 50-year high and when unemployment among young people is extremely high, i worry deeply that we are creating a permanent underclass, a large number of people who are poorly educated and who have limited or no job skills. this is an issue that we must address and must address now. either we make a serious effort
to find jobs for our young people now, or we're going to pay letter in terms of increased crime and the cost of incarceration. now, why is this issue of youth unemployment relevant to the debate that we are having on immigration reform? and the answer is obvious to anyone who has read the bill. this legislation, this immigration reform legislation, increases youth unemployment by bringing into this country through the j-1 program and the h-2b program, hundreds of thousands of low-skilled, entry-level workers who are taking the jobs that young americans need. at a time when youth unemployment in this country is over 16% and the teen unemployment rate is over 25%, many of the jobs that used to be done by young americans are now being performed by foreign college students through the j-1 summer work travel program.
other entry-level foreign workers come into this country through the h-2b guest worker program. we have heard, madam president, a lot of discussion about high-tech workers and how they can create jobs and all that. that is an issue for another discussion. right now what we are talking about is hundreds of thousands of foreign workers coming into this country not to do great scientific work, not as great entrepreneurs to start businesses, not as ph.d. engineers but as waiters and waitresses, kitchen help, lifeguards, front desk workers at hotels and resorts, ski instructors, cooks, chefs, chamber maids, landscapers, parking lot attendants, cashiers, security guards and many other entry-level jobs. does it really make sense to anyone, when so many of our kids are desperately looking for a way to earn an honest living,
that we say to those kids, sorry, you've got to get to the back of the line because we're bringing in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to do the jobs that you could do tomorrow? madam president, the j-1 program for foreign college students is supposed to be used as a cultural exchange program, a program to bring young people into this country to learn about our customs and to support international cooperation and understanding. that is why it is administered by the state department. and i would say to senator grassley, i will finish in a few moments and give the floor to you. but instead of doing that, this program has morphed, this j-1 program has morphed into a low-wage jobs program to allow corporations like mcdonald's, dunkin donuts, disney world, hershey's, main other major resorts around the country, to
replace young american workers with cheaper labor from overseas. madam 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 program does not even require american -- does not even require businesses to recruit or advertise for american workers. what they can do is pay minimum wage, they don't have to advertise for american workers. and, guess what? for the foreign workers, they do not have to pay social security tax, they don't have to pay medicare tax, they don't have to pay unemployment tax. so essentially we are creating a situation where it is absolutely advantageous for an employer to hire a foreign worker rather
than an american worker. so, madam president, what i have done is introduce two pieces of legislation to address this issue. number one basically says that while i strongly support cultural programs -- bringing young people here from abroad's a great idea -- at this moment, with high unemployment, we cannot have those people competing with young americans for a scarce number of jobs. so we eliminate the employment element of the j-1 program. and the second bill that i've said is that if we can't do that -- and i hope we can -- at the very least, we need a jobs program for american kids. not just a summer jobs -- summer jobs program but a yearlong jobs program. let us not turn our backs on kids who want to get into the labor market, who want to develop a career. they need something in the summertime. they need something yearlong. and we have introduced
legislation to do just that. madam president, my time has expired and i would yield the floor if he wants it to senator grassley. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: we will soon be voting on the thune amendment and i rise to speak in support of the thune amendment. this amendment would strengthen the bill and beef up the triggers that precede the legalization program. senator thune's amendment would ensure that current law regarding double-layer fencing is implemented. now, over the years, administration after administration -- and that's not just the democrat or just a republican, but both -- has failed to enforce the laws on the books. the american people don't want more laws that will simply be ignored. they want the laws on the books to be enforced.
