tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 20, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
in their typical generosity and compassion accepted that based on the representation that it would never happen again. in 1996, 17 years ago, president bill clinton signed into law the requirement for a biometric entry-exit system which would address the 40% of illegal immigration that occurs because people enter illegally and simply overstay and melt into the great american landscape unless they happen to commit a crime or are otherwise caught by law enforcement. we cannot ask the american people trust us because of this litany and sad story of broken promises when it comes to immigration reform. that's why we need real enforcement. that's why my amendment needs to pass and not be tabled. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i support the tabling of it. there may be some good parts in it but most of it is bad. the billions of additional
taxpayer dollars i cannot support with all the billions we already have in here. the biggest reason i won't support it, it imposes new unrealistic triggers. it says to people we want to give you a pathway to citizenship but guess what -- we're going to keep the door closed. you can pretend you're going to citizenship but we're going to make it impossible. we have a biometric entry-exit system at all air and seaports. most airports are not going to be able to do this, certainly not the little airports many of us fly in and out of. they're unrealistic. mr. president, i realize my time is up. i'll put my full statement in the record but i strongly oppose this amendment and i would vote to table. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to table. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 54, the nays are 43. the motion to table is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, the managers of this bill, floor staff, people are working to try to come up with a path
forward on this legislation. we have a number of senators who are concerned about amendments that they feel are not -- what's the right word? controversial. and so that's one track we're trying to come up with. the other track is the number of senators are working with the gang of eight to come up with a major amendment to deal with as i understand it, border security and a number of other things. i'm also told that that amendment is being drafted at legislative counsel. so i hope that we can have that amendment soon so people can look at it, and i hope we can do something with the noncontroversial amendments. in the meantime, we just have to understand, mr. president, this is not easy to do, but i think we have a path forward.
i am grateful to everyone for being as understanding as they are. because the legislation is not easy, especially on a major piece of legislation like this. but i do say this: this is not one of those bills that suddenly appeared on the senate floor. people have been working on this legislation for months. months the gang of eight has been working on this, we had one of the most thorough markups in recent history in the senate. hundreds of amendments were considered, scores were accepted, democratic amendments, republican amendments, so this legislation we have on the floor is not as if suddenly it's here and not much has been done about it. so again i repeat what i said before. we're trying to find a way
forward on this. in the meantime, unanimous consent that senator toomey, senator landrieu and then senator cruz be recognized for ten minutes each in that sequence i just mentioned. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, pursuant to the unanimous consent agreement. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. first i would like to begin by commending my many colleagues who have put a lot of time and effort into this bill, attempting to refine it to this amendment process. but i have to say with all due respect i think a great portion of the debate we've been having in this body misses the fundamental point, the most important aspect of what we ought to be addressing in immigration reform. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please take your conversations off the floor.
mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. if you think about it, we've spent a lot of time working on and talking about what we do with the people who are here illegally and there is a path to citizenship in this underlying bill for those folks. we've talked an awful lot about border security, border security is an important issue, but i strongly am of the view while that is important, border security reform is not sufficient to solve the immigration problem that we have and i would point out however high we choose to build a wall on our border, someone can always build a ladder that's one foot taller. mr. president, i think the most important part of this whole debate ought to be about what do we do about the next -- next wave of immigrants, the next group of people who want to come to this country, future immigration that certainly going to happen. we ought to think about what
drives the immigration that's been happening. much of which has been illegal. and i'm here to tell you i think what drives it is poor people who have very meager prospects who want to come to a rich country where there are great opportunities. it's people who want to work hard and build a better life for themselves and their families. it hans to be the exact same thing that drove every previous wave of immigration. i think about the 25-year-old mexican guy in central mexico who lives in a poor community where prospects are grim and the standard of living is miserable miserable, and he wants to come here to build a better life and you know what? he does so in the same way that my grandparents in ireland and my great grandparents in portugal wanted to come here for the exact same reason. and, you know, my ancestors, they had very little education, they had no skills, they came to this country to work. and that's what they did.
and when they did that, they can't weaken america. they didn't weaken our economy. they helped build this country, helped build this economy as all of our ancestors did, and that's true of immigrants who want to come here and work and we ought to have a legal avenue that allows these people who want to build a better life for themselves and in the process build a better america, we ought to allow that to happen. this bill in my view doesn't go nearly far enough in accommodating the legal immigration that we could and should have in this country especially with respect to low-skilled workers. i'll be the first to say the bill makes a lot of progress for high-skilled workers, two big areas, the h-1b visas, the cap that has been too low for too long is significantly raised and although we've created hoops people have to go through that are probably unnecessary, it is progress that we have a much higher cap. there's also a new opportunity
for graduate students in the stem fields to get green cards in time and that is very, very constructive. these people come here with a great deal of human capital, intellectual capital, they're trained in fields where we need the skills, and the last thing we should do is send them home to compete against us. it's terrific this bill addresses that by welcoming these folks. but i have to tell you for the category of low-skilled, nonagricultural legal immigration, this bill is wildly inadequate. i say that because the visa that is created to accommodate these folks has i think terribly lowe caps. in the first year the cap is a near 20,000 people. 20,000. the next year it's 35. it goes up to 75 eventually. these are absurdly low numbers by any reasonable measure. frankly, you could consider this the anti-immigration bill
because these numbers are so low and this is the category where there is the greatest interest in immigrating. by point out early in the last decade according to the pew hispanic center there were 800,000 people coming here every year. in 2007 the indian-mccain immigration reform bill was reported out of committee with the support of senator kennedy and that allowed for 400,000 guest worker visas each year. yesterday or the day before the c.b.o. came out with a score of this underlying bill and interestingly, they predict that fully 75% of all the future illegal immigration that is currently expected under current law will occur under this bill. and i think part of the reason is because we're not providing an adequate avenue, a legal avenue for people who want to come here and work hard. and so i've got an amendment, mr. president, and i'll have more to say about this later but i wanted to just mention this to
my colleagues and urge their consideration. it's an amendment that lifts the caps each year. the first year takes the cap to 200,000, then 250 thoont and then finally 350,000 in the fourth year. by point out that the caps on the w visas, the low-skilled worker visas would still be lower in the fourth year than what senator kennedy agreed to in the first year. just a few years ago. it doesn't change the wage protections that are in the underlying bill, a worker would still need a sponsoring employer, all of those provisions stay the same but at least we would increase the opportunity of people who want to come here legally and work hard to build a better life. i know some of my friends especially on the side are going to oppose this. but i will tell you if we do not raise the caps for the low-skilled workers who want to come to this country then the next wave of illegal immigration is guaranteed regardless of what we do at the border.
and anybody who thinks that more legal immigration of people who want to come here and work hard for themselves and their family, if they think that that is harmful to our economy or to america and we need to keep those people out, as i'm afraid to say this bill does, that is a profound misreading of american history. throughout all of our history from before we even became an independent republic the story of america has been one wave of immigrant after another. and while millions of people were coming to this country, what was happening to america? we were becoming richer. wages were rising, our economy was growing, our standard of living was increasing. that's what happens when people come here to work. they increase the size of our economy. we shouldn't view our economy as a pie where we're all fighting for a slice and we don't want somebody else to get a bigger slice because what happens whaps when people come here through a legal system to work hard, they
increase the size of the pie. they're consumers. they become investors. they become contributors to our economy and to our country just as every single wave previous to them, including my grandparents and my grandparents and all of our ancestors did as well. mr. president, i think this is the central challenge. fix the broken immigration system so that we won't is the next wave of illegal immigration, so we can continue to build a stronger economy that these folks will help to build. i think we need to address these caps as a part of the process of doing that. i want to thank ron johnson, my colleague, from wisconsin for cosponsoring this. i know a number of other colleagues are interested in sponsoring this. and i'll have more to say about this later in the week or next week but i really think this is a very, very important stoppic that we need to address in this debate, and i appreciate the time and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you,
mr. president. i came to the floor to speak about and follow up about a two-hour debate that we had last night on the floor about amendments pending to this bill that are uncontested. but before i do, let me just acknowledge the leadership for allowing senator toomey to come to the floor and offer his amendment. it's not one, although he's made some good points, that i can agree with or others will agree with, but at least he had the opportunity to come to the floor, present his amendment and ideas, make his arguments and hopefully sometime the senate can vote on that amendment. that's the process. the underlying bill, as you know, these quotas and goals and numbers of visas were carefully and very fragilely compromised among democrats and republicans that serve as the basis of the underlying bill. so any major adjustments to that would undermine a comprehensive immigration bill.
the bill that we have to consider is not the perfect bill. we could have all written it differently, but the overriding objective to fix a system that's broken, to secure the border, to require taxes paid, english spoken, behind the line, after people who have come here legally, close these borders, improve technology, and give an economic impact to this country overrides, in my view, these -- you know, important but not major issues. having said that, there is an issue that i think deserves a tremendous amount of attention and it's not just one amendment, it's 27 amendments. the issue is, mr. president, that there are currently 278 amendments filed, including senator toomey's amendment, so besides his, there are 277
amendments pending to this bill. and senator harry reid has said for three weeks -- actually six weeks now he wants this bill finished by july fourth. because the leadership hasn't been able to negotiate which is very difficult, i understand, some of these very controversial amendments and who's going to get votes on what, et cetera, et cetera, it's really slow to -- slowed us down. i'm not new to the senate, i have seen this happen before, i'm not whining about it, i'm acknowledging that is the world we live in. there is no magic button that can be pushed to fix this, but what we can do, what we can do, mr. president, is come together in a trusting way to pass uncontested amendments, amendments that are not contested on the republican side, they're not contested on
the democratic side, and i am aware of about 27, the staff both republicans and democrats have been working through the night to identify of the list of 277 amendments besides senator toomey's, there are some of those that are actually really good ideas that republicans and democrats agree to that do not upset the balance of the bill, do not spend any additional funding or any minor funding, that are in the principle and scope of the bill, and mr. president, it's our responsibility as senators to legislate, and that's what we're trying to do. and so i want to read this list of amendments that to my knowledge has no contest. no one is opposing them. this is the list that was put
together by republicans and democrats, perhaps there is another list that i am unaware of. my only goal is to get the senate to accept amendments that are uncontested, that improve the bill because that is what we are sent here to do. i see the ranking member on the floor in just a minute, but i will take my full time to stay on the floor until we can resolve some of these things, but i would point out that there are only 17 members of the judiciary committee. i am not one of them. those 17 members of the judiciary led by senator leahy and ably ranking member grassley met i think for two weeks, morning, noon and night, hours and hours and hours and hours. senator grassley himself filed 77 amendments. 38 were considered, 16 were
adopted, and 22 were rejected. senator grassley as the ranking member is entitled to more amendments than anyone from -- the chair gets the most, the ranking member gets the second most, and i think that's actually what happened. the problem for us that are not members of the judiciary committee who are not authorized to offer amendments at the committee level because we're not on the committee, although we can informally work with members, and i did that, as many members did, because we know what our job is around here. the only way that we can have an input into this bill acting on behalf of constituents that have come to us with very good ideas. let me say not only the best ideas come from the little group here in washington. we have very smart people out in the united states that follow things very carefully.
they call their senators and representatives, elected officials, nonprofit groups, citizens, business people and say i read the bill. i'm thinking this might be a better idea. we get our staffs to work on it, and voila, that's how many amendments come forward. what i am so angry about, and will use the power that i have as a senator, to push this point is that when these ideas come and we have republicans and democrats supporting them, we can't even get a process to get these uncontested good ideas forward because we give all the time and attention to the most crooferl amendments, usual -- most controversial amendments, usually have no chance of passing whatsoever, that undermine the bill that we're trying to work on, and our ability to legislate has gone out the window and i am not going to be a senator with that window closed. so i plan to open it.
and i'm going to use all the power of my office to open the window of opportunity to legislate. now, i'm going to ask for three more minutes to read something into the record. i have a list of amendments in front of me starting with representative -- senator begich 1285, cardin and kirk 1286, carper 1408, carper-coburn 1314, collins as modified 1255, coats 1288, feinstein 1250, hagan 1386, hendrick 1281, heller, kirk and coons 1239, klobuchar and coats 1216, landrieu 1338, landrieu 1382, leahy and hatch
1183, a leahy technical amendment that has no number, leahy eb-5 clarification that has no number but is technical, murray-crapo 1638, landrieu 1341, and landrieu-cochran 1383 -- i'm almost finished -- nelson 1253, reed 1223, schwarz and kirk 1615, shaheen 1222, stabenow, collins and king, udall 1241 and udall 1242. to my knowledge, none of these amendments are contested. some of them are democratic amendments, some of them are republican amendments. at some point, i'm going to ask for these amendments to be included in the base of this bill. i'm not going to ask that at this exact moment, but i am going to ask that the -- well, i might. i might ask the chair, the ranking member is this a list that you recognize, and if not,
is there another list that i could see and observe and put to the record for this discussion? i ask the ranking member from iowa. ranking member of the committee, the senator from iowa. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: has the senator yielded the floor? ms. landrieu: no, i have not. mr. grassley: i don't think i want to speak until i -- ms. landrieu: then let me ask consent for these amendments to be -- let me rephrase. i understand these amendments to be noncontroversial. it is my understanding that there is no republican opposition to the substance of these amendments. now, i could be wrong, and if someone can tell me what the substantive objections to these amendments are, i will go back to work. i'm happy to work on this all day. it's very, very important. we have several days to finish
this. if somebody could just tell me, either in writing or verbally, what are any substantive objections to these amendments, i promise that i will do the work necessary to see what can be done to work them out. and so i'm going to ask, because no one has come to me. i filed this list, talked about this two hours last night. everyone knows these amendments. everyone has had a chance to look at them. it is -- no one has come to me to say that they object to any of these amendments. i'm going to simply ask unanimous consent for them to be added to the bill. and then let me say, after these are added to the bill, we still will have -- let me do my math here. we'll still have 251 amendments to fight about. and so we could -- you know, we will really enjoy the fight. i can fight as tough as the next
guy, but could we possibly get amendments that members have worked together on? how fascinateing that democrats and republicans actually work together to answer constituent letters and phone calls and concerns about immigration, found a way to work together, put an amendment together, but you know what? we go to the back of the line, while everybody who has not worked, who just wants headlines -- and i'm not speaking of senator grassley. he has done a great job in his leadership, but there are others that want to have press conferences and headlines. i don't. i just want to legislate on behalf of the constituents that sent me here now for three terms. so i'm going to ask unanimous consent to pass these uncontested, to my knowledge, amendments. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. grassley: reserving the
right to object, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you very much. is there a time limit for me to speak? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana had ten minutes, which is now expired. the senator from iowa has no time allocated to him. mr. grassley: reserving the right to object, and i probably will have to object, but let me explain, first of all, this is a rare moment that senator landrieu and i might be on the opposite side of the fence, and maybe when this is all done, we won't be on the opposite side of the fence, because 99% of the time that she and i have conversations, it's about foster care and adoption and all those things. let me speak my reservation. first of all, we have had this list that she speaks of since at least this morning, maybe even
earlier than this morning, and i will go through it and give a bottom line, but i wanted a further opportunity to explain. there is now to the chairman's staff a counteroffer that we have that i would like to have senator landrieu and other senators take a look at, and i had an opportunity last night to spend, sometimes speaking with senator landrieu about this trying to get a process in place, and i guess that process is in place now, and we went through these amendments, but let's -- let's say, first of all, when these are noncontroversial amendments presented to us by the majority party, it means they have stated that they are noncontroversial, and we go through the list, and we may have a different judgment on some of them, because it's my conclusion that not all of the
27 so-called noncontroversial amendments are in fact noncontroversial, and some of them are under other committee jurisdiction, and we always take the leadership of other committees when they are under jurisdiction, under other jurisdiction in consideration. now, normally amendments like this would take place in a managers amendment come near the end of the process because it takes time to go through -- you know, if we could have 100 amendments on a list, somebody thinks noncontroversial, so it takes some time to clear. despite what has been said, many of these on the list of 27 aren't necessarily easy, but we have worked on them, we have presented an alternative, and i would ask for that to be discussed, and in the meantime then i would object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. landrieu: would the senator yield for a question? mr. grassley: yes.