this amendment by mr. -- senator thune would ensure that the border is more secure before any legalization program is carried out. in a new cnn poll released just today, 36% of those polled said that they favored a path to citizenship for people who have come to this country undocumented. but 62% of those polled said that it was more important to increase border security to reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants coming into the country without permission from our government. so if you stand with the american people and if you wanteif you wantthe border secue for the thune amendment. it's this simple. when this issue comes up in my town meetings in my state of iowa and people are saying, what's going on with
immigration, and you sit down and you try to explain to the people how this bill is moving along or what it might include, invariably there's a lot of people in the audience that said, we don't need more legislation; we need to have the laws on the books enforced. and i think this is backed up by this poll that we've had from cnn today. in addition to that, i think it clarifies very much that people want the laws on the books enforced, but more importantly, they would expect people that take an oath to uphold the constitution and the laws would actually carry out the laws that they're elected to carry out. so i hope that you'll vote for the thune amendment. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
quorum call: mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment number 1197 offered by the senator from south dakota, there thune. -- mr. thune. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
are 39, the nays are 54. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. we need order. order in the senate. mr. leahy: mr. president, the senate is still not in order. the presiding officer: please, please, senators, take your conversations outside the chamber, if needed. the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i wish to yield to the senator from louisiana. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, i offer this amendment, this is a technical amendment. three technical but important changes to the child citizenship act of 2000. senator coats, senator blunt and senator klobuchar have helped lead the effort on this. i have explained it numerous times on the floor and i think the leaders have agreed on a voice vote. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i have spoken with the distinguished
ranking member, senator grassley. i understand we are able to agree to the landrieu amendment by voice vote. i ask unanimous consent the 60-vote threshold with respect to the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i move the question. the presiding officer: the question is on the landrieu amendment. all those in favor signify by saying aye. opposed. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on amendment numbered 1228 offered by the senator from louisiana, mr. vitter. mr. leahy: mr. president, before we do that, i have been asked to make a request that the -- i just want to remind everybody the next vote will be a ten-minute vote. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, this
amendment is very simple but it's important. it would finally demand and require execution and enforcement of the so-called us-visit system, an entry-exit system to catch visa overstays. mr. president, this system was first mandated by congress in 1996. we've had six additional votes demanding it by congress since then. the 9/11 terrorist or visa overstays. as a result, this system was strongly, strongly recommended, one of the top recommendations of the 9/11 commission. we must put this in place as we act on immigration, mr. president, and this amendment would get that done. i reserve the balance of my time. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i
agree that we need to better track visa overstays by fully by a biometric entry-exit system and all air, sea and land ports of entry is the kind of unrealistic trigger we can't adopt. implementation of this amendment would be prohibitively expensive , cause all kinds of delays. the judiciary committee, we adopted an amendment offered by senator hatch who presents a more reasonable approach, so i would -- i would urge a no vote on this amendment. i ask for the yeas and nays. mr. vitter: mr. president, is there any time remaining? the presiding officer: nine seconds left, sir. mr. vitter: mr. president, we have talked about this for 1996. 9/11 happened. when are we going to do it if not now? i urge support of the amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 36, nays 58. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. leahy: move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on amendment 198 offered by the senator from montana, mr. tester. mr. leahy: mr. president, before we begin, could we have order? the presiding officer: yes, we will, sir. senators, please take your conversations outside the chamber if needed. the senate will come to order. mr. tester: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. this amendment will include tribal representatives on the
d.h. border task force. in this country within 100 miles of the border we have 13 indian reservations. if we are to make sure the borders will be secure, indians need to be a part of the conversation. they have unique government-to-government status. their input is critically important. this amendment won't cost anything, has bipartisan support, and it will add two tribal representatives, two on the north and two on the southern region, to the department of homeland security border task force. i encourage you for a "yea" vote on this amendment. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i have no problems with this amendment. it ensures that tribal communities are represented. the bill's task force is a new and independent entity designed to provide recommendations about immigration border security.
mr. tester is adding four additional members to the task force to ensure the tribes are represented. however, this amendment doesn't fundamentally change the bill. there is really no opposition to making sure that the tribes have a voice in policy. of course this task force doesn't have any real power. it only makes recommendations. the secretary isn't required to address their concerns or enact their recommendations. too often the secretary doesn't take into consideration our recommendations. even now she has a hard time in implementing laws. again, while the amendment is noncontroversial, members should know this task force is a fig leaf for actual border security. mr. leahy: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: the yeas and nays have been called for. is there a second? there is a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this issue the yeas are 94, the nays are zero. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is agreed to. mr. leahy: move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and then table. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: i thank the senator from vermont for yielding. i wanted to speak to what is an historic debate on the floor of the united states senate, that's the debate we're having with regards to comprehensive immigration reform. we have here in the united states congress a major opportunity to finally pass meaningful, strong, bipartisan legislation. immigration reform is something that the congress has grappled with in fits and starts for over a decade. in fact, i remember, mr. president, the summer seven or eight years ago when this senate came very close to
passing comprehensive immigration reform and fell just short of that goal. but today, the need to act has become imperative. we can't ignore it. my constituents in colorado from across the spectrum and across my state who are hard working, they're small business owners, they're religious leaders, farmers, they're citizens, they believe that now is the time. and if you look at our economy, our economy which is beginning to gain strength, the economy is beginning to get its legs under it, it, too, needs the labor market certainly that would come from immigration reform. so let's seize this opportunity, mr. president, to pass commonsense legislation that our constituents expect. mr. president, i'm looking right over the dais and on -- above the dais i see e pluribus unum. out of many, one.