ms. landrieu: is there a physical copy of the list you presented to the democrats? could it be submitted to the record? mr. grassley: the chairman's staff has it, and i would ask you to consult the chairman. ms. landrieu: i would like to ask that list be submitted to the congressional record. mr. grassley: i won't submit that list until after the chairman -- ms. landrieu: i ask unanimous consent for that list to be submitted to the record. mr. grassley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. landrieu: mr. president, can i have the floor? the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. ms. landrieu: i ask unanimous consent that the time until 2:00 be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, the majority leader be recognized at 2:00 p.m. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. landrieu: mr. president, i ask that i take the democratic leader's time for ten minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. landrieu: well, i'm next because there was just a republican on the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. the senator from texas -- ms. landrieu: can i just ask what the order is? the presiding officer: the senator from texas is in order to be recognized next. ms. landrieu: what is the order to be recognized after the senator from texas? the presiding officer: there is no order after that. ms. landrieu: then i ask unanimous consent to speak for ten minutes after the senator from texas. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, i rise today to express my strong concern about president obama's decision to arm the rebels in syria. that decision was signaled last week by deputy national security advisor ben rhodes. according to mr. rhodes, the united states will start supplying arms to selected rebel groups. i fully understand the seriousness of the situation in syria. bashar al-assad is a brutal dictator. syria has been on the state department's state sponsor of
terrorism list since 1979. for two years, this brutal civil war has raged, leaving at least 93,000 dead, 100 reportedly for chemical weapons attack. the humanitarian situation in syria is a calamity. millions of people have been displaced. iran and russia stand to gain a major strategic victory if assad remains in power. and we have to be concerned about the danger this war poses to our allies, israel and jordan. all americans would like to see secular democracy forces in syria come to power. but president obama's failed policies over the last two years have left us with no good options at this time. in the beginning of the uprising, there was a moment when the peaceful protesters could have used the vocal, energetic support of the united states. instead the obama administration
stood by for months apparently in the hopes that they could make assad see reason. before long, military hostilities broke out but barack obama president obama chose not to act hoping instead to lead from behind. in the course of the war, assad has benefited from weapons from iran and russia and from fighters from hezbollah. our repeated entreaties to the russians to help us resolve this crisis have fallen on deaf ears, most recently this week when president obama president obama attempted to reach a diplomatic solution with president putin just to have him once again refuse to be a good-faith partner the administration seems to think he could be. meanwhile, the most effective, organized syrian rebels are affiliated with al qaeda. there are two many al qaeda entities active in syria. habit an juice a and the
resurgery ent al qaeda in iraq. they are both powerful and well armed. in recent weeks, a training video has been posted on an al qaeda web site showing young rebel recruits in syria singing not only about overthrowing assad but how -- quote -- "the world trade center was turned into rubble." to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of israel on june 6, al qaeda leader released a video calling for syrians to unite to bring down the assad government and create a radical islamic state. on june 9, he posted a letter on algentleman herea -- al-jazeera announcing they would be acting on his direct orders. as many as seven of the nine rebel groups that have been identified may have ties to
al qaeda yet these hurricaney connections make them all the more difficult to properly vet. and as is normally the case, when al qaeda moves in, more and more stories are spreading about the desecration of churches, capitallings --, kidnappings, rapes, and beheadings. these forces are naindle in a deadly struggle with the assad regime and president obama has chosen this moment to signal that it is now suddenly in our vital national security interest to intervene in syria. it seems far more likely a recipe for disaster. we are told that the united states will provide only small arms and ammunition and only to the more secular democracy-minded rebels and that they will not fall into the hands of those who attacked us on september 11. not to mention more recently in fort hood, benghazi, and boston. although there are no details about how the president plans to
differentiate between good and bad actors. even if we could clearly identify the good rebels, so to speak, we would be backing the weakest of the factions in syria and the support the obama administration has proposed will not be sufficient to bring down assad and put them in power. once committed, we risk either being forced to incrementally increase our support or facing the humiliation of losing to either al qaeda groups or assad or both, which would delight both iran and russia. we could also see the factions of the opposition use our weapons to turn on each other, and see assad triumph in the chaos. it is far from clear we can even get the weapons to the so-called good rebels, even if we could figure out who they were. president obama has just announced another $300 million in humanitarian aid for syria,
but only about half of the aid already pledged has been delivered. the other half hasn't because of logistical issues and the challenges of keeping resources out of the hands of bad actors. how on earth can we expect to deliver guns if we can't even get m.r.e.'s into the country? regardless, let me suggest a simple rule. don't give weapons to people who hate us. don't give weapons to people who want to kill us. u.s. foreign policy should be directed at one central purpose: protecting the vital national security interest of the united states. arming potential al qaeda rebels is not furthering those interests. but there is something that is. preventing syria's large stockpile of chemical weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. we know that assad has used
these weapons and there is good reason to suspect that the al qaeda affiliated rebels would use them as well if they could get their hands on them. this poses an intolerable threat not only to our friends in the region but also to the united states. we need to be developing right now a clear, practical plan to go in, locate the weapons, secure or destroy them and then get out. we might work in concert with our allies, but this needs to be an operation driven by the mission, not by a coalition. the united states should be firmly in the lead to make sure the job is done right, but our british allies, for example, are actively bowl storing -- bolstering the units that could be used for chemical weapons removal. president obama needs to assure us that the dangerous, arbitrary cuts to our defense budget caused by sequester have not eroded our ability to execute this vital mission. but news reports suggest that
what planning has gone on involves outsourcing parts of this work to the rebel groups. mr. president, this makes no sense. moreover, it is deeply disturbing that president obama has chosen not to communicate his decision directly to congress or the american people. and i would note communicating not through a junior staffer, not through a spokesperson, but himself to the american people. according to a pew poll taken over the weekend, 70% of americans oppose arming the syrian rebels. quite sensibly. in a case where his policy is so at odds with the will of the people, it's beholden on the president to make his case and persuade us that this proposed intervention is necessary. but just yesterday in his long speech on national security at the brandenburg gate, president obama did not even mention his
planned intervention in syria. he told us that he is a -- quote -- "citizen of the world." but he is also president of the united states. and he owes the american people an explanation. president obama needs to explain why arming the syrian rebels is now worth our intervention when it wasn't two years ago. he needs to explain how he's established which rebels are the appropriate recipients of this support. he needs to explain how this limited support will make a material difference in syria. and he needs to assure us that his team is proactively planning to protect our national security by keeping syria's chemical weapons out of the hands of either hezbollah or al qaeda. but we don't know any of these specifics. we are apparent just supposed to trust the president to manage syria policy more effectively than he has over the last two years and more effectively than
he has managed events in iran, libya, and egypt. during the green revolution in 2009, the obama administration stood by and allowed the supreme leader of iran to brutally suppress his people as they protested in the streets. four years later we have just witnessed the installation of the supreme leader's most recent selection for president of iran, a man whom some of the mainstream media refer to as 5, quote, moderate but is a man who has referred to israel as -- quote -- "the great zionist satan" and who vows to continue iran's nuclear program. that's some moderate. during the uprising in cairo, president obama cheered on the demonstrators but refused to take a leading role in helping egypt make the difficult transition to democracy. opening the door to a muslim
brotherhood regime that is now taking systemic steps to hollow out that country's fragile constitution while turning a blind eye to the persecution of christians and the discrimination against women. and just like the rebels in syria, president obama is also working to arm the muslim brotherhood in egypt. during the revolution in libya, president obama decided removing moammar qadhafi was a vital national security issue and he participated in nato's mission to overturn him the. -- overturn him. but his strategy of leading from behind meant qadhafi's weapons stockpiles went unsecured and have been transferred to militants from lebanon to mali. a new government in libya, however well -- well intentioned, proved incapable of managing the security threat from militias in the country and nine months ago, tragically, four u.s. personnel were brutal
briewltly murdered in an attack, an attack we have yet to track down and punish any of the trifs to -- terrorists who killed our personnel in benghazi. with this track record of incoherent and indecisive action resulting in setback after setback to the united states, we are supposed to just trust president obama to do a better job managing the situation in syria. seems to me that if we are determined to confront iraq's -- rather, iran's nuclear program, we would do so better in iran. even if hezbollah is defeated in syria. there is little prospect that this would halt iran's nuclear program. i'm also concerned about our ability to successfully negotiate what seems to have become a sunni shiite civil wrar in syria. it seems to me we have no business in the middle of such a civil war. from what we know of the
president's policy, it seems we are backing into an intractable crisis where there are no good actors but plenty of bad outcomes for america. mr. president, let me close with this, two simple observations: number one, don't arm al qaeda. don't arm those who hate us, don't arm those who want to kill us. that is basic common sense. and number two, when it comes to matters of vital national security, the president of the united states needs to come to the american people. we, the people, hold sovereignty in this country and it is not acceptable for the president simply to send out starves to pass -- staffers to pass on his decision. he needs to come before congress and the american people and explain those decisions. all of us have deep concerns about arming the rebels in syria. and i hope that the administration will reconsider its policy. thank you, mr. president.
ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: before the senator from texas leaves the floor could i ask him a question unrelated to his speecham ? i'm sorry i dpnt get to hear most of it, i had stepped off the floor temporarily. but the senator has been so active in the debate on immigration, is the senator aware of a list of 27 noncontroversial amendments that are both republicans and democrats? have you had a chance to look at that list and if not, could you look at it and if you have, do you have any objections to the amendments that are on the list? mr. cruz: i thank my friend from louisiana. i was handed that list about an hour and a half ago today. i've looked at the titles on the list but have not had the time yet to study the specifics and so i don't know if i would have any substantive objections to those specified amendments. ms. landrieu: i thank the senator for his answer. i ask the senator and any other senators that haven't had a chance to look at this list we're widely circulating, i
know you're very busy and have many important issues to debate on this bill but these are very important amendments to both colleagues on your side and my side. so, again, i thank the senator from texas for agreeing to look at the list and let us know. mr. president, again, i'm going to come back to the floor in just a few minutes and ask unanimous consent for this list of amendments. again, i want to read the amendments into the record. these are uncontroversial amendments, what i mean by uncontroversial, to my knowledge, noncontested. they are republican and democratic amendments that just seek to improve the bill in response of communications from our constituents at home. you know, as i said, it's not just people around washington and the beltway that have good
ideas about immigration issues. i'm sure people have great ideas in new mexico. people have very good ideas in louisiana. the way they get their ideas into the debate is by calling their member of congress, calling their senator's office, writing letters, sending emails, giving us suggestions. this list represents some of that communication that's come here. that is why we come here to represent those interests and to say look, this was an idea that i had, it will strengthen -- like one of these ideas which i'm very excited about came up through our small business roundtable for small businesses. said senator, why don't you mandate a mobile app for us, particularly in rural areas, senator, we don't have high-speed internet. we can't run back 200 miles to check the local internet to do this everify. why doesn't homeland security
have a mobile device, you know, for the -- for the iphone which everybody is carrying, iphones or back berries, you hit a button of everify. what an amazing idea. now, this bill is going to spend billions and billions and billions of dollars securing the border. could we spend just a little bit of effort helping every small business person in america to use the everify system smartly, efficiently? and it will be such a relief to them to know they don't have to put themselves at risk hiring people that don't have the right certification, they can just go to the mobile app, pull it up and that's what we're hoping. now, we have three years to put this system into place. no small business is mandated to use the everify system under the bill until these new systems are in place. but, like, that's one of our
amendments. there's no one that has come to me to say, we hate the mobile app idea, we don't want to do the mobile app idea, it's a terrible idea. so let's put it in the bill. you know, there's some other amendments in here and i don't know all of them because only some of them are mine, but, you know, just reading one -- let me just take tom udall's. i don't know it specifically but it says it makes $5 million available for strengthening border infectious disease, you know, surveillance projects. $5 million is a good amount of money but compared to the billions of dollars we're spending and for some of our rural states -- new mexico, colorado, arizona, louisiana is rural -- i don't think there's anybody objecting to spending $5 million to increase border
infectious disease surveillance projects. that kind of smart investment, i'm sure the senator's done his homework, that kind of smart investment could save taxpayers and the livelihoods of farmers everywhere. what a wonderful idea. we can't even get that adopted by a voice vote because we've broken down the trust and respect of the united states senate. and i'm going to do my very best as calmly as i can to try to get that trust and respect back. one of these other amendments prohibits the shackling of pregnant women. now, we shackle a lot of peopl people -- and this is senator murray's amendment -- when they do wrong things, but i think that people could understand the benefit of expressing some strong views here not to put shackles on the ankles or wrists of a woman that's pregnant.
it's a very stressful situation. we want to, you know, support healthy births even in conditions where, you know, the mother may not have all the legal paperwork. i think we can understand why that would be a sensitive thing to do and i don't think there would be a republican that would object to that. i don't think there's a democr democrat. that's on the list. there are -- and i know other people want to speak so i'm just going to take five more minutes. there is a great amendment by senator klobuchar and coats that requires certification of citizenship and other federal documents to reflect the name and date of birth determinations made by a state court in the situation of intercountry adoption. some of our parents are getting really hassled -- hassled -- american parents hassled by american courts because they have done god's will, adopt a children from overseas, they've
followed all the rules, all the laws at tremendous expense to themselves trying to help a child that is orphaned or unparented only to come back to the united states and because of some technical difficulties with our law, their birth certificates are not honored. mr. president, this isn't right. now, i realize that the judiciary committee cannot spend their time talking about this. in the scheme of things, it's minor. but let me tell you, as an adoptive mother to an adoptive american parents who have spend spentd thousands of dollars and -- spent thousands of dollars and days and months trying to do what their pastors and ministers ask them to do -- to take in the orphans -- this is an outrageous situation. and with one breath -- just a breath -- this could be done. but we don't have the breath anymore because we have just
completely fallen apart. this can be fixed. there's nobody objecting to it. and that is what i am going to stand here and argue for. and i think -- how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: there is no set amount of time. ms. landrieu: there are other senators on the floor wishing to -- i see my colleague so i'm going to wrap up in 30 seconds and then yield the floor. but again, i'm going to stay on the floor this afternoon and talk about these amendments. again, these members have worked very hard, republicans and democrats, amazingly together coming up with amendments that improve a bill. some of these amendments are from senators that are going to vote "no" on the bill. some of these amendments are for people who are going to vote "yes" on the bill. it's not going to change the outcome of the vote. that's why i'm so aggravated. if it did, then i could understand not taking them up.
the acceptance of this amendment yes or no are not going to change the outcome of this bill but it will change the outcome of situations on the ground that are not good for american citizens. and we are here to fix things, to help, to streamline, to save money, to improve, to relieve pain, to help, you know, opportunity, to expand opportunity. and, you know, i'm tieferred being around here -- and, you know, i'm tired of being around here and not being able to do that. and so i'm going to ask for this list -- of course it's been circulated widely publicly. it's up on our web site. it's on several web sites. people can look at what we're talking about, if anybody on the senate floor has an objection, let us know. now, let me say one thing in closing, the counterlist that i am still not in physical seethe receipt of that i've seen and
it's a part of the record because i asked it for -- the republicans have given us a list of seven very controversial amendments. that's not the list i'm looking for. maybe senator leahy's looking for that. maybe senator reid is looking for that. i'm not in charge of controversial amendments. i don't even know how we're going to vote on those controversial amendments. i'm not on the committee. i'm not the leader of the floor. i don't know -- i will take that and i'll be happy to give it to the leadership. i'm just here on a list of noncontroversial amendments that i think republicans and democrats can agree to, that will not change the outcome of the bill, that will improve the bill and i hope we can make progress. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska.
mrs. fischer: mr. president, i rise today to express great concern about the announcement regarding plans to drastically reduce the u.s. nuclear deterrent by over one-third. the strategic basis for this reduction is entirely unclear. the president must provide members of congress additional information on the basis and the implications of this announcement. general chilton, then commander of u.s. strategic command, testified before the senate foreign relations committee in 2010. he said, the new start treaty gave the united states exactly what is needed to achieve its national security objectives. given the assessments of our commanders, i am highly skeptical and gravely concerned about such dramatic reductions in a world of increasing danger and proliferating threats.
regardless about how one feels about these particular force levels, i believe there is broad concern about any unilateral reductions in u.s. nuclear forces. two and a half years ago, after lengthy deliberation and contentious debate, this body ratified the new start treaty which reduced deployed u.s. nuclear weapons from between 2, 200 and 1,7 -- from 2,200 and 1,700 to no more than 1,550. this debate was good for the nation and it brucee produced a bipartisan consensus on arms control and nuclear modernization. now this administration is calling for reducing u.s. nuclear forces by a third, and
it remains an open question if the senate will even have a chance to weigh in on this decision. i sure hope that we have the opportunity. as commander in chief, it is the president's prerogative to adjust nuclear forces, but as vice president biden, then serving in this body as chairman of the foreign relations committee, wrote in a 2002 letter to then-secretary of state colin powell -- quote -- "with the exception of the salt one agreement, every significant arms control agreement during the past three decades has been transmitted pursuant to the treaty clause of the constitution. we see no reason whatsoever to alter this practice." secretaries of defense panetta and hagel also testified before congress that nuclear reductions, if undertaken at a
all, should be the product of negotiated bilateral, verifiable agreements. i believe a change of this magnitude must be reviewed by congress and such dramatic reductions must only be made in concert with other nuclear powers and the input of our allies. moreover, i believe it is premature to announce such dramatic reductions when the united states has yet to fulfill its obligations under the new start treaty. currently our nuclear force levels exceed the new start limits. instead of providing a plan to implement the reductions required to comply with that treaty -- something i and numerous other members of congress have repeatedly asked for -- the president opted to promise the world massive additional cuts.
i'd like to repeat this. we don't know how we're going to go from about 1,650 to 1,550 warheads, a reduction of about a hundred. but instead of answering that question, the president has stated his intention to get rid of another 500 or so warheads. that's a third of our arsenal. what's more, the president has apparently disregarded the advice of congress. the bipartisan 2009 perry-schlesinger commission and his own nuclear posture review that additional nuclear reductions address the dramatic imbalance of russian tactical nuclear weapons. congress has expressed its view on this subject several times and the national defense
authorization act for fiscal year 2012 clearly stated the sense of congress that if the united states pursues arms control negotiations with the russian federation, such negotiation should be aimed at the reduction of russian deployed and nondeployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons and increased transparency of such weapons. why the announcement -- while the announcement mentioned these weapons, their reduction was clearly a separate afterthought not the primary arms control objective that this body insisted it be. in closing, i must remind my colleagues that the senate approved the new start treaty on the condition of modernizing our aging nuclear deterrent. though the promise was made
before i entered the senate, it was a promise that was made to this body and to the american people and it is a promise that i will make sure is kept. modernization funding is more than 30% below the target set by the president during new start's ratification. that is unacceptable. i hope the president will address these issues in the coming days and focus on building a strong bipartisan consensus on these issues and pursuing commonsense objectives. rushing toward dramatic reduction is a bad policy. it's a bad policy for any president, and it could have grave consequences for our national security. thank you, mr. president.
i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? a senator: i want to commend the -- i'm sorry. a senator: i think i'm in order. the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: no problem. thank you very much. mr. president, i rise today to speak about comprehensive immigration reform. the senate is engaged, i believe, in a crucial debate to see if we can fix a system that we all know is broken. it's been a long road, not just because of the partisan climate here, but because of the complex challenges that we face. the challenge of 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work and raise families in communities across our nation, kept uncertain in the shadows, the challenge of children brought here through no fault of
their own, who love this country as their own, and the challenge of securing our border. the majority of americans know these challenges have to be met. immigration reform has to be comprehensive. that is the reality of any long-term solution. it is also a reality that such reform will not be perfect, will not satisfy everyone in every case. that's what compromise means. that's what bipartisan effort requires. but the american people are not asking for perfection. they are asking for results, for an immigration system that works, that makes sense, that secures our borders, that strengthens families and supports our economy. and i want to commend chairman leahy and the bipartisan authors of this bill for their leadership. the committee made sure the process was open, was transparent and was inclusive. many of the amendments adopted
have bipartisan support, and over two-thirds of the committee voted for this bill. i hope the full senate will follow their example. america has a rich history of immigrants helping create a culture and economy that is the envy of the world. i'm proud to come from a state where we celebrate our diversity native american, hispanic and european traditions define my state. we are a border state, and new mexicans understand what is at stake with border security. they know how important comprehensive immigration reform is. this bill has the essential elements of that reform. it creates a pathway to earn citizenship for undocumented individuals. this is not an amnesty. folks have to pass criminal background checks, pay back taxes and penalties, learn english and must go to the back
of the line behind those who came here illegally. this road to citizenship takes 13 years. not an easy road but one that will bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the hope and promise of the american dream. this legislation also makes securing our border a priority. much of the debate has centered on this. in my opinion, the record is clear. as a senator from a border state and i know the presiding officer, senator heinrich, also from my great state of new mexico and a border senator, we have seen firsthand how things have changed, and over the past 12 years, we have made some real progress. is the job finished? of course not, but that is not a reason to oppose this bill. it is a reason, in fact, to support it. we spend a lot of resources on immigration and customs enforcement, more than all other federal criminal law enforcement
combined. we have more border patrol agents on our southern border than ever before. illegal crossings are near their lowest levels in decades. we have ramped up law enforcement and are deporting more criminals than ever before. this legislation will build on that progress, with a strong plan, with the money to pay for it. it doesn't just call for 90% apprehension of illegal border crossings. it provides $6.5 billion to do it. commitment to border security is real, and this bill will improve on it with new technology and targeted resources, it makes a difference. it changes the game plan. this is not conjecture, not pie in the sky. for example, congress appropriated $600 million for emergency border security in 2010, and the effectiveness rate increased from 72% to 82% a year
later. so there is a proven record here, an impressive record. with border security, this legislation has clear goals, has committed resources and builds on a demonstrated success, but for some on the other side, this is not enough. they demand absolute effectiveness or toss out the pathway to citizenship. but let's be clear, no border can be completely secure, not ours, not anyone else's, so some may still cross illegally, may slip through. we can do more. i believe additional border security should focus on violent drug and firearms traffickers and should do more at ports of entry, but most undocumented immigrants come here to work. this bill will change that dynamic with an effective universal employment verification system and crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.
this is as crucial as fences and checkpoints, as crucial as agents patrolling the border or drones scanning the horizon. because the lure of illegal immigration is jobs and the jobs will not be there, there is still work to be done. no one is arguing this bill is perfect. i have filed and cosponsored several amendments. i will just mention a few of them here. several of them i know are on the list that senator landrieu talks about as noncontroversial amendments. i know senator heinrich has an amendment on that also. the first is a federal district judge in new mexico. in the committee markup, a bipartisan amendment was added to add federal judges to the southwest border states. unfortunately, new mexico was not included. even though it has significant immigration caseload, one that will increase with the additional enforcement provided by the bill.
my amendment remedies this oversight. i have also filed an amendment to expand the border enforcement security task force units in the four southwest border states. best units are teams of federal, state and local law enforcement focused on disrupting serious border-related criminal activity such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. finally, i had filed an amendment that provides resources to all 20 border states for vital early warning infectious disease surveillance. this federal funding program was created in 2003 to detect, identify and report outbreaks of infectious diseases at the borders, but this important funding has ceased. we need to restore it. i would urge the bill managers and authors to work with me on these amendments to improve this bill and to protect new mexico's interests as a key border state. i want to again commend the members of the judiciary
committee. i see that senator grassley was here a moment ago. i want to really congratulate him and our chairman, patrick leahy. this legislation arrived on the senate floor with support from both sides of the aisle. i hope that it will move forward in the same spirit of cooperation. this bill is a historic moment for families, for our security, and it will benefit our economy. as the nonpartisan congressional budget office just reported on tuesday, this bill would reduce our deficit by $197 billion over the first ten years and by at least $700 billion in the second decade. this bill speaks to the best of our traditions and our values. this is our opportunity to govern, to fix an immigration system that is broken, and i -- and to move our nation forward in the 21st century.
and with that, i would yield the floor. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i have refrained from being on the floor during this debate as i listened to it and watched, and i would compliment my colleagues in trying to solve a very difficult problem, but i just heard a speech by my colleague from new mexico that quotes all sorts of statistics that are not accurate. i'm the ranking member on homeland security. here's what we know, is we have estimates, and that's all we have, but we don't know the total attempts to cross our border. we don't know what they are. so when somebody quotes 70% to 80% and you have no idea what the denominator is, you don't know what the numbers are. now, here's what the council on foreign relations says about our border. and how did they get this data?
they went out and interviewed 6,700 illegal immigrants to find out their frequency of attempts, whether or not they have gone home, what their difficulty was, what their communities were like, and here's what they say, is right now is the control of our border, it's somewhere between 40% and 65%. so we have the administration that says one thing, but when you ask them for the details, as i have as ranking member on homeland security, you can't get the facts because we don't know. so i applaud my colleagues for bringing this bill forward. i would love to get the yes on this bill. but i also want to raise the issue on the c.b.o. scoring. what the c.b.o. scoring said was is that you're still going to have 7.5 million people in the next ten years come across the border under this plan.
and so in reaction to that, we have people who other than one person on homeland security who actually has set through the hearings, knows what's going on with homeland security, we are going to come forward with a bill that's going to increase border patrol by 20,000 people. i can tell you, we don't need 20,000 border patrol agents. what we need is a coherent, smart strategy with transparency in the agency as homeland security so we can act as members of congress can actually see what's going on. and all we have to do is listen to what the administration says and then listen to the people who are actually doing the work, which are the border patrol agents, which are the i.c.e. agents, which are the uscis agents, which are the c.p.b. agents, and when you talk with them, you get a totally different story. now, why is it that the people
who are actually doing the work are telling us a different story than what the administration's telling us? there is a disconnect there, and we need to understand what that is. so i look forward to reading the details of the supposed border security amendment, but ask yourself the question -- is it possible to secure a border? is it we were to have a terrible outbreak on either our northern or southern border that had a high case fatality rate, high infectious rate and we decided we would close the border tomorrow, we could do it. and there are great things in this base bill that will eliminate a large portion of the draw coming across our nation into our nation through illegal immigration. and those are creating a decline in the attitude of those coming, knowing that if you come across,
you're going to have to be able to prove you're a citizen to be able to get a job. i think that's absolutely right. there is some increase in the work visa programs and the special visa programs. probably not enough. but if you think let's just believe the administration, let's believe what people say about this bill, if you can cut it down to 8%, 9%, 10%, then the people coming across the border aren't the people looking for a job. people coming across the border are the people that tend to hurt our society, the drug runners, the human traffickers, the terrorists. and so the point -- the question i'd ask is shouldn't we know what we're doing as we establish a border security amendment that will actually send the confidence that -- to the people of this country that, in fact, we're going to secure our border? the vast majority of people in this country want to solve this problem. i want to solve this problem.
the way we're going to go about it is we're going to get to see an amendment sometime late tonight, and then on saturday we're going to have to vote on whether to proceed with that amendment or not, not having had the full time to actually consider what the outcome of the recommendations of that amendment are. and so some of the mistakes that have been made as we brought this bill forward, this bill came through the judiciary committee but almost every other major thing that's of controversy in this bill is under the purview and the control of the homeland security and government affairs committee which got no sequential referral on this bill. so where we're hung up on this bill is because we didn't do regular order, we didn't allow the process to work, we didn't let the knowledgeable members of the homeland security and government affairs have an opportunity to impact this bill in a committee process, and so
now we're hung up with people who aren't on that committee writing an amendment for homeland security. and we can write a good amendment for homeland security and i've told chuck schumer and other members of the gang of eight that. but you can't do it in two weeks. you can't do it with one amendment. and what you're going to get is waste, loopholes, and problems. and the last thing we need to do is waste another $5 billion or $6 billion on things that aren't going to have a difference in terms of solving the real problem but we'll claim it solves the problem so we can pass a bill. so i want to get to yes on this bill. i want to get to a way to where we solve this problem and don't create it again in the future. but my concerns are both process and factually that we're claiming things that just aren't true. all you have to do is set before the committees or go talk to the leadership of the border patrol, i.c.e. units, cpb, go
talk to them. they're siting there in amazement. you know, three weeks ago i had breakfast with janet napolitano and she said she would send me their border control plan by area, by region, the next day. well, a piece of paper came but there was no border control plan. so the question i have is, where's the plan? and of all the good recommendations that are in this bill, it's all going to be contingent on execution of what's in there. and so we're going to pass a bill and pass an amendment and then we're going to have the very committee that was excluded from making proper recommendations to this bill to oversight it and we will, we'll oversight it. but the fact is we won't have any control to control it. so we'll be raising the
questions and the ineffectiveness, and yet we won't have accomplished what we are telling the american people we're going to accomplish. what is that? that we're going to solve the problems with the illegals here, decrease the demand across our board, going to control our border even though we won't put that as a condition for granting people a movement from the shadows to the open, we won't put that as a condition, even though now with supposed new border amendment that the border patrol says that they can get us to a 90%, we need to make that as a condition. so my feeling is right now there's a great attempt by eight of my colleagues to try to solve this problem, and because we're in a hurry and we're in a time crunch and we shouldn't be because the house is not going to take up this bill, but they're going to bring their own, that we ought to do it right.
and so i have a lot of amendments, i'd love to have votes on them, love to have them considered. i understand we can't call up amendments right now. which is the same dysfunction that the senate's been operating under for the last seven and a half, eight years. and so people who are knowledgeable on the committees of jurisdiction don't have the opportunity to improve the bill, to raise questions about the bills through their amendments, to refine the bill. means that we just want to get a bill passed. doesn't mean we want to really solve the problem. so i look forward to a time to be able to come back to the floor and offer amendments that will actually improve this bill, that will give transparency to the american public about what we're doing, that will give transparency on how we're going to spend all this money, that we're going to take from the very people that we're trying to move out of the shadows, and we're not just going to throw money up against
a wall and say we did something when in fact we're not going to accomplish the very purpose that we put forward this bill. people who come to this country -- and i'd put myself in the same category, if i was caught in the lack of economic opportunity, i'd try like any way i could to get into this country of opportunity. but the thing that makes this country a land of opportunity is the rule of law. and really what we're doing is we're saying, the irony is the people who come here and break the law to get the opportunity from the rule of law, if we don't fix it where that doesn't happen again, we're going to unwind the rule of law in this country. and that's what -- that's the glue that holds this nation together. and it goes something like this:
if they don't have to obey the law, neither do i. so you get an unwinding of the fabric and the confidence in the rule of law in this country. we ought to be very careful with what we do as we say laws don't apply, and that's what we're really saying with this bill to a certain group of people the laws we had on the books aren't going to apply, we ought to make sure that doesn't happen again. so i will yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum, and wish to come back at sometime where i can present the ideas of a lot of people who actually have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge on homeland security and how it operates and how the different divisions within homeland security operate. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the time until 4:00 p.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. and that i be recognized at 4:00. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. reid: if the senator would be good enough to withhold. you wish to speak? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. reid: mr. president, the time -- i ask consent it be vitiated. i also ask that the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: i understand we are no longer in a quorum call. and i'm recognized to speak on the bill.