that's a simple motto, it's engraved in this great senate chamber, and it's one of the daily reminders that we are a nation of immigrants. throughout our history, millions of immigrants, including my ancestors and yours braved hardship and great risks to come here. and why was that, mr. president? they sought freedom, they sought opportunity, they wanted a better life for their families. and today's immigrants in that same spirit continue to brave great risks and hardship to attain the american dream. we've heard from fellow americans who are opposed to fixing our broken system, those who, unfortunately, see immigrants as a burden on our country or who want to enact overly punitive measures to punish undocumented immigrants and i would ask them to remember that our country was built, it was forged by immigrants whose blood and sweat built the america we know today.
to oppose this legislation with all due respect, mr. president, is to deny the promise our ancestors and even the framers expected us to extend to those outside our borders. yes, we are a nation of laws and we don't take lightly the violation of our laws. but we are also a nation that welcomes foreigners who want to build the american dream. and i'd like to challenge my colleagues to remember that we are a better, stronger country because of our immigrants whose first glimpse of america was the statue of liberty emblazoned with the words by the poet emma lazarus, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. our country and our economy were built from the ground up by the hard work and ingenuity of
immigrants and their families. in recent years, one in four of america's new small business owners have been immigrants. one in four high-tech start-ups in america were founded by immigrants. and 40% of fortune 500 companies when they started were created by either first- or second-generation immigrants. mr. president, if you look at our system today, unfortunately, because it's broken it's made it harder for would-be business owners that i just described to create jobs and spur our nation's economic development. let me give you another example. right now our system invites the best and the brightest from all over the world to come and study at our top universities. and once they've gotten the training they need to create a new invention or build a new business, listen to this -- our system tells them to go back home. that's not right. that's not right.
i'm pleased and honored and humbled and a little bit proud, mr. president, of working for years with coloradans at my side to solve this problem, and to make the u.s. a place where entrepreneurs are encouraged to stay, to build businesses and gro to grow our economy. and in that vein i want to thank the gang of eight for their hard work and in crafting a bill that's built upon those principles. entrepreneurs embody the american dream. mr. president, fixing our broken system is about more than businesses and start-ups. it's principally about families. and let me tell you, to say that our current broken immigration system is bad for families would be an understatement. thousands of fathers, myself included, gathered with their
families this past weekend to celebrate father's day. and i couldn't help but think of the thousands of fathers our immigration system has separated from their loved ones. or the countless fathers living today in colorado who struggle with the fear every day that they could be separated from their families. fathers like jorge. jorge has been living in the united states for 23 years. he's the proud father of four u.s. citizen children, including a u.s. army corporal. he's been contributing to our economy in colorado and therefore to the american economy in his -- and his community for many, many years. and with immigration reform, jorge will be able to come out of the shadows where he will be finally able to realize the american dream. without the constant fear of being deported and separated from his children.
as i've suggested, mr. president, unfortunately, jorge's situation is not unique. the fact that our current system has brought us to the place where at any moment thousands of families can be ripped apart is just not right. this bill would give jorge and millions of others like him a tough but fair shot at earning legal status and eventually citizenship. make no mistake, this process will not be without significant cost and it will not be easy. let me tell you why i draw that conclusion. in order to get earned legalization, jorge would have to pass a background check, pay back taxes, penalties, and fees, demonstrate work history, learn english, and go to the back of the line behind others who have also gone through the process. this is a tough but fair road ahead, a path negotiated by
senators of both parties and supported by the american people. today there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the united states, some cross the border illegally, others have overstayed their visas. regardless of how they came, the overwhelming majority of these folks, like jorge, are just trying to earn a living and provide for their families. there are thousands of immigrants, mr. president, in colorado like jorge working in the shadows where they are vulnerable to exploitive employers paying them less than the minimum wage, making them work without overtime, and denying them any of the benefits given to their other employees. that pushes down standards for all workers. what i'm saying is that our current immigration system has fostered an underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everyone else. my conclusion is that this bill
will ensure that businesses are all playing by the same set of rules. and it includes tough penalties for businesses that do not. the underlying bill implements an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft in the hiring of unauthorized workers and send a clear message that will prevent future waves of illegal immigration. that's a commonsense solution, the kind of solution i've heard coloradans ask for. let me turn to the border, mr. president. this legislation contains historic resources and measures to better secure our borders. last week i heard time and time again borders first, borders first. and to the coloradans who expect border security like i do, i say the best thing we can do for border security is pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
let me talk about the progress we've made over the last several years. we've put $17 billion in resources to protect our borders. and as a result, illegal border crossings are near their lowest level in decades. let's be clear, there's still room for significant improvement and the strong border security proifertions in this bill help us get there. in fact, the underlying bill would be the biggest single commitment to border security in our nation's history. why? it would put another $6.5 billion on top of what we are already spending toward stronger, smarter, more innovative security along our borders. it would also direct the secretary of homeland security to submit to congress a comprehensive border security plan and a southern border fencing strategy. moreover, the legislation would delay the process of granting legal status to immigrants until the plan and strategy have been
deployed, a mandatory employment verification system has been implemented and an electronic biometric exit-entry system is in place at major airports and seaports. finally, this legislation would hold employers accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. we are saying no longer will we colonel tol rate an underground market of workers who are illegally employed and many times exploited. let me turn as i begin to close, mr. president, to a special group of coloradans who would be helped and this is a group about whom we all should care and who i certainly care deeply about. that's our students. and i'm very pleased and excited that the provisions from the dream act are included in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that we're considering. i've stood alongside a steadfast group of colleagues as we fought
for the passage of the dream act for many years. and along the way i've talked to and more important listened to countless colorado students who have looked me in the eyes and asked for their government to help give them status and opportunity and potential so that they can go on to be the next generation of american leaders without the daily fear of deportation. we're talking about thousands of colorado students who were brought to the united states at a very young age, wasn't their decision to be brought here, but they came here with their parents. that cohort, literally thousands of these wonderful, enthusiastic, energetic coloradans, they're poised to graduate college or join the military and in the process strengthen our country and grow our economy. let's do the right thing. by the dreamers. mr. president, i say to my
colleagues and implore my colleagues, let's not stand in the way of what americans want and what our economy needs. our nation will be stronger when our borders are secure, when employers are held accountable for the workers they hire, when jobs are filled with qualified and documented workers who contribute to the economy and undocumented workers who are currently here are held accountable and given an opportunity to earn their legal status and then citizenship. so for my colleagues who are here today who are serious about fixing our broken immigration system, let's tele,actually, have a serious debate to improve this legislation. let's vote on amendments with sincere intent to improve this bill. let's work productively to find a bipartisan solution to this huge national issue. in the same way that the gang of eight have worked for the past many months. as i said in my opening remarks,
mr. president, we have an historic opportunity to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. we have an historic opportunity to show the senate at its best. having the opportunity to openly and honestly debate this legislation is one of the many reasons we ran to serve in the senate in the first place. the public has placed their trust in us to get this right. and we can. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to present and discuss the next amendment that i've personally offered which i'm going to be bringing to the senate floor and that's amendment number 1330, to prohibit anyone who's been convicted of offenses under the violence against women and children act from gaining legal status under the bill.