is that correct? the presiding officer: the senator is crek. mr. wicker: thank you very much. i was scheduled to come in at 2:00 and i appreciate the leader accommodating me five minutes early. mr. president, there is talk about an imminent compromise among the gang of eight and perhaps a couple of others that would move in bill along. i think i've made it clear that the bill as currently written is flawed and would not be something that would get my vote. so anything that would move us toward a better solution, toward better enforcement of the border such as 20,000 additional security agents on the border, would be a positive step. i do want to make it clear, however, that the bill as written would not stem the tide
of illegal immigration. the bill as written would not provide a solution to our broken immigration system. and without further amendment, my understanding of the new compromise that is about to come forward also would be deficient. i appreciate people working toward a consensus, and i look forward to reading the amendment as it is presented, if it is indeed presented later this afternoon or later this weekend. but there are still changes that need to be made, and ways that we can improve the bill. i would point out to my colleagues that a congressional budget office report released the day before yesterday indicates that border security components of the immigration bill as written will not stem
the tide of illegal immigration in a meaningful way because large numbers of people are projected still to overstay their visas should the legislation pass in that form, even the congressional budget office, a bipartisan, independent, call it by the numbers office, predicts that the reforms agreed to by the so-called gang of eight would reduce illegal immigration by only 25%, far short of what the bill's supporters have contended. dependable border security and interior security are crucial to the success of the entire immigration system. this means putting in place the proper infrastructure and technology, including a national everify system for employers, and i congratulate and commend and encourage the junior senator from ohio,
senator portman, for his efforts to move toward a consensus in that very important area of the bill, too. these steps, securing the border and strengthening everify, should precede efforts to grant legal status stus and i think most americans agree with that. i've offered a number of amendments. i want to take these few moments to make my suggestions about how to improve this bill. but first and foremost, i want to urge my colleagues, urge the leadership of the committee on both sides of the aisle and the leadership of the senate to give this senate an opportunity to speak on the issue of sanctuary cities. now, most people are aware that one of the great ways to flout the law as it has been has been for a local jurisdiction to say
to people who have overstayed their visas, to people who have come here illegally or stayed here illegally, come to our city, and we'll provide you sank taxpayer. -- sanctuary. come to our city and we will ition nor the law of the land and make sure we do our part that it's not enforced against you. so-called sanctuary cities. and as a member of the other body, madam president, i voted for legislation and amendments to crack down on this. if this bill works as it should work, then there should be no illegals in the country seeking sanctuary in a sanctuary city. so my legislation to prohibit the practice of sanctuary cities really in my view should be accepted by consensus. if the authors of this bill really believe it is a solution
to our broken immigration system, then there should be no need for a city to say we're going to take in people who are not here legally because, by definition under this bill, we will have said the system is fixed. so under my amendment, madam president, these jurisdictions would be denied state criminal alien assistance program funds if they insist on continuing to be sanctuary cities. we would deny under my amendment law enforcement grants from the departments of homeland security and justice for the continuation of so-called sanctuary cities. my amendment would also encourage information sharing by law enforcement officials and stipulate that individuals who violate the immigration law should be included in the national crime information center database. why would that be the least bit controversial? and it would also ensure that
states have access to federal technology. that is helpful in identifying immigrants who are not here by permission and who are deportable. i would say to my colleagues, madam president, any bill that comes out of the house of representatives will almost surely have a sanctuary cities provision. we need a vote on this senate floor so that the public, so that our constituents back home in our individual states can know where we stand on this issue. and i would again emphasize, if we believe the law will work, if we believe this new plan will fix the broc the broken system,n there should be no need for any jurisdiction to call itself a sanctuary city. now, secondly, i would -- i have an amendment, a separate amendment, that would double penalty fees. it would double from $1,000 to
$2,000 the fee that illegal immigrants must pay at various steps of the process. we all know that $1,000 amounts on to far less than what -- amounts to far less than what gets paid to coyotes who smuggle people from across the border. penalties are supposed to hold people accountable for breaking the law and not serve as merely an inconvenience. so i have a second amendment that would increase the penalty in the legislation from $1,000 to $2,000. and -- and then i have a third amendment, madam president, that would require the secretary to adjust these statutory fees and penalties for inflation, index them for inflation. what could be simpler for that? a thousand dollar penalty in 2013 might not amount to the same degree of penalty in 2015
or 2019. and we index many, many of our amounts and figures under statute according to inflation. so my third amendment would simply allow for annual inflation adjustment. fourthly, i have an amendment that would strike the ability of illegal immigrants to apply for provisional legal status if they have previously filed a frivolous application for asylum, one that has been determined by the authorities to be frivolous. by law, those who knowingly file a frivolous application -- for example, containing statements that are deliberately fabricated or responses that are deliberately fabricated -- should be permanently barred from receiving any benefit under the -- under the new act. another amendment i have would
expedite removal proceedings of illegal immigrants with serious criminal offenses. what could be simpler and more straightforward than that, madam president? it would require the secretary of homeland security to initiate expedited removal proceedings against those who are deemed ineligible for provisional legal status, for example, because they belong to a gang or they have committed an aggravated felony or committed an offense against a child or a domestic violence offense. it would seem to me that this short of amendment should be the sort of amendment that the senator from louisiana, senator landrieu, was speaking about only a few moments ago that should be accepted by consensus through a voice vote. and finally, i have an amendment to ensure that those found ineligible have their provisional legal status revok
revoked. if an application is submitted and the duly constituted authorities under this new act determine that the individual is not entitled to the relief requested, then provisional legal status should be revoked and, for example, this would be if he or she is found to be ineligible. if he or she used fraudulent documentation or did not fulfill the continuous physical presence requirement of the bill, then that status is denied and the individual should -- should then have conditional status revoked. i -- i conclude by saying, madam president, that i appreciate the good-faith effort that has been made by the leadership on both sides of the aisle, by the leadership of the committee, and by people acting ad hoc as a -- as a
self-appointed group of eight or group of ten. but we need to make it clear that any agreement announced with great fanfare this afternoon or -- or perhaps this weekend is not the end of it. we have a lot of time left for excellent ideas to improve this bill, to bring it around to the point where people like me can vote for it, where people like my constituents back home can feel that it is, in fact, a solution to a broken system and we can forward this legislation on to a house of representatives with a national consensus behind it. no great changes have been made in the congress to broad policy disagreements without bipartisan consensus, and i would hope that
amendments like the six that i have just described, particularly my amendment with regard to sanctuary cities, would be adopted so that we can move toward a consensus that we do not have at this point. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. a senator: appreciate the comments from the distinguished senator from mississippi. madam president, i rise to speak on the issue of immigration reform. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you. i rise today to discuss an amendment that i will be introducing to senate bill 744, the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that this senate body is carefully considering and debating. that amendment is the hoeven-corker border security amendment. it's being finalized and i plan to introduce it this afternoon
along with the senator from the great state of tennessee, senator bob corker, who's here with me. and i want to thank him for the tremendous work that he's done on this legislation. he has been absolutely inspirational to work with, a great leader and somebody who is really working to -- to do immigration reform the right way, to get a bipartisan solution that truly addresses the challenges that we face with immigration reform and to get it done the right way. in addition to senator corker and myself, other sponsors include senator john mccain, senator lindsey graham, senator marco rubio, senator jeff flake, senator kelly ayotte, senator dean heller, and others that are joining us on this legislation. i believe a number of them will be down here to provide their comments as well. i believe that the first order
of business for immigration reform is to secure the border. i want to repeat that. i believe that the first order of business for immigration reform is to secure the border. americans want immigration reform. of that there is no doubt. but they want us to get it right and that means first and foremost securing the border. in 1986, president reagan and the congress granted legalized status to between 3 million and 4 million illegal immigrants. the intent was to once and for all resolve the illegal immigration problem. but obviously it didn't. here we are today with more than 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. and here we are today with a border that is still not -- that has still not been secured. ironically, while illegal immigrants continue to come into our country because we've not secured the border, at the same
time, at the same time our immigration laws do not meet the needs of our modern-day work force for stem-trained workers and other specialty and high-demand areas. in fact, one of the strengths of the underlying bill, the underlying legislation drafted by the gang of eight on a bipartisan basis, along with amendments that have already been added in committee, one of the strengths is that it includes provisions that will help us with our work force needs. these provisions were adopted from legislation that myself and other senators sponsored, like legislation led by the esteemed senator from texas, senator john cornyn, which would allow an increased number of college graduates, post-college degreed individuals, stem -- science, technology, engineering and math -- trained individuals, and other highly-skilled, highly-trained people who wil will -- who could stay in this country, people we need to help
grow our economy and to help create jobs. we also want people who can bring capital and job-creating opportunities to come to our country, and i believe the underlying bill has captured these concepts. the immigration innovation legislation that i was proud to cosponse we are senators hatch and klobuchar, coons and others, is included in this bill. -- cosponsor with senators hatch and klobuchar, coons and others, is included in this bill. but we're not done. we're not done. we must do more to secure the border in this legislation and that's exactly what we're offering here today. it is a very straightforward way to secure our border and to do so before allowing a pathway to legal permanent residency for those who came here illegally. furthermore, it will ensure that we do not repeat the error we made before. failure to secure our border will at the same time -- while
at the same time fixing our immigration laws. it builds on what's already in the underlying bill and it provides objective, verifiable standards and metrics to do so. our legislation will provide significantly more resources to secure the border. more manpower, more fencing, more technology. and those resources must be fully deployed and operational before green card status is allowed. the legislation provides five specific conditions which must be met before anyone in r.p.i. status -- registered provisional immigrant status -- can be adjusted or transitioned to l.p.r. -- lawful permanent resident -- status, green cards these conditions are, first, we are including a comprehensive southern border security plan right in the legislation. this is a $3.2 billion high-tech
plan. the plan is detailed. border sector by border sector. and it includes combinations of conventional security infrastructure, like observation towers, fixed and mobile camera systems, helicopters, planes, and other physical surveillance equipment to secure the border. the plan also includes high-tech tools like mobile surveillance systems, seismic imaging, infrared ground censors and unmanned aerial systems equipped with infrared radar cameras, vadar radar and long-range thermal imaging cameras. the secretary of homeland security, together with the secretary of defense and the comptroller general of the u.s., the g.a.o., must certify to the congress that this comprehensive southern border security strategy is deployed and operational. that means in place and operating other than routine maintenance. that's the first requirement
before the adjustment to l.p.r. status. second, d.h.s. must deploy and maintain 20,000 additional border patrol agents on the southern border. that's in addition to the number of border patrol agents on the border now, which is right about 20,000 now. so we'll double the number of armed border patrol agents to detect and turn back those individuals who would try to cross our border illegally. third, d.h.s. must build 700 miles of fencing. that's double the amount required in the underlying bill, which calls for 350 miles of fencing. 700 miles of fencing. that compares to about 42 miles of fencing we have in place right now. fourth, the secretary of homeland security must verify that the mandatory everify system has been implemented to
enforce workplace laws so that illegal immigrants are not employed. and fifth, the electronic entry-exit identification system must be in place at all international airports and seaports in the united states where u.s. customs and border protections officers are currently deployed. so these are the requirements. these are the requirements, and they must be met before lawful permanent residency is allowed. no green cards other than for dreamers and blue card ag workers until these requirements are met. once again, simply put, we must secure the border first. that's what americans demand, and that's what we must do to get comprehensive immigration reform right. that's what this legislation does, and it does it with objective and verifiable
methods. we ask our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join with us and to pass this legislation. thank you, madam president. at this point, i would like to turn to my distinguished colleague from tennessee, and again i want to thank him for his tremendous work, which is ongoing, but i just can't say how much i appreciate his -- his good efforts and his good faith on a bipartisan basis. i turn for his comments as well as then to enter into a colloquy with our colleagues who have worked so hard and played a real leadership role with this legislation. senator corker. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator from north dakota for his outstanding leadership. you would expect that from someone who served in such a distinguished way as governor of his state. he is used to leading. he has done an outstanding job on this issue. i want to thank him for being a great partner. i know we still have some work to do. the fact is we still have to introduce this amendment and work is under way right now, but
i want to thank him, his staff and all around him for the way that he has dug into this issue, solved the problems that i think americans are looking for relative to security issues and working with us in the way that you have. thank you very much. and i want to thank the gang of eight for the work that they have done over the last multiple months to bring us to the place that we are where we have an opportunity to do something that america needs, and that is to solve the immigration issue that we have and to also ensure that in doing so, we absolutely secure the border. one of my colleagues called this amendment -- and again, it is being vetted right now. we hope to introduce it a little later today. there is a broad agreement about what the content of it is, and it is again being vetted and will be introduced later today. some people have described this as a border surge. the fact is that we are investing resources and securing our border that have never been
invested before, doubling the border patrol, $3.2 billion of the technology we took from the chief of the border patrol, the technology that he needs to have 100% awareness and to secure our border, dealing with the exit program, dealing with everify so that all of these things are in place, i want to thank senator cornyn from texas who began the process of focusing on border security. i realize that his amendment earlier failed, but i think what he helped us do is build momentum towards an amendment that i consider to be far stronger and even better, but his efforts at looking at a border security measure i think helped us in this regard. so i want to say -- and i'm not the kind of person who speaks for a long time. i think people understand that. i think the senator from north dakota has done an outstanding job of laying out the many elements of this amendment that hopefully will be voted on in
the very near future, but i do think the american people have asked us if we pass an immigration bill off the senate floor to do everything that we can to ensure that we have secured the border. that's what people in tennessee have asked for. that's what people in north dakota have asked for. that's what people in arizona have asked for. and madam president, i think that's what this amendment does. i think this amendment has the ability, if passed, to bring a bipartisan effort behind information reform that would then send the bill to the house. look, i do wish that this amendment had some other measures relative to interior security. and i think that the house can improve this, i think a conference can improve this, and i hope that we have the opportunity down the road to see that occur. but i want to thank all involved in crafting an amendment that i think tries to deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secure our
border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the needs of a growing economy, the biggest economy in the world, that focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully will put this debate behind us. so, madam president, i yield the floor and i -- mr. mccain: would the senator yield for a question? mr. corker: yes, sir. mr. mccain: first, could i say, all of us who have had the honor of working with you and the senator from north dakota are greatly appreciative of the work that you've done. if there is going to be a broad bipartisan support for the final product, it will be because of what you and the senator from north dakota have done. and i'm very, very grateful for that. and i think it's important, wouldn't you agree, that people understand that this is a very tough bill, and it required a
lot of cooperation from our friends on the other side of the aisle to go along and agree with this. i think that they have shown a great deal of compromise in order to reach this point and agree with us on this legislation, which clearly we need bipartisan support for, but i'd like to ask the senator again for a couple of specifics because i think it's important we understand how tough this legislation is. we know -- isn't it true that already we know that everify must be used by every employer in the country before anyone under this plan could be eligible for a green card? isn't that true? it is already there. mr. corker: that is correct. mr. mccain: and the electronic entry-exit system at all international air and seaports has to be up and operational before anyone is eligible for a green card, is that true? mr. corker: that is correct.