mr. president, i think if you ask the american people if they support the outline that has been presented as the guiding outline for the gang of eight, the vast majority would say, absolutely, we support those principles. i would say i support those principles as they were enumerated. the trouble is, in my opinion, when you actually read the bill -- and let's remember, particularly as we're in the middle of the debacle of executing obamacare -- it's important to read the bill. it's important to know what's in the bill. in my opinion, the trouble is when you actually read the bill, it doesn't stand up to those principles, it doesn't match. and one example of that is the absolute commitment that was made by the gang of eight early on in this process that individuals with a serious or
significant criminal background would not get legal status and would be deported. they were very, very specific about that. in their bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform, which the authors of this bill, the so-called gang of eight, released in january of this year, they said very specifically -- quote -- "individuals with a serious criminal background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation." very, very clear. but then, again, when you actually read the bill, i believe it comes up far short of that. it does not include significant crimes, serious crimes which it should include as a disqualification. and, mr. president, one of the areas that i think is the
clearest example of that is offenses under the violence against women act, offenses that have to do with domestic violence, with child abuse. those are serious, serious, violent offenses that every american citizen, particularly women, would certainly consider very consequential, very significant, very serious undermining their fundamental security. and so this vitter amendment number 1330, which i'll be presenting and getting a vote on later in this debate, is simple. it simply says those criminal offenses, a conviction of any of those criminal offenses under the violence against women act -- we're talking about domestic violence, we're talking about child abuse -- are disqualifiers. nobody can gain legal status if
they're convicted of any of those offenses. that's a disqualifier, that's grounds for deportation. again, mr. president, it's very important that we read the bill. it's very important that if anything passes here, it actually matches up to the promises made to the american people, to the rhetoric the american people have heard for weeks and months. and this is an important area where we need to get it right. so i hope all of my colleagues, democrats and republicans, agree that these are serious offenses. certainly everybody seemed to agree in the important discussion about the violence against women act. certainly everybody seemed to agree then that those offenses that are all about domestic violence and child abuse are very serious, very significant, involve or threaten violence. and certainly they should be
disqualifiers for a person becoming legalized under this bill and they should be grounds for immediate deportation. i hope this is beyond debate. i hope this amendment, as it should, he gets widespread bipartisan support. so, mr. president, i very much look forward to continuing this discussion about amendment 1330. i very much look forward to getting the vote it will get because it deserves to get it and i will demand it. and i very much hope for and look forward to a strong, bipartisan vote in support -- in support of stopping violence against women, in support of furthering the protections of the violence against women act. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know that the parties are working on a unanimous consent agreement for the next tranche of amendments to come forward,
and i expect and hope that mine will be one of them but that's not quite completed yet. so rather than ask for unanimous consent to call up my amendment now, what i'd like to do is just talk about it a little bit and explain to my colleagues what's in it. my amendment, we call the results amendment, because it's necessary because in the current form of the gang of eight bill, so-called, it does not include any genuine guarantee of border security. you don't have to take my word for it. all you have to do is look at the chart behind me here where senator durbin, one of the four democrats, four republicans who were responsible for coming up with the underlying so-called gang of eight bill, he said it in january that in that bill, a pathway to citizenship would be contingent upon securing the border. he said that in january.
and i think a lot of people to took -- took him and others at their word, only to find outcome june, six months later, june 2012, when he was quoted, that the gang has -- quote -- "delinked the pathway to citizenship and border enforcement." what that means is the underlying bill gives a promise, another hollow, unenforceable promise, and based upon our experience, i think the american people would be justified in saying, you know what? you're asking us to trust you at a time when there is a genuine trust deficit with regard to the federal government. we've heard too many promises. we want guarantees that these promises will be delivered on. and that's what my amendment is all about. in the underlying bill, all we have is -- well, first of all we have 100% situational awareness
requirement, a 90% apprehension of people who are crossing the border illegally, but all that's required in the underlying bill is the submission of a plan and substantial completion of that plan, which nobody's seen the contents of. and that's ten years from now. i don't think anyone would be out of bounds in saying, you know what? you may have good intentions, you may actually believe what you say, but how can we possibly know that some unwritten plan that's going to be in place ten years from now will actually be successful in accomplishing the very goals that you set out in your bill. my amendment is slightly different because what it does is it embraces those same standards, 100% situational awareness, 90% cross-border apprehensions, and it says you can't transition from
probationary status to legal permanent residency until it's certified that you've accomplished those goals. what that does, simply stated, it doesn't punish anybody but what it does is it lines up all the incentives for those of us who want to secure the border and have a border -- immigration system that actually works and those for whom a pathway to citizenship is the holy grail. that that's what they want more than anything else. so it really realigns incentives on the right and the left and gets us in a position where we can actually look the american people in the face and say, we have as close as humanly possible a guarantee that these promises will ultimately be quept. my amendment requires -- be kept. my amendment requires the department of homeland security secretary, the customs and border security protection and the department of homeland security inspector general, in consultation with the government
accountability office, comptroller general, to jointly certify that the following triggers are met before registered provisional immigrants can adjust to lawful permanent residents or green card status. first, as i said, the department of homeland security has to have achieved and maintained full situational awareness of the entire southern border for not less than one year. meaning the department of homeland security has the capability to conduct continuous and integrated monitoring, sensing, or you are vails of each and every one-mile segment of the southern border or its immediate vicinity. now, some may way full border situational awareness? how are we going to do that? are we going to link border patrol arm to arm across the 2,000-mile border? or are we just going to build a fence, as some have advocated, a fence along the 2,000-mile
border? well, the fact of the matter is we're going to use the best technology and the best strategy to make sure that the resources that our united states military have deployed in afghanistan and iraq and which have been tested along the southern border, are available so that by virtue of radar, eyes in the sky, dirigibles, unmanned aerial vehicles, that a combination of this connected to the censors on the ground will make sure that the border patrol knows what's happening along the border and when people try to cross and enter illegally. and then it's up to them to hit the 90% operational control requirement in both the underlying bill and in my amendment. so the department of homeland security is required to achieve operational control for not less than one year, meaning that it has an effectiveness
apprehension rate of not less than 90% in each and every sector of the southern border. senator mccain i saw this morning said that he expects to have a letter from the head of the border patrol that says that that standard is imminently doable given the proper resources. and so if it's imminently doable, then i would like to suggest, contrary to what the majority leader said a few days ago, this is not a poison pill but this is giving the american people the confidence that we actually are going to do what's technologically feasible and which i believe they have a right to ex expect if we are gog to be generous in the way we treat the 11 million people here and provide them with not only the opportunity to apply for probation and to work, if they call phi and if they maintain the terms of that probation, but if they're successful, to
ultimately apply ten years hence for legal permanent residency, for those who want that and have kept -- played by the rules. the third trigger in my amendment is one that maintains the underlying provision requiring the department of homeland security to implement an everify system nationwide. what this means is that the current situation where individuals who want to work may have fake documents claiming to be somebody they're not, maybe it's somebody else's social security number, in order to get hired. but the employer is not expected to be the police. they're not exb to be able to look behind -- expected to be able to look behind these documents. but we know that massive identity theft and document fraud occurring in such a way as to circumvent the efforts to enforce our system and to restore legality to the system when it comes to people who want to come and work here. so that's the third one. and the fourth one, in order to fill a gaping hole in the bill
with respect to interior enforcement, the results amendment requires the department of homeland security to initiate removal proceedings for at least 90% of visa overstays. who collectively currently account for 40% of illegal immigration. now, i think that surprises a lot of people to learn that it's not just our porous borders, it's people who enter the country legally who simply overstay their visa and melt into the great american landscape. and unless they happen to get caught for committing a crime of some kind and they will typically not be identified or detained. this is simply unacceptable and my amendment is designed to guarantee that the department of homeland security will implement a procedure which has been required for 17 years now. president clinton signed a provision into law requiring a
biometric entry and exited system. and now when you enter the country on a foreign visa, you're required to give fingerprints. that's your biometric identifier, but there's no way and no means by which to check whether you have left the country when your visa has expired. and this is designed to deal with that 40e% source of illegal immigration. my amendment authorizes the creation of a southern border security commission similar to the one in the underlying bill, but does so in a way that respects the constitution and federalism. my amendment removes washington, d.c., appointees from the commission and allows state governors to immediately begin advising the department on gaining operational control of the southern border. i think this is very important because while i've heard colleagues here in the -- in the senate who have good intentions but i think sometimes their only
consciousness of what the border may look like is derived from movies that they have seen or novels that they have read. this requires consultation with the people that know the border communities best, and that is the people who live there and the state governors who govern states on our u.s.-mexico border. my amendment also requires the secretary of homeland security to issue a comprehensive southern border security strategy within 120 days of enactment. now, people who are listening may say i thought the department of homeland security already had a southern border security strategy, and if it doesn't, why the heck not? well, this would compel the secretary who amazingly to most people in my state when she declared the border is secure, she nearly provoked laugh terrace much as anything else because it's patently and demonstrably not true.