mr. mccain: now, thanks to you and the senator from north dakota, isn't it true that additional technology must be deployed and operational in the field, and that includes a new vader radar systems, integrated fixed towers, unmanned aerial systems, fixed cameras, mobile surveillance systems, ground sensors, to the point where, isn't it true, that the head of the border patrol has assured us that if these technologies are in place and operational, that we can have 100% situational awareness and 90% effective control at the border, i would ask my colleague. mr. corker: that is correct. mr. mccain: so in order to finally put the final piece of this puzzle together, isn't it true that you and the senator from north dakota have called for 350 miles of additional border fencing in addition to the 350 miles that's already there, and 20,000 new full-time border patrol agents are hired
and deployed before someone is eligible for a green card, is that a fact? mr. corker: that is correct. i don't know of anybody that has proposed a tougher measure, when you look at it all combined, than the measure that is -- that hopefully will be on the floor in the very near future. mr. mccain: i wonder if the senator from north dakota would like to respond to that. mr. hoeven: i appreciate the esteemed senator from arizona again emphasizing these points. that's what this is all about. this is about securing the border. all of the things that you just identified are in the bill, they are requirements. the plan itself, this $3.2 billion comprehensive southern border strategic plan is detailed border sector by border sector, and again, this puts everybody in the same place, saying we're going to secure the border first because there is no green cards until we secure the border. mr. mccain: isn't that true, i would say to my two colleagues.
madam president, i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with both the senator from tennessee and the senator from north dakota. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: isn't it true, i say to my friends, that on our side of the aisle, there is understandable skepticism and well-founded skepticism on the part of my friend from texas because we have seen this movie before. in 1986, we gave amnesty to three million people and we said we would secure the border. then in 2006, we passed a border security appropriations and there was going to be plenty of money and it was never funded. so for those of us in the southwest, particularly, but people all over america, isn't it true that there is understandable skepticism that we would not pass legislation which is binding, and isn't it true that you can't make this as far as border patrol and as far as miles of fencing any more binding than it is, in your amendment?
a senator: absolutely. mr. hoeven: i would like to add that it's not just all these things that we're putting on the border and that we are requiring that these things are in place and certified and operating before you go to green card status, but also it's about eliminating the incentive to try to get across the border. when we put everify in place and we have a proper guest worker program, you take away the incentive to try to get across the border. so we secure the border, but we also take away the incentive to come across because you can come across legally through the guest worker program, and if you come across illegally, we're going to find you and you can't get a job, so it's both. that's what we mean when we talk about comprehensive border security and a comprehensive approach. mr. mccain: i would ask my colleagues one more question. with all due respect to every member of this body, when you look at this legislation and you look at these triggers and you look at the technology that's going to be required, which if
operational the head of the border patrol has said we'll give 100% awareness and 90% effective control plus thisocracying in fencing plus border patrol agents and the already existing in legislation everify, and i think the senator from north dakota is very correct. you remove the incentive for people, if they know that they can't get a job in this country unless they have the proper documents, then people will stop coming illegally. and it also addresses the issue of the 40% who are here who never crossed our border illegally but came on a visa and overstayed it. i just would ask for a -- maybe a subjective opinion. is it possible that you could ever argue against this legislation now by saying that it does not give us a secure border? mr. corker: i think it would be very difficult -- and i thank the senator from arizona for raising this issue. if the issue that one has is
securing the border with this immigration bill, if this amendment passes, which i hope that it will, i don't know how anybody could argue that the reason they are not supporting this legislation is because we haven't addressed securing the border. we have addressed that. we have addressed that in spades in this legislation. again, i want to thank the senator from north dakota for his leadership on this issue and the other side of the aisle for working with us, but i don't think that anyone who votes against this bill could argue that the reason, if we pass this amendment, we need to get it to the floor. we're still working out some issues, and hopefully we will be done in a few hours. but i don't know how you could argue that we haven't dealt with the issue that many people have been concerned about, many people in tennessee, and that is we have, if this legislation passes in the form that it is, with this amendment as we've agreed, we have secured the border. mr. schumer: madam president?
mr. mccain: could we finish answering this question, i say to my colleague? mr. hoeven: i would respond to the good senator from arizona and say look, all of the ideas that have been brought forward to secure the border, we have worked to include in this package. we have tried on a bipartisan way to listen to everybody and say what can we do, what can we put on the border to secure the border? we've tried to bring all those resources to bear. and to the good senator from arizona, i would say we want to bring in our senator from florida who has worked so hard, along with you, on this issue to provide truly the right kind of leadership for comprehensive reform on a bipartisan basis, and i also want to reach out to the good senator from texas. a lot of the ideas in this bill came from legislation he put forward. look, this is about all of us putting our ideas into securing this border. we have tried to include everybody's ideas in this
effort. that's exactly -- a senator: would the senator yield for a question? mr. hoeven: i would. i would yield to the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i thank the senator. i honestly respect and value the work that the so-called gang of eight has done on this legislation, as well as the contributions made by my colleague from north dakota and from tennessee. i think they have moved this bill in a constructive direction to give people more confidence that we're actually serious about dealing with border security. but i want to ask them to distinguish, if they will, between the provision that they i know supported, both of them, in my amendment that was tabled earlier, which makes the progress from probationary status to green card contingent upon 100% situational awareness of the border and a 90% apprehension rate, which is defined as operational control.
how does your amendment differ from that? my understanding just from -- and i know it hasn't been written yet or hasn't been completed yet. but my understanding is that senator schumer and the democrats would not agree to that. i know they object to it. senator schumer has been quite clear in his telling me that. but i would just -- my impression is this is a promise of future performance and there is no contingency in the same sense there was a trigger that prohibited the transition from probationary status to legal permanent residency. could the senator please clarify that? mr. hoeven: i appreciate the question from the senator from the great state of texas. i thank him for the work we did and the work we did together and the fact that we absolutely tried to build on concepts that
you put forward. it's not the same but we tried to build on those concepts. in terms of the actual border security plan, the comprehensive border security strategy, the $3.2 billion plan that includes technology, helicopters, planes, all these different things that i detailed, that is exactly what you were talking about in your legislation. so physically we do deploy all the things that you laid out in your legislation, and then we add to it 20,000 agents and -- an additional 350 miles of fence on top of the 350 miles of fence called for in the underlying bill. so we put all of the physical resources out there and then we add all the fencing and all the manpower to make sure we accomplish exactly what you were laying out. and in terms of the trigger, all those things are triggers before going to a green card. so it's different in that the discussion was how do we is i
want verifiable metrics, and that's what we're doing by clearly delineating all these things we're putting in; okay? and then we actually add to what you had in the legislation. a senator: would the senator yield. mr. cornyn: for one last question? mr. hoeven: i would. mr. cornyn: i know there are others who want to talk and it is not my intention toent fear with the colloquy here. the 20,000 border patrol, the movement has been pretty dramatic, mr. president. we started with zero additional border patrol. my amendment was disparaged by the distinguished senior senator from arizona and the distinguished senior senator from new york as being a budget buster, 5,000 border patrol. i was told we don't need more boots. we need technology. now i find to my shock and amazement the distinguished
senior senator from arizona saying we need 20,000 more border patrol. how much is it going to cost? that's the question. mr. hoeven: if i may, if i may respond to that, again that makes my point to the senator from texas, i want to thank him for his work. that's a great example of how we built on the foundation you laid. that's a great example. you asked for 5,000 border patrol agents, and we got 20,000. this is a great example, and it is all paid for because remember -- now this is important -- mr. cornyn: i repeat my question. how much is it going to cost? mr. hoeven: that's where i'm going. in the c.b.o. score in the first ten years $197 billion. we use about $30 billion to darned sure make that border is secure. but overall, this bill, with this amendment, creates border security and more than pays for itself. and here's the other point. remember in that c.b.o. score it
showed $197 billion in terms of revenue creation. we use $30 billion of that to add the border agents and secure the border. here's the other thing we've got to look at in that c.b.o. score. it said with the underlying bill, without our amendment, with the underlying bill we would have seven million more illegal immigrants in this country in ten years. without the bill we'd have ten million more. so what does that say? it didn't get the job done on border security and that's exactly why we're adding that amendment. mr. cornyn: to the distinguished senators for the answer to the question, thank you. mr. mccain: mr. president, as usual, the senator from south carolina has a very busy schedule. i would ask unanimous consent ask unanimous consent that i be allowed ten minutes. then i regain the floor. i ask unanimous consent for that. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i can do this -- the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mccain: is my request
agreed to? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mccain: thank you. mr. graham: thank you. thank you all. to senator cornyn's question about cost, i never objected to more border patrol agents. i didn't know how we would pay for the bill. i hoped it would be deficit-neutral. boy, did my hopes come true. it's not deficit-neutral. according to the congressional budget office we reduce the deficit in the first ten years by $190 billion and over a seven year period $7 hundred billion billion. the reason i didn't want to agree to 5,000 agents without somebody showing me how to pay for it we're borrowing enough money from our grand kherpb -- children and great-grandchildren to run the government. we don't need to borrow anymore. it will create economic growth
in the country at a time we need economic growth. it will allow employers access to labor they don't have today so they won't be tempted to cheat in the future. this bill helps the economy. don't take my word for it. take c.b.o.'s word for it. if you had some more money to spend in this bill, how would you want to spend it? let me tell you what senator graham would like to do. he would like to hire 20,000 border patrol agents to let everybody in the country know i get it when you say we've got to secure the border. you're right. we've had two ways of illegal immigration. we don't need a third. why are we doing this? why 20,000 border patrol agents? that's three brigade of troops. that's taking three brigades equivalent of army troops to supplement the 20,000 we've got. you'll have a border patrol agent every 1,000 feet on the border 24 hours a day seven days a week. it costs over $20 billion, but i can tell you this. it's money well spent, because it makes the border more secure,
which helps us with our sovereignty. why are we hiring 20,000 agents on top of the 20,000 we got? because our country can't control who comes in. we cannot maintain our sovereignty if every 10 and 20 years 3 million to 11 million illegal immigrants come into our country. and if you want the border secured like i do, your ship has come in. the 20,000 border patrol agents are now affordable and they're needed. the 700 mile of fence will be built because it's needed. the $3.2 billion of technology that has been proven to work in iraq and afghanistan will go to the border because it will help back up the border patrol agents. as to my good friend from texas, how do we know all this works? the bill requires us to hire the agents and put them on the
border before you can transition to green card. it is not talking about hiring the agents. you've got to hire and deploy. the bill also says the fence has to be built. the bill says the $3.2 billion of new technology that worked in iraq and afghanistan has to be bought, purchased, deployed and operational. here's my belief. if you hire the border patrol agents and you put them on the border, they're not going to read a comic book. they're going to do their job. you don't need to prove to me they're going to do their job. you just need to get them on the border so they can do their job. if you have the 18 drones versus the 6, you don't need to prove to me somebody will flew them. they'll fly them. and if you have the technology deployed and operational in addition to the drones, the vadr radar and the sensors, people will look at the radar because they want to probgt our country -- protect our country. what's been missing is capacity. this is a border surge. we have militarized our border almost.
why? because we've lost our sovereignty. we've lost the ability to control who comes into america. my belief is that if you can't get a green card until all this is bought, purchased, deployed, that's enough. there will come a point where it's enough. ladies and gentlemen, i've been working on this for almost a decade with senator mccain. i can look anybody in the eye and tell them that if you put 20,000 border patrol agents on the border in addition to 20,000 we've got, that's one every 1,000 feet. that will work. and if you buy technology that helped us fight and create success in iraq when we did the surge, that will help the border patrol agents. and if you build a fence, that all helps. so i don't need any more than just getting it in place. and finally, to my good friends from tennessee, my good friend from north dakota, the bill, when we wrote it, i thought was good. but you've made it a lot better.
and to anybody in america who believes border security should be robust and it is a national security priority, we have in every sense of the term reasonable met that goal. we couldn't have done it without more people. to the gang of eight members, it's been a stkwroeu to work on this -- it's been a joy to work on this bill. to our colleagues who have weighed in and try to get the bill better and get the yes, you're doing this country a great service. so i hope that monday night we will pass legislation that will mandate that 20,000 additional border patrol agents will be on the border working before you can get a green card, that the technology that worked in afghanistan and iraq will be up and operational before you can get a green card. the fence will be built before you can get a green card. and to me, ladies and gentlemen, that's enough. that is enough. the people that we're talking about deserve a hard-earned process to get in to america.
they need to pay a fine, learn our language, get in the back of the line. they need to earn their way into good standing. but they are people. so i am very pleased to support what i think is the most dramatic amendment in the history of our country, to secure our border at a time when we need it secured. thank you very much. mr. sessions: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: thank you. under the previous order, -- mr. sessions: what is the order, if i might ask? who's controlling -- is someone controlling -- the presiding officer: the order was to recognize the senator from arizona after the senator from south carolina. mr. mccain: i thank my friend from south carolina, with his usual eloquent exposition of what this situation is all about. i have other colleagues who are waiting to speak, but i just want to say again, the senator from north dakota and the
senator from tennessee have shown the best of what this institution can be all about. not only did they reach agreement between the two of them, not only did they reach agreement with, i believe, a significant number of our colleagues but they also reached agreement with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. in this day and age, that's a signal of success. and i thank them for not only what they've produced but the many compromises that they had to make along the way. i won't try to embellish what the senator from south carolina said except to say that, mr. president, i come from a state that has probably been torn apart more than any other state by this issue. we passed legislation in reaction to our broken borders, by ranchers in the southern part of my state were actually murdered, wur our wildlife refugees were destroyed, where people died in the desert by the hundreds, their bodies found
month later. where coyotes bring people across the border and hold them in drop houses in phoenix and hold them for ransom under the most unspeakable conditions. where drugs are brought freely across the border and guided by guides on mountaintops, guiding these drug cartels as they bring the drugs to phoenix and the drug people will tell you phoenix, arizona, is still the major drug distribution center in the united states of america. so i take a back seat to no one, even from the great state of texas, of the enormous challenges and controversies associated with illegal immigration. we tried before, and we failed. we tried before and we failed. and we failed. i won't go why we failed and all the people who are responsible. i take responsibility. i didn't do a good enough job in selling my colleagues on the absolute need for immigration
reform. the facts are that 11 million people live in the shadows and they live here in de facto amnesty and, by god, they are being exploited every single day. shouldn't it be a nation found on gee day i don't see christian principles to bring these people out of the -- on judeo-christian principles to bring these people out of the shadows, yes, punish them for crossing the border illegally, but shouldn't we as a nation come together and pass this legislation and not manufacture reasons for not doing that? isn't there enough of a penalty? isn't there enough border security now thanks to my colleagues from north dakota and from tennessee?