but this amendment would require such a strategy within 120 days of enactment of the bill and head start a course for achieving and maintaining full situational awareness and operational control of the southern border. the secretary would also be required to submit semi annual reports on implementation. this amendment would also streamline and improve the strategy required under the underlying bill. for example, it combines the southern border security strategy and the southern border fencing strategy for administrative clarity and economies to scale. it also addresses the oversight in the underlying bill by requiring the department of homeland security to develop a strategy to reduce land port of entry wait times by 50% in order to facilitate legitimate commerce and encourage lawful cross-border trade. this is something that really i think is not sufficiently appreciated. mexico is our third largest
trading partner. six million jobs in america depend on cross-border trade with mexico. why in the world would we want to do anything that would make cross-border lawful trade worse, and right now by failing to update our infrastructure at the ports of entry and to make sure that we have adequate staffing here, there are huge wait lines which prove very useful to the people who want to smother drugs and people across the border. so this would have a way of separating the legitimate trade and traffic from the people who are up to no good, the drug dealers, the human traffickers and the like. there was a question that's arisen, as you might expect, about how are we going to pay for all this? that's a good question and it's an important question. my amendment creates a comprehensive immigration reform trust fund similar to that in the underlying bill, and ultimately the goal is for fees
and fines to fund this entire piece of legislation, but my amendment combines all border security funding streams and makes $6.5 billion of these funds available immediately for implementing the southern border security strategy. the results amendment increases the number of border patrol agents and customs and border protection officers by 5,000 each. now, some people have mistakenly said i want to add 10,000 border patrol to the border on top of the 20,000 who are already there. well, that's not entirely accurate. we want 5,000 more, because if you have this great technology which is going to give you eyes in the sky 100% situational awareness, when this technology identifies people trying to cross the border, you have to have somebody to go get them and to detain them, and that's why border patrol are important. in some parts of our 1,200-mile
border in texas alone, there are huge stretches of land that are vulnerable to cross-border traffic. that's why the rio grande sector in south texas is now the single most crossed sector. the other day when i was in brooks county, the head of the border patrol south sector in tt area told me that one day they had 700 people coming across the border that they detained. we don't know how many got away, but they did detain 700 people. 400 of them came from countries other than mexico. in other words, mexico's economy is doing much better, and it's less and less insentive for people to cross to the united states to work if they have got a job where they live, but in central america, things are pretty bad right now, and so 400 out of the 700 in one day came from central america, and literally people could come from anywhere around the world if they have the money and the
determination to penetrate our southern border. so it's important that we have increased numbers of border patrol as well as customs and border protection officers to help facilitate legitimate commerce and to detain people trying to cross illegally. by the way, the underlying bill already has a provision for additional c.b.p. officers, customs and border protection officers, and my amendment would increase that number by 3,500 and add 5,000 border patrol to it. the results amendment also improves emergency border resource appropriations by ensuring that deployment decisions are consistent with the comprehensive strategy and not done on a piece -- piecemeal, disconnected sort of way. it's important that we have a combination of not only boots on the ground, infrastructure but also that technology that i think we would all agree upon, much of which the american
taxpayer has already paid for because it's being deployed by the united states military in places like afghanistan and iraq. what we need to do is transfer some of that to the homeland security department, another part of the federal government, and to implement it to help provide that situational awareness and enforcement. my amendment also authorizes a billion dollars a year for six years. it doesn't appropriate it, it authorizes it, emergency port of entry personnel and infrastructure improvements. i have already touched on that a moment ago, but the whole idea of the underlying bill is to provide a guest worker program, a legal means to come and work in the united states, and the idea is that will allow law enforcement to focus on the bad actors. this has the similar rationale. the results amendment further improves the land ports of entry by allowing the general services administration to enter into public-private partnerships to
improve infrastructure and operations. this amendment also repurposes the tucson sector earmark in the underlying bill to the full southern border to help ensure that effective briewrt prosecutions are increased in every sector, not just in one in tucson. by making the improvements to the state criminal alien assistance program, the so-called scap bill, my amendment would help ensure that state and local governments are swiftly and fully compensated for their assistance in detaining criminal aliens who have been convicted of offenses and who are waiting trial. one of the great frustrations in my state, given our common border with mexico and the failure of the federal government to live up to its responsibilities when it comes to border security is much of the cost of that is borne by local governments and local taxpayers in counties along the u.s.-mexico border, particularly