mr. mccain: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i understand that both my colleagues from new hampshire and florida wish to speak, so i would be happy to have each of them speak for five minutes and then me speak for five minutes, if that's okay. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent, five, five and five, okay? the presiding officer: hearing no objection, the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague from new york for giving us that courtesy. i rise in support of the amendment that will be offered by my colleagues from tennessee and north dakota. i appreciate the hard work that they have done to enhance the border security provisions in the current pending immigration bill on the floor, to all of us securing our border is very, very important to preventing
another wave of illegal immigration in this country. but what they have done is incredibly important, it's very, very strong, the strongest measures that i think this body has considered. 20,000 border patrol agents, essentially doubling those agents that will be along the southern border. in addition to that, really significantly increasing the fencing, in fact, at least 700 miles of fencing will have to be completed along the southern border, almost doubling what was already in the bill for fencing. specifying what types of technology that the department of homeland security will have to deploy, including the best technology, using censors and drones to make sure we can aprecedented those -- apprehend those trying to illegally cross
our border and very much making sure we prevent a further wave of illegal immigration along with the strong reforms in this bill to our legal immigration system of making sure that we can keep the best and the brightest here, to help us grow our economy, to make sure that we have the work force we need to ensure that we will create jobs here. let us not forget we are a country of immigrants. i dare say that most of my colleagues here, that either their parents or their grandparents came from another country and worked very, very hard in this country. and so we need a legal immigration that works for our country, that makes sure that our economy continues to grow, and that we have people here who want to work hard and live the american dream. but we also cannot ignore securing our southern border, and that's why i'm proud to
cosponsor the amendment that will be offered by senator corker, senator hoeven. this doubles the amount of border agents, specifies the type of technology that is required and gives the resources to finally secure our border. to my republican colleagues, i think there was an on edin "the wall street journal" -- op-ed in "the wall street journal" today that is worth mentioning. i share their concerns about securing the border, but i hope with the strong enhancements that have been put in this amendment to double the amount of border security, to strengthen and double almost the amount of fencing, to make sure that the right technology is in place to secure our border, this will prevent another wave of illegal immigration that they will not use border security as a ruse not to vote for a bill to fix an immigration system that is absolutely broken. the status quo isn't working for
anyone, and none of us want to find ourselves here another five years from now debating this issue again and finding that we have a larger population of illegal immigration and we have a legal immigration that isn't working for our country and isn't making sure that we have the right people here, people who are working hard, living the american dream to grow our economy and create american jobs here. so, you know, i think today "the wall street journal" had said that this border security issue cannot be used as a trick not to want to support a strong bill which is on the floor with this amendment, will make it very strong on the border security provisions and finally, work in a bipartisan manner to fix a broken immigration system that is not working for anyone and not working for our country. so i thank you, mr. president, and i will turn this over to my
colleague from florida, who i want to commend my colleague from florida, who has worked along with the other members of the group, senators from arizona as well as the senator from south carolina, but the senator from florida, i know how focused he is on making sure that our borders are secure. i appreciate his strong leadership in fixing this broken immigration system and making sure that we do not have another wave of illegal immigration in this country. and with that i'll turn it over to the senator from florida. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. inhofe: parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator will state his inquiry inquiry. mr. inhofe: it's my understanding we were getting equal time back and forth and my question is, is this based on party so that democrats and then republicans will alternate in their time? is that correct? the presiding officer: we have no agreement for alternating. mr. inhofe: there is no agreement. because all i've heard in the last hour are those who are in support of the bill. my question would be when can
someone be heard who is not in support of the bill? the presiding officer: the time was equally divided between majority and minority. not between proponents and opponents. mr. inhofe: i see. all right. mr. sessions: was that by unanimous consent? the presiding officer: it was. mr. sessions: that explains it, then. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate this opportunity and i'll be brief. my colleagues have already stated what this entails and the details of it, and i think that's important. i got involved in this issue earlier this year after spending the better part of my first two years in the senate thinking about this issue because quite frankly, not just being from florida but in south florida i'm surrounded by the reality of it every single day. when i started this effort i daip deeply convinced this is something that needed to be fixed and dealt with. but from the very beginning, i made clear that border security was an essential component not it. i want to clarify why.
this is not against anybody. border security is not an anti-anyone effort. that's not what it is. we understand that america is a special country. it's so special that people want to come here from all over the world and they do. a million people come legally every single year. we also understand that it's so special and unique that some people are willing to risk their lives to come here illegally. and as compassionate people we understand that reality and our heart breaks at the stories of what people have to go through to come here but we also understand the united states of america is a sovereign country. and every single sovereign country on the planet, every single one, tries to or does control its borders and who comes into the country and who leaves. every country in the world does that. and the united states of america should not be any different. and so that's what this issue at the end of the day is about. is that we have a sovereign right to protect our border. and we have a crisis on the southern border of the united
states. for many different reasons peoples ch people have chosen to cross that border illegally consistently for the last 20 or 30 years and the results are evident to all of us. that is why border security is such an important part of this bill and of this measure. when we introduced our bill, the bill said that basically the department of homeland security would not given some money and that they would get to decide what the border security plan looked like. many people in the public and many of our colleagues were unhappy with that proposal. they raised valid concerns that we were turning over border security and deciding what the plan would be to people that claim it's already secure. and so what this amendment does, it takes that back, and it says that we instead, we here in the senate will decide what that plan is after we get input from border agents and others about what will work and what this amendment reflects is what we know will work. we know that adding border patrol agents, doubling the side of the border patrol, will work. we know that completing the
fence will work. we know that an entry-exit tracking system since 40% of our illegal immigrants are those who overstay their visas, we know that will work. we know everify, will work because it takes away the magnet of employment. and we know that these new technologies that weren't available to us in 1986 or in 2006 or even five years ago, we know that will work and what this bill says you must do all of those things and it is linked to legal permanent residence. in essence someone who vitalled -- violated our immigration laws cannot become a legal permanent resident in the united states until all five things happen. that's the guarantee these will happen. let me close by saying i understand the frustration i really do, i know that these promises have been made in the past. in a moment the senator from alabama, whose position on this is well stated will point out these promises were made in 1986. by the way in 1986 i was 15
years old and i got to tell you immigration was the last thing on my mind at that time. but here's the reality of it. the choice is -- before us is to try to fix this or leave at this time way it is. and what we have today is a disaster of epic proportions. 10 million or 11 million human beings living with among us, there are criminals among them. that has to be solved. a illegal immigration system built on the 19th century, we need to fix this and this is our chance to fix it. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: mr. president, thank you. and first i want to thank my colleagues -- from tennessee for the good work they have done, my gang of eight -- seven of the gang of eight colleagues who are my colleagues.
we are working real hard to get a bill done and it is not easy. it's one of the hardest things i've ever done as a legislator but we keep making progress and improving and today i think is a breakthrough day. let me go over it. first, speaking on behalf of the democratic members of my bipartisan group, let's say this: there's still some drafting of the legislative language to be completed. we're continuing to inform all our allies our side about the contours of the proposal, but barring something unexpected, we're extremely enthusiastic that a bipartisan agreement is at hand. i know there have been a number of news reports this morning, it is accurate. we are on the verge of a huge breakthrough on border security. with this agreement we believe we have the makings of a strong, bipartisan, final vote in favor of this immigration reform bill. from the beginning of the floor debate on this bill, we have known that there were a group of our colleagues on the other side
of the aisle who were inclined to vote for immigration reform but first wanted to see a strengthening of the bill's -- the bill's border security section. that made sense. because most americans will be fair and common sense towards the 11 million here in the shadows and future immigration if and only if they feel we won't have future flows of illegal immigration. we took those concerns seriously. our bill is tough on this stuff. we wanted it tough. the amendment makes it tougher still. last week, senators corker and hoeven emerged as leaders of the group of like-minded colleagues from the other side of the aisle seeking a tougher approach. my friend senator graham and mccain and i sat down with them. we began talking along with senator menendez, we began meeting with them ourselves this week. for us on the democratic side, it's been an important bottom-
line throughout this process that the path to citizenship not be put in jeopardy. the path is tough as it should be but must always be fair. and so we could not go along with efforts like in my colleague from texas' bill that would tie the path to citizenship to unachievable benchmarks for the border. senator cornyn's amendment which was defeated today went too far in that regard and i wasn't sure whether the new negotiations would produce agreement, either. as recently as tuesday night senator hoeven and i had an extended phone conversation that lasted 45 minutes, would probably be best be described, madam president, as spirited. but about 24 hours ago we had a breakthrough. the idea that broke the logjam is the so-called boyd surge plan. the border surge is breathtaking in its size and scope. it will freeway an unprecedented
number of boots on the ground and drones in the air, double the size of the border patrol from its current level to over 40,000. it will finish the job of completing the fence along the entire 700-mile stretch of the southwest border. and it will enumerate on a secretarior-by-sector basis lists of cutting edge tools and equipment that will boost surveillance and apprehension, including surveillance and towers and drones. in other words, it calls for a breath taking show of force that will encourage future waves of illegal immigration. it it not only calls for finishing a literal fence it will create a virtual human fence of border patrol agents. under the border surge, the border patrol will have the capacity to deploy an armed agent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to stand guard every thousand feet all the way
from san diego, california, to brownsville, texas. we came you were with this idea of the border surge wednesday morning after the c.b.o. report was released. my colleague from texas asked why not a week ago? we didn't have the c.b.o. report. we didn't know we had the dollars. we have them now. and we still keep to our goal of not costing the treasury a nickel. the c.b.o. report was a true game changer. it gave us the budgetary flexibility to consider massive new investments in border security that we didn't think we could previously afford. the surge shows the commitment to border security that our colleagues have been asking for. i was heartened to see that our friend, the junior senator from illinois is already announced that based on this agreement he's prepared to support final passage of the bill. this is a significant development considering start kirk initially opposed the motion to proceed. it is safe to say this agreement has the power to change minds in the senate.
mr. president -- madam president, this agreement on border security continues the spirit of bipartisan compromise that has marked this legislation from the beginning. and, in fact, in the forthcoming corker-hoeven amendment, it will be a vehicle for accommodating some other compromises and other areas of republican concern as well. with this agreement, we have now answered every criticism that has come forward about the immigration bill. first, critics expressed worry about the process. it was closed, there would be no amendments allowed. the bill was available for perusal weeks before we went to committee. the committee, under senator leahy's leadership, was an open process with 300 amendments filed. and now we're spending weeks on the floor here trying to move as many amendments as possible and some on the other side have blocked that from happening as quickly as we would like.
some on our side, too. but we're moving through these amendments. the next criticism was that it would cost a fortune. c.b.o. debunked that one pretty well. this adds to the treasury, cuts the deficit $900 billion over the next 20 years, $175 billion over the next ten years. and, finally, the last argumen argument -- we have to secure the border. that is vital before anyone could support the bill, or some could support the bill. we have answered that resoundingly with the hoeven-corker amendment. we have much more work to do but i am now confident -- more confident than ever before -- that the senate will pass a strong, bipartisan immigration reform bill and that it will ultimately reach the desk of the president for signature. it's a great day for the cause of immigration reform and for
the senate. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask consent to be able to speak for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: any objection? without objection. without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, i know senator schumer and the gang of eight have worked hard on this legislation. i respect their efforts and their goals. i share their goals and share much of the principles that they've stated. but what we've learned is that the legislation came nowhere close to fulfilling those goals. and that's why here in the middle of the debate, after the bill has been exposed, after it's been hammered for failure after failure after failure after failure, they come up with a bill that says, don't worry now, we're going to throw 20,000 agents at the border and now you all got to vote for it because
we've fixed it. now you've got what you wanted. but i would -- i would say to my colleagues, too often the phrase "border security" has been used to include all legal and illegal activities that occur. and what we know is not only do we have problems at the border, we have 40% of the people who are illegally here today are visa overstays, and c.b.o.'s report that just came out indicates that's going to grow, as i have predicted it would, in the future. because we're going to have twice as many people come to the country on visas and they're coming to take jobs, jobs that americans need to be prepared for to take, and we need to get them prepared if they're not prepared. and we need to get them off welfare and off dependency into self-sufficiency, making good wages, making wages that allow them to pay their health care and -- and have a retirement plan and have enough left over
to take care of their families. that's not been happening. wages for average american workers has been declining since 1999 and it's a serious problem. i thought perhaps or initially, with the republican agenda, th that -- that this was a temporary thing, it might bounce back. but we've seen this sustained. and what the congressional budget office scored that senator schumer referred to -- but he didn't refer to this -- concluded was this bill will accelerate that decline. wages will drop more than they would have if the bill didn't pass. and they found that unemployment would go up. and they found that although you would have some increase in the economy with millions of people coming, per capita, per person, the g.d.p. would decrease. so this -- this is a real problem that we need to be honest about. how large a flow of people can we sustain and create jobs for?
do we want to invite good people to come to america to take jobs and then they not be here for them? do we want to bring in so many people that wages for american workers decline, that americans can't get the jobs? and if somebody comes from a very low, poor country willing to work at the lowest possible wage, won't that pull down the wages of -- of americans who were hoping to get a pay raise instead of a pay cut? i submit to you, this is a serious thing and this is why the -- professor borjas as harvard as said it will impact adversely the wages of american workers, particularly american low-income workers, they will get the most adverse economic impact. and it's not been disputed so far as i can see. now, the senator says that the bill is paid for. and you know what they do? they count the off-budget money.
let me tell you what happens. under the score that the congressional budget office gave to us, they found that it would increase the on-budget budget deficit by $14 billion. increase the on-budget debt of america by $14 billion over the period of 10 years. but they have a surplus, they say, over 10 years in the off-budget accounts, some $200 billion, and they've counted that up and said we've got a net surplus. hallelujah. but what is the off-budget money, madam president? what are we talking about for the off-budget money? that's your social security and medicare money. and everybody that pays into social security and medicare, when they get ready to retire, are going to draw that money out. it doesn't add to the net
financial benefit of america if a person illegally here, now given a social security card, now starts paying social security. but they're going to draw the social security. you can't count the off-budget money. that's how this country's been going broke, we've been using that budget gimmick for way too long and that's not correct and we shouldn't be doing that. and it's not going to improve the deficit over 10 years. it's quite clear if you read the testimony -- the statement of the congressional budget office and their important report. and, you know, it says some other things. in the congressional budget office report, it says with regard to wages for american workers that thi if this bill passes, wages will go down. it says if this bill passes,
that unemployment will go up. that's their analysis of it. and it has a chart, a chart in there showing that it goes over 10 years -- or 20 years per capita g.d.p. is below the -- what it would be if the bill had not passed. and that wages are going to be low for years to come. why in the world would we here as americans want to increase dramatically the legal flow of immigration above our current generous rate, doubling the guest worker program in addition to legalizing the 11 million people that would be legalized under the legislation and in addition to the 4.5 million that will be given speeded-up allocation under chain migration system. so you'll have 4.5 million accelerated under chain migration as a result of
limiting -- lifting the limits on those individuals and the people that are here illegally. and then in addition to that you'll have a large flow of -- of other workers. now, i have an amendment. this is a number of pages of it, some 30 pages. very similar to what the house is working on today that deals with the visa overstay. it deals with people who get into the country legally but don't go home, that don't cross the border. it's a growing percentage of the illegality that we see today and it will soon be over half of the illegality and it certainly would if the legislation is passed. so does this legislation that senator schumer refers to fix that? does this legislation that senator schumer says with the amendment, does it solve the complaints of the immigration and customs enforcement agents?
they have written us multiple times. they pleaded to be allowed to meet with the gang of eight to be able to explain the realities of enforcement difficulties in america and why we're having an impossible time of making enforcement work and why this administration is blocking them from actually enforcing the law as they are sworn to do. and they voted "no confidence" in their supervisor, mr. martin. they filed a lawsuit against secretary napolitano and they've asserted to her that -- that she's blocking them through regulations and -- and policies from enforcing the law they're sworn to enforce and the matter's been in the court and the court's considering this lawsuit. i've never heard of that, federal agents suing because they're not allowed to enforce the law. that is going on in america today. and the i.c.e. agents, they've written us a letter and they said, this will make it work.
they said, it will endanger national security. and what about the other part of the immigration process, the citizenship and immigration service? this is the group of officers who have to review the amnesty applications, review applications from abroad and do those kind of things. well, what do they say about it? they say the bill will make the situation worse, it will make it impossible for them to do their job. they do not have anything like the capacity to process the 11 million people that are going to be asking for amnesty. and it's not going to work, it will make the system worse. they haven't been listened to in this process either. now, senator schumer says -- and i hope everybody heard it -- we got a plan, don't worry, we're going to throw 20,000 agents at the border and now you can quit
complaining, you complainers, and just be happy and vote for our bill. well, then he said something like, well, we don't have it written yet. we don't have it written yet and we're working on it and we're sharing it with our allies and we haven't shown it to anybody else yet, but trust us, we've got a bill that will work. well, that's what they said when the bill was originally filed. they said they had a sufficient fencing system at the border. and we read the bill and there was no requirement in the bill to have a fencing -- build any fences at the border. it was totally up to the secretary. and so now he seems quite happy, not having been able to run that past the senate, having been caught on that deal he's now willing to enhance some fencing. but current law, law we passed a
decade ago, required 700 miles of double-layer fencing which would actually be very, very effective. this bill now, after having had the bill endangered and they've run up now and said, well, they'll do 700 miles of single-layered fencing, which is quite less secure. and not what we voted on in the senate 10 years ago with president obama voting for it and vice president biden voting for it and former secretary of state hillary clinton voting for it. that's never been done. we promised to do that, too. we passed a law. we even passed funding for it, and it never got built. only 30 miles of the 700 miles of double-layered fences was ever built. so this is the problem we have with the american people. so senator schumer, i want to read this corker amendment.
who's writing it? senator corker, senator hoeven or you? you're telling us what's in it. you're saying you're still working on it. you're saying you're sharing it with your allies but not with those who have doubts about it. i'd like to see this bill we've heard so much about. and will it deal with other issues? so we know this. we know the legislation gives inteft first. we were told originally by the gang of eight we were going to have border security first, right? they finally had to acknowledge that wasn't so. a pretty big promise. border security first. not so in the bill. not so in the hoeven-corker amendment. the toughest enforcement ever. clearly the bill was weaker than the 2007 bill. members of the gang of eight know that.
nowhere close. current law requires on visas, current law requires that on the visa policy of the united states, that we have entry-exit visas, biometric, at land, sea and airports. what does this bill say sph this bill said well, we will have electronic entry-exit visas at air and seaports but not at landports, and if you don't have the landports in the mix, then you never know who came in the country if they left by land, and the 9/11 commission says the system won't work. the system won't work. they said that the individual would have to pay back taxes. that's so ridiculous. that is not utterly unenforceable, just a talking point. has no reality whatsoever. they said you had to learn english. not so. you have to have -- you could be in a course of english six months before your time comes
up. you don't have to have cleated the course. that's all that requires. they say no welfare benefits, but they are benefits as scored by the congressional budget office, the largest of which i suppose is earned income tax credit. and they said it would end illegal immigration, and the congressional budget office report, amazingly -- i would ask consent to have one additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: amazingly, the congressional budget office said that the bill that's before us would only reduce illegal immigration by 25%. so we're going to give amnesty for the toughest bill ever and all of this and the bill gets in trouble on the floor and they scurry around and get an amendment to throw 20,000 agents are going to be hired somewhere on the border in the future, we promise. we're going to give amnesty
first, though. and we promise that these will all be hired and the problem will be fixed. well, they promised to build a fence. in 2008. it never happened. so, madam president, we want to read this amendment. we want to evaluate it fairly. it seems to me it doesn't come close to touching all the issues necessary to have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest in a way that americans can be proud of. we believe in immigration. we want to be compassionate and helpful to people who have been here a long time, but we have got to have a system we can count on in the future. i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: thank you, madam president. yesterday we received some very positive news about the future potential impact of this bill that's being debated on the floor today, from the congressional budget office regarding the expected economic impact of this bill, and i think it's worth repeating.
it's been discussed and debated but i think it's worth repeating. for the benefit of those that are watching and for the benefit of those of us that are crafting a path forward here, the c.b.o. report details how successful reforms to our immigration system called for in this bill will, in fact, boost our economy, not only in the next ten years but in the ten years to follow. specifically, it details how immigration reform will cut the deficit by nearly $200 billion. i think it's $197 billion over the next decade, and then $700 billion in the following decade. c.b.o. projects over 20 years nearly a trillion dollars in savings. now, while economic growth and deficit reduction are both great things, important for our country, what is particularly interesting and valuable about this bill is that the growth in jobs, according to c.b.o., will be experienced by americans all across the country and all along the labor spectrum. the c.b.o. report is consistent with a statement last month from the social security administration that this bill would create over three million
jobs in the next ten years. simply put, madam president, this is a jobs bill. the immigration bill before us creates jobs in a number of different ways that i think are worth taking a minute and looking at. first, the bill creates jobs by making investments as you have heard at great present today in border security. the brave men and women who defend our country's borders will get the support they need to reduce illegal immigration and save lives. many of these men and women, in fact, will have served honorably and previously in our armed forces abroad and these forces provide opportunities at which our heroes will excel. it also creates jobs by creating and enhancing programs that encourage investment in american companies and in american workers. the permanent authorization of such demonstrated programs such as eb-5 and the new invest visa which build upon years of demonstrated success in creating american jobs through targeted investment of foreign capital i think is another benefit of this bill. in the last congress, i worked
with a bipartisan group, senator warner, senator rubio, senator moran in crafting something called the start-up visa, and i'm thrilled that this includes the invest visa, quite similar to the start-up visa idea, that encourages foreign nationals with capital who are triewrs to come to the united states and invest in job growth in our country. new companies create new jobs and the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs are well known in every worner of this country including my own home state of delaware. by encouraging rather than limiting immigrant entrepreneurs, this bill will ensure the american dream remains alive and well for future generations. this bill also in my view would create jobs in the short term and the long term by encouraging companies to invest and grow here in the united states rather than abroad. it balances the need to attract and retain high-skilled foreign-born individuals, many of whom are currently trained in american universities at public expense while also ensuring that companies recruit americans for
open positions in high-skilled jobs, typically those that focus in the engineering and science, math and technology areas. there are forms in this bill to our -- the reforms in this bill to our employment-based visa system are long overdue. it clears backlogs. it eliminates the per-country caps. it eliminates the caps for students. all of these i think are positive for improving the quality and employability of the american work force. i think we should get this done. at the same time, the bill makes an important contribution to the health and welfare of american workers by cracking down on unauthorized illegal employment and bringing workers out of the shadows and into our open economy. i'm particularly happy this bill includes clear guidance that immigrants authorized to work in this country are able to provide services in all parts of the economy by accessing appropriate licensure standards. this provision will ensure that once legally authorized to work, immigrants who abide by the same laws and safety measures as americans will be able to bring
their full skills and talents into our economy. for the long-term health of our economy, this bill also contains an important investment in training in our children. i had the pleasure of working with senators hatch, rubio and klobuchar on a stem fund concept in our immigration innovation bill, and i'm glad to see the inclusion of that stem education fund that will improve the science, technology, engineering, and math education of u.s. and national children in schools across this country. at a time when we have to make difficult decisions about how best to cut the deficit and grow the economy, this bill is perhaps the best chance we've got at making significant bipartisan progress while also making our country more fair, more just and more secure. if i might for another few minutes, madam president, i'd like to also talk about what it means to make our immigration system more just. america's earned its place in the world in part because of the immigrants that have come before us, bringing their culture,
their passion, their ideas and their skills to our shores, and when i ask americans what they expect of our immigration system as we try to fix this badly broken system, they say they want one that keeps us safe from foreign threats, from terrorism and dangerous individuals. they want a system that protects the american work force and that grows our economy. they want a system that's fair and transparent and that reflects our most basic values. it's clear to me as it is i suspect to you, madam president, and many of our colleagues that our current immigration system just isn't consistent with our most sacred values. we are failing to resolve legal disputes through a judicial process worthy of our world-renowned justice system, and we are failing to safeguard taxpayer dollars which we are needlessly wasting with a slow and inefficient, poorly managed immigration legal system. our immigration system jeopardizes our values and mistreats those who would adopt them as their own, so i think we must act. fortunately, this bill before us today better aligns our immigration system with our most
basic values. it's not perfect, but it is a vital and needed step forward. it makes critical progress, for example, in the treatment of children who are forced into our immigration courts. under our current system, children as young as 8 years old, often with limited english language skills, are forced to stand in front of immigration judges and argue whether they have some basis to remain in our country. these children aren't represented by counsel, the proceeding is adversarial, the judge is an employee of the same agency as the prosecutor, and this, in my view, doesn't look anything like america. and in some essential ways, it must change. by expanding access to representation for children, this bill will not only seek better justice for immigrant children but also help administer cases in a more efficient manner, and in our immigration courts where immigrants are regularly brought before judges without information central to their own cases, this bill will ensure immigrants have access to their own case files before they appear in court.
in our own civil and criminal court systems, this sort of basic information exchange is the bare minimum. this is an improvement that reflects our values. by letting people understand the consequences before them when they step into a courtroom. it's also a commonsense way to save money by expediting immigration proceedings where dockets are currently backlogged, not just weeks and months but years. and while immigration courts deal with mounting backlogs, many immigrants remain in detention at enormous cost to taxpayers. finally, this bill also proposes a rational detention policy that keeps immigrants who pose a real threat to society in detention while recognizing the value, the capability of modern technology to provide alternatives to detention when the only concern is appearing for a hearing. our values tell us that individuals who pose no threat to society don't belong in protracted detention and technology has allowed us to exercise better alternatives.
by addressing the backlog of cases through improvements to the court system and by making steps toward a more rational detention policy, i believe this bill in its current form will save money while reflecting our shared values. i do want to draw my colleagues' attention to one amendment that raises concerns for me on this exact point. it's number 1203, and senator inhofe is the lead sponsor. it would in my view require essentially mandatory indefinite detention of those who are currently detained in the american immigration system for which we can find no country that would accept them but with no pathway, no alternative, no discretion for an immigration judge to choose to use technology to allow them out of detention while ensuring that they pose no threat to security for our communities. i think this takes away necessary detention -- necessary opportunities for immigration judges to exercise discretionary as to who belongs in detention for very long periods of time at great public expense. it is my hope my colleagues will act to defeat this amendment.
in closing, madam president, in my view, it's critical for the future of our country, we address all these issues now, and i look forward to the passage of this legislation when our laws are so inconsistent with our basic values, we should act without delay, and when we have right in front of us an opportunity to reduce the deficit and to grow jobs, to make this country safer, stronger, fairer and more prosperous, we should act in a bipartisan and progressive way. with that, thank you, and i yield the floor. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: madam president, i understand the republican side is out of time, so i'd ask unanimous consent to be recognized for one minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. at that point i would ask for regular order on the leahy
amendment. the presiding officer: the senate is in quorum call. mr. vitter: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: and i would ask to go to regular order to the leahy amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. the amendment is pending. mr. vitter: great, madam president. at this point i would send a second-degree amendment to the desk to make that pending. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from louisiana, mr. vitter, proposes an amendment numbered 1507 to amendment number 1183. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: what, madam chair, is the pending amendment? the presiding officer: the vitter amendment 1507. to the leahy amendment 1103. mr. reid: i raise a point of order against the vitter amendment that's improperly grafted to the leahy amendment. the presiding officer: the point of order is well taken. the amendment fails. mr. reid: the vitter amendment fails -- i think that's falls. the presiding officer: falls. mr. reid: madam president, i now
ask consent there be a period of debate only until 6:30 this evening, with the time equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, and i be recognized at 6:30 this evening. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: madam president, i don't know if there is any particular order. i see other colleagues that are on the floor. i am not in a particular rush. i would be happy for them to speak. i would like to speak for five minutes as if in morning business, but i'm open to the -- okay. i thank -- i thank the senators. i know that the leadership, senator leahy and senator grassley, are working very hard to negotiate some very controversial and serious amendments to the underlying bill, and there have been
negotiations going on all day on this immigration bill, and actually, madam president, for weeks, both in the judiciary committee where 17 members served and then here on the house floor where the rest of us have our really only opportunity to engage and to be part of legislating a bill that is likely to pass. there is no guarantee, but it looks like it's moving in that direction. it's been strengthened as it's gone on and we have had a very rigorous debate. i have come to the floor now several times only to say this -- that there are a serious of amendments that are completely uncontested. in other words, there is no opposition to them, and the list is approximately, from what we can tell at this point, you know, potentially around 30-35. it could be more, but there are clearly 30-35 amendments that
have been filed by republicans, by democrats. some of these amendments are cosponsored republican and democrats. i have submitted -- by republicans and democrats each, together. and i have been talking about this for a couple of days because i think we have got to get back to trusting each other and working together across party lines on major bills like this and actually work to pass amendments that nobody objects to. wouldn't that be amazing. now, we used to do that routinely by a practice called the managers amendment, but in the last couple of months or years, everybody is so angry and aggravated at the end of the time that there is no managers package. so i have decided to start early identifying amendments while the leadership is focused on the more controversial amendments and those that both sides are
kind of still arguing about that are significantly meritorious, i have been focused on -- on amendments that are very good ideas that, to my knowledge, there is literally no opposition. i want to adjust the list and remove from the landrieu list collins amendment 1255. there has been objection on our side to that. heller. heller.(?>.ecl), there has been -- heller 1234. there has been objection to that. to be honest, we've heard objections from these two. but i want to say that there are additional amendments that come to our attention that may not have any opposition that i may want to add to this list. one of them is toomey 1236, clarifies personnel infrastructure and technology used in the comprehensive border
security used through existing programs. a clarification to the underlying. i don't think anyone objects that. senator grassley has an amendment 1306 that he is aware of that authorizes the attorney general to appoint counsel to represent an unaccompanied alien child with serious mental disabilities. i most certainly would support that. he and i worked together on many pieces of child welfare legislation. there's no one opposing that amendment. johanns 1345 requires c.b.o. to report on revenues and costs generated by the bill and requires the d.h.'s secretary to generally adjust fees under the bill to cover costs that are not fully offset. as the cosponsors of this bill have said this, bill will not cost taxpayers any money. it is offset by fees. this amendment is simply clarifying that statement. it would be a good amendment. i think, you know, that is an example. and finally two more. senator coats, 1372 requires a
similar to senator grassley to consult on children coming through with mental disabilities to make sure that they have legal counsel. no one would object to that. finally senator flake, 1472 requires the g.a.o. to study use of nonfederal roads by customs and border protection. these amendments are not striking lightning anywhere, not upsetting western civilizeation. these amendments are perfecting amendments that we came here to legislate on behalf of our constituents because there are people or groups or entities in our state that are following the big bill and the big controversies of it, but some people are actually following the specifics and want to make suggestions to make the bill better. so people that are going to vote against the bill can still vote against it. people that can vote for it can still vote for it. but we can make the bill better. that is what we are here to do. now, i'm going to sit down and i'm not going to -- can't under
the order to have any motions, but i will just bring it to the attention of the senate that i'm going to submit this to the record. and if there are any objections to those that i've talked about, please let us know. thank you, and i yield the floor. is en madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from -- a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i rise to talk about a couple of of those amendments and i hope they make it on the landrieu list which are amendments where there should be not controversy where we come together as republicans and democrats and support them to improve this piece of legislation on immigration reform. i think it is important for us to resolve this issue of an immigration reform system that is broken, the legal and illegal system. as you know, madam chair, i talked about it yesterday, i still have concerns about the legislation in a number of areas. one is on the internal enforcement of the legislation, particularly with regard to the workplace and the magnet of work
i think can be strengthened through a stronger and more comprehensive everify system. i also have concerns about federal benefits going to noncitizens. i know senator hatch has been working diligently on that as well as senator rubio and others. i'm hopeful we'll be able to work something out there. border security, we talked about a lot today. it's important but not sufficient in my view. finally, i want to say that i do have concerns about the way in which people adjust to legal status in terms of what crimes that they have committed. that's what i want to talk about today. again, senator landrieu has talked about supporting a number of uncontested amendments that will improve the underlying bill. i think these couple of amendments we're going to talk about today fit well into that category. they apply a uniform and fair standard to everybody. i think that is an amendment -- at a minimum we've got to be doing. if you're convicted of a felony crime there ought to be a fair
standard applied. also to ensure the criminals who prey among us are not given legal status under this legislation. yesterday i talked in general terms about what these amendments would accomplish. one problem i identified is that in the underlying bill it requires an applicant for legal status to have served at least one year in prison in order to make that person ineligible regardless of the crime. and even if the crime they committed was a felony. i think it's also important to understand the kinds of criminal convictions under the current bill before us that would not prevent someone from beginning this process that could end up having them become a citizen. i'm going to give a couple of examples, the kinds of examples we see on the nightly news that fill us with disgust and outrage. they are not hypotheticals. real world examples. a man convicted of felony crimes for abusing his children. a woman convicted of aggravated child abuse for giving alcohol
tpo -- to an eight pound infant. a man convicted of domestic felony violence when he broke into the home of an ex-girlfriend, choked her, pulled out her hair, beat her. all of these criminals were convicted of felonies. none of them served the full year imprisonments required to be inadmissible under s. 744, the underlying bill. if somebody was convicted of these horrible crimes, they could still be admissible to go into legal status because they didn't serve that magic one year. by the way, this can result from a lot of different things. one, the disposition of the sentencing judge. one is a recommendation made by prosecutors maybe for reasons that were valid to try to get more information out of these criminals. it could also be because of overcrowding in our state prisons which is indemocrat miss around this -- be endemic around this country. this means two individuals convicted of the same crime of violence, in this case domestic
violence, oning serves one year in prison, the other six months. the other is barred from citizenship and the second would be eligible. it is not keeping in the spirit of the legislation before us that says we should treat all violent felons in the same manner. my amendment would ensure those convicted of domestic violence, stalking or child abuse who could have been sentenced to not less than one year imprisonment is not eligible for citizenship. the second crimes against children like child abuse, child neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a minor through sexual acts are not subject to the discretionary authority of the secretary of homeland security. this is with regard to removal, deportation and also admissibility of an individual. crimes involving moral terpitude look past the conviction of the elements of a crime because these acts are conclusively against our values as a people. this amendment would continue the standards we've always had
enshrined in our immigration system. for that reason, like the previous amendment, i believe in a sense this is just a clarification that is necessary to make this underlying law work. a quirk in the bill before us would change that. it weakens the laws designed to protect our kids. that's the kind of reform we don't need. discretionary authority has its place, i acknowledge that. but there is no excuse for committing acts of violence against children and those who would do so are not worthy of citizenship. under the legislation as currently written, someone who commits a 234r07by assault -- a felony assault, say man who gets in a bar fight with another guy would be deported. a father who goes home from that bar and beats his children would not necessarily face the same consequences. i can't believe that was intended in this legislation or that anybody in this chamber would find that acceptable. i want to make sure this immigration bill only benefits those who are worthy of it. the bill is for the men and women who come to this country to build a better life for themselves and for theirsecond-. there will be hard votes in days to come. this is not one of them.