when it comes to education, health care and law enforcement. this scap provision in my amendment would help make sure that in the law enforcement area that state and local law enforcement officials are indemnified and indeed encouraged to help cooperate in detaining criminal aliens who have been convicted of offenses and are awaiting trial. my amendment would also create the southern border security assistance grant program to help border law enforcement officials target drug traffickers, human traffickers, human smugglers and violent crime. again, the federal law enforcement agencies can't do it by themselves, and local and state law enforcement in texas don't expect them to, but they do expect a little bit of help, financial help, particularly when it comes to overtime, when it comes to equipment that is necessary to supplement the federal effort or to fill the gap when the federal government leaves a gap in law enforcement
efforts. my amendment would also remove a controversial provision in the underlying bill that would prevent emergency deportation of serious criminals. my amendment would remove a controversial disclosure bar that would prevent law enforcement and national security officials from obtaining critical information contained in legalization applications filed under this bill. my amendment would allow these officials to request and obtain information in connection with an independent criminal, national security or civil investigation. and this is really directed at one of the biggest problems in the 1986 amnesty that ronald reagan signed, because he signed an amnesty for three million people premised on the idea that we were actually going to enforce the law and we would never need to do that again. but so much of that amnesty was riddled with fraud and criminal
activity because the confidentiality provisions which prohibited law enforcement from investigating and detecting fraud and criminality, and if we want to maintain the integrity of the provisions of this bill, we need to make sure that our law enforcement officials are not blinded but actually they have the ability to investigate these matters for criminal national security or as a result of a civil investigation. my amendment would allow the customs service to turn over evidence of criminal activity or terrorism contained in legalization applications filed under the bill to other law enforcement agencies after the application has been denied and all administrative appeals have been exhausted. this would greatly work to reduce the potential for mass fraud that occurred in the 1986 amnesty bill, and it would allow the application process to maintain its basic integrity and
ensure that the national security is protected. my amendment would also give american diplomatic officials more flexibility to share foreigners' visa records with our allies by clarifying that the state department may share visa records with a foreign government on a case-by-case basis for the purpose of determining removability or eligibility for a visa, admission or other immigration benefits, not just for crime prevention investigation and punishment, or when sharing is in the united states national interests. my amendment would further improve the public safety by denying probationary status, something called r.p.i. or registered provisional immigrant status, to any person who has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, child abuse, assault with bodily injury, violation of a protective order under the violence against women act, or
drunk driving. these are serious offenses, and the consequences are often tragic. the underlying bill would allow the vast majority of immigrants who have committed these crimes to automatically become registered provisional immigrants and ultimately hold open to them the possibility they could become american citizens. i think we need to draw a very bright line between those whose only offense is trying to come here for a better life and those who have shown such contempt for our laws and american law and order that they commit crimes, we should not reward them with a registered provisional immigrant or probationary status. my amendment also removes an unjustified provision in the underlying bill that would allow repeat criminals with multiple convictions to automatically obtain legal status so long as they were convicted of the multiple offenses on the same day. i know that sounds very strange,
but in the underlying bill, if you commit multiple offenses on one day, they don't count as separate offenses for purposes of the bar, if you commit three misdemeanors or a felony. so my amendment would fix that. my amendment would also remove a dangerous provision in the underlying bill that would allow the secretary of the department of homeland security unfettered discretion to waive authority -- to waive this criminal activity prohibition and to gain -- allow people to gain legal status, even if they are repeat criminals who have been convicted of three or more offenses. my amendment would strike a controversial provision allowing deportees and persons currently located outside the united states to qualify for probationary status. i don't know how many people have actually focused on this provision. i think most people thought this is for people who were in the shadows in the united states who
simply their only offense was a violation of our criminal -- or immigration laws to come here and work, but this underlying bill would allow people who have already been deported and who have committed crimes already to re-enter the country and to qualify for probationary status. my amendment would change that and fix that. my amendment would require the secretary of homeland security through her designees to conduct interviews for applicants or r.p.i. status convicted of a criminal offense in order to determine whether or not the applicant is a danger to public safety. i can imagine that somebody might have committed some misdemeanor offense. but upon further inquiry and examination, they may not be deemed a threat to the public safety. and that's what the purpose of that interview requirement would be. we also close a