i urge my colleagues to support both of these amendments. i yield the floor, madam chair. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, madam president. i want to assure my colleague from utah through the chair that i will be brief. and i appreciate very much the senator from ohio's patient work on this bill. i wanted to come to the floor this afternoon to talk about the agreement that we've reached with senators corker and hoeven that will significantly increase security measures taken at our borders. we spent a lot of time talking about this issue over the last months with some proposals that would have simply gone too far by sacrificing the path to citizenship perhaps completely in some of these proposals. and i want to thank senator corker and senator hoeven, the other senators that have been involved in this discussion for striking the balance in a different place and giving us a
path to another bipartisan agreement that's required compromise, principled compromise on all sides throughout this process. we have always said, a number of us have said this bill is not the bill each of us would have written left to our own devices. but the nature of this place when it's working is that it's a place where people make principled compromises and come together. i want to thank chairman leahy who is on the floor today for the process that he led in the judiciary committee to get us here. there were over 300 amendments considered. there were 141, i think, amendments adopted by both democrats and republicans. this is the way colorado expects the united states senate to work. a state that's a third democratic, a third republican and a third independent. it doesn't care very much about what labels people put on each other or themselves, but would
like the institutions in washington to actually reflect their priorities and reflect the way they do business, which is by coming together and figuring out thousand deal with principled disagreements. so while we've said this bill isn't the bill that i would have written alone, it's a good bill. it's a gill that's got -- it's a bill that's gotten stronger in the committee and stronger on the floor, and that's the way it's supposed to work. and people at home know that doing big things means that we're going to have to be willing to come together from time to time on compromise solutions. that's what we're doing here. we're protecting the principles that the eight of us laid out when we started this process, which includes ensuring a pathway to citizenship that's real and attainable in addition to preventing future illegal immigration through among other measures, securing our borders. our agreement had additional support for securing the border even after the improvements that
we've seen over the last ten years, but now what we have before us is what some have called a border surge plan that will significantly expand resources at the border beyond what is already in the bill. it will double the number of border agents, double the number of border agents, an agent has been estimated every 1,000 feet on the border. it will significantly expand fencing. it will implement new technology and resources such as fixed towers, surveillance cameras and aerial surveillance units. it will provide for full monitoring of our southern border. we've already dramatically increased security at the border. this bill will double the number of border agents on our southern border. and while these items will add more cost to the bill, we know that such costs are offset by fees and fines on visas
throughout our bill. and yesterday's news from the congressional budget office, the bill as written would achieve nearly $900 billion in deficit savings over the next 20 years. this fact coupled with the gigantic steps we're already taking at the border along with the growing coalition of support for fixing our broken immigration system is leaving opponents with less and less to undercut. the bill, the case is simply sphreupg away for main -- slipping away for maintaining the status quo. it is keeping us less secure and tearing apart families. at home, people actually think securing the border is a virtue. they support securing the border at home. and people at home think a pathway to citizenship that resolves the question for the 11 million people in this -- working in this shadow economy, in this cash economy is a virtue. people at home believe that both
of those things would be positive. in washington somehow it becomes a trade. border security for citizenship kpepbgd -- depending on which side you're on. i want to say how grateful i am to the other members of the gang of eight, particularly senator mccain, senator graham, senator rubio, senator flake, my republican colleagues. and to senator hoeven and senator corker for creating the opportunity for us to have a big bipartisan vote on this senate floor next week to be able to show the american people that there's hope, that we can finally resolve not just the issue for the 11 million, but we can also begin as a country to have the talents of people from all over the world that want to contribute to our economy, that want to build their businesses here. i want to thank them for slating in such a constructive way and as we move forward to have a chance to vote to reaffirm two
essential principles that make our country so special. one, that we're committed to the rule of law and the other, that we are a nation of immigrants. with that, madam president, i yield the floor and i thank the senator from utah for his patience. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment. mr. leahy: madam president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. bennet, madam president? i didn't know that was the purpose of the senator rising. i will keep going, through the chair does the senator from utah want to speak? mr. lee: through the chair, the senator from utah would like to speak. mr. bennet: through the chair, two sentences which is our farmers and ranchers in colorado have been suffering through the
worst drought that we've had in a generation. and this is the third year in a row of that drought. we have passed a bipartisan farm bill twice on the floor of the united states senate. i think with over 70 votes. it's not perfect, there are things in it i would change. the it's only bipartisan deficit reduction, other than the immigration bill that's been achieved by a committee in this congress on either the -- in either the senate side or the house side. the only one. we make important reforms to our conservation title, we end direct payments to producers, the senate bill is not a perfect bill but it is a good bill and today the house of representatives voted their own bill down. and farmers and ranchers in colorado who are working hard to try to support their families, to create a condition where they can leave their are farms and ranches to the next generation
are left to scratch their heads once again why washington can't get its work done. i urge the house of representatives to pass the bipartisan senate farm bill so that our farmers and ranchers can get the relief they need. thank you, madam president. with that i yield the floor. mr. leahy: would the senator before he yields the floor yield for a question? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. bennet: i'll yield. mr. leahy: i believe the senator is aware of this but i'll ask, we passed the farm bill last year by a huge bipartisan mange in, that -- margin, and on the committee are several former chairs of that committee in boaft parties as well as a former secretary agriculture and we came together as republicans and democrats to pass a bill that saved $23 billion to $28 billion, i believe the senator is aware of that.
mr. bennet: through the chair, i am aware of that. i appreciate the senator from vermont, former chair of the committee and now the chair of the judiciary committee reminding the chamber of that. the senator from vermont has been here longer than i have been here, that's just being honest about it. but i wonder sometimes what it would have been like to serve in this body when it didn't have a 10% approval rating. the chairman was here when the united states congress didn't have a 10% approval rating. i don't know why anybody in the world would want to work in a place that had that level of approval rating. madam chair -- madam president, i came down to the floor once with a slide that tried to find other enterprises that had the kind of approval rating we have in this congress. and it's really hard to do. the i.r.s. had a 40% approval rating. there is an actress had a 15% approval rating. 11% of the american people say
they want the country to be a communist country. i don't, by the way, madam president. i think fidel castro had a 5% or 6% approval rating. we have to start working together here. that's what the american people want. that's what the people in my state want. they know that we're not always going to agree on everything, but they expect us to actually get things done. and one of the things that we have in front of us, this immigration bill, is an excellent example of republicans and democrats coming together to do their work. and the chairman is exactly right, the senator from vermont is exactly right, we have differences on the agriculture committee sometimes, but they're not partisan differences. they're not differences between republicans and democrats. they're regionallal differences. and -- regional differences and we find ways to hash those out and we were able to pass that
bill on this floor with broad bipartisan support. that's what we should do with this immigration bill and what the house should do with our senate farm bill. thank you. mr. lee: i certainly share the concern of my friend and colleague from colorado and thamg him for his clever remarks on this. we do as an institution have an alarmingly low approval rating. i've often said that we're slightly less popular in america than the castro brothers, and slightly more popular than the influenza virus but the virus is gaining on us rapidly. there are many reasons for this. one thing is we control too many aspects of the lives of the american people. there's so much of what the american people do that is governed, even micromanaged by the federal government. and by what it does every single day. so much of their wealth has to go to pay their taxes, to the federal government. so many of their communications are potentially susceptible to
being monitored. so much of what they do is in one way or another restricted by the federal government. i'd like to discuss an amendment that i've proposed, amendment number 1207, that would address one of the many, many implications of the fact that we have a federal government that is simply too big. and it deals specifically with the ownership of federal land. now, in my state, the state of utah, the federal government owns about two-thirds of the land. that's two-thirds of the land that has to be managed by bureaucrats, bureaucrats ultimately working out of washington, d.c. who for the most part don't tend to share the same values or the same interests in land development as people from my own state do. that's land that we can't tax and land that we therefore can't access as a resource. it's land that because it can't
be taxed cannot provide tax revenue for local governments to fund fire departments, police services and schools. it has other implications, too, when the federal government owns this much land. you know, it's significant that about 40% of the land along our border is owned by the federal government. and it's significant that along a lot of that stretch of border, federal agents from the bureau -- the bureau of customs and border protection or c.b.p. are not allowed to do their job. even our own federal officers sometimes can't do that which they really need to do, which they've sworn an oath to do, at least not very be effectively. for the simple reason that this is federal land and there are a whole host of environmental restrictions that often accompany the use of federal land or trancing on --
traversing on federal land of any kind. this is foreign to many of my colleagues, many of whom come from states where there is very little federal land. in every state west of the rocky mountains the federal government owns 15% or more of the land in those states. in every state east of the rocky mountains, the federal government owns less than 15%, in many states much less, in some cases .5%. i don't expect my colleagues to sympathize immediately but i would hope as they come to understand what we face where there this much land ownership they'd be sympathetic to this amendment. we have a problem when c.b.p. agents can't adequately enforce the law, can't adequately enforce the border and protect it for national security purposes and for immigration purposes alike. simply because of the fact today
the land is federally owned and environmental restrictions get in their way and interfere with their ability to do that. the net result of this is not environmental protection because as we've seen, in many of these areas because coyotes and others who bring people illegally across the border are well aware of these restrikdz, -- restrictions, they'll make sure illegal immigrants come across these same tracts of land in order to get into the united states illegally. and they leave in their wake in some cases a trail of destruction or at least a trail of litter. as they drop things along the way. this also, by the way, creates very dangerous conditions for many of these immigrants who are trying to cross very remote sections of land, and it makes it difficult not just for the agents but also for the immigrants alike. it's not really good for anyone.
so this amendment tries to change that. thmed would provide -- this amendment would provide immediate access to land at the border for the purpose of maintaining or building roads, fences, also driving patrol vehicles, and for installing surveillance equipment. you know, it's interesting, people are dying on the border, as a result of the fact that immigrants very often will cross these very remote sections of land, they run out of water, they run out of food, they run out of supplies, they get lost, and it's scary. this would happen less if we were adequately enforcing our border. and again borderlands are littered with the trash left behind these illegally crossing illegal aliens. this has not gone completely unnoticed in the past. nctd this has been reported had in the -- reported in the press. "the washington post" reported on november 16, 2009, the following, -- quote -- "in a
remarkably candid letter to members of congress, homeland security secretary janet napolitano said her department could have to delay pursuits of illegal immigrants while waiting for horses to be brought in so agents don't trample protected lands. and warns that illegal immigrants will increasingly make use of remote protected areas to avoid being caught. the documents also show that the interior department has charged the homeland security department $10 million over the last two years as mitigation penalties to pay for damage to public lands that agencies say have been caused by border patrol chasing illegal aliens." everyone in this body has been saying we need to secure the border and that we do. i'm here to reiterate that very point. if we're serious about that as we claim to be, then we have a certain obligation to make sure that our c.b.p. agents and
officers have the ability to enforce the law. but if they're not fighting this battle with one hand or perhaps both hands tied behind their back. that we're not ordering them to make bricks without straw. we have to give them the ability to do their jobs and certainly not interfere with it. it's not just that we're placing a minor incidental burden on their ability to enforce the laws. we're talking here about 40% of the land along the southern border that is federally owned. so we're dealing with an awful lot of land, and everyone knows that if you enforce the border in some areas but make it impossible to enforce in others, you're going to drive the illegal immigration traffic toward those areas of the border where enforcement is not ongoing. so that's what my amendment does. this has been debated and discussed in the house of representatives, my understanding is that in prior legislation, the house of representatives has even adopted
this provision, and i urge each and every one of my colleagues to take a close look at amendment 1207 which i hope to call up in the near future and i hope we will pass this measure. thank you madam chair. i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam chairman? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: let me thank my very good friend from iowa who graciously allowed me to make a statement here. i am concerned about this. several of us have amendments we've been trying to get up for a long period of time. i quite frankly don't know what the status of the amendments and the bill are right now, whether we'll be getting to votes sooner or later. but i have one amendment that is one that i thought would be so
acceptable that there wouldn't be any opposition to it. let me just very briefly tell you what it is. my amendment addresses the 2001 united states supreme court decision in zavillas. the court held the immigrants admitted to the united states then ordered removed couldn't be detained for more than six months. four years later, the supreme court came along and extended the decision to people here illegally as well. that's what we're talking about right now. we're talking about illegals that come into this country. as a result of that, the department of justice and homeland security, they have no choice but to release thousands of criminal immigrants into our neighborhoods. the problem with these decisions is that the criminal immigrants ordered to be removed can't be deported back to their country if that country refuses to accept them back. now, stop and think about that
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