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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 24, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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nicators" tonight at eight eastern on c-span2. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to continue work on the immigration bill. the major creates a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants allowing additional high and low skilled workers and a number of provision like a border search were called last week to strengthen the u.s. border. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. who in your infinite wisdom, ordained that we might live our lives within the narrow boundaries of time and circumstances, we honor your name. today, supply our senators with the strength they need to serve you. help them to seize
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the opportunities to strengthen our nation bringing deliverance to captives and letting the oppressed go free. keep them from any temptation that would prevent them from glorifying you. send your spirit into their minds and illuminate their understanding with insight and discernment. we pray in your holy name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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matt the majority. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following any leader remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the immigration bill. filing deadline for second-degree amendments to the leahy amendment 1183 as modified is 4:00 p.m. today. at 5:30, there will be a cloture vote on the leahy amendment as modified. mr. president, i have often said that speaker boehner has a hard job. that was obvious last week when the house republican congress revolted to defeat the speaker's farm bill. even though the speaker took the unusual step of announcing his support for the measure ahead of the vote, this bill went down in flames. it was the first time the house of representatives had defeated
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a farm bill since the program was created in the 1930's. mr. president, it was the first time the house of representatives had defeated a farm bill since the program was created in the 1930's. i admit i was sorry to hear the house republican leadership blame the bill's defeat on democrats, but i wasn't surprised. they had to blame someone. they couldn't blame themselves, even though they should. it was no surprise house democrats opposed this mean-spirited bill. the legislation would cut $20 billion from the safety net that keeps millions of americans, including millions of children from going hungry every year. that's what it was about. the farm bill eliminated eight million meals -- i'm sorry. eight billion not million madam president for hungry american families and children. that's what the house bill did.
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so it's no surprise democrats didn't vote for a bill that whacked america's most vulnerable citizens. we've seen this film before. the speaker should have known he couldn't pass legislation that amounts to a partisan love note to the tea party. he will be forced to take up a more bipartisan measure and he should do it now. there is no need to reinvent the wheel. the senate has done the work that's already necessary to be done. we passed a good bipartisan bill here. the speaker should dispense with the drama and the delay and take up the senate farm bill now. the bill passed on an overwhelming bipartisan vote in this chamber. in fact, it did twice. we passed it last year, madam president, and the speaker refused to bring up a bill in the house. passing the senate farm bill would create jobs or reduce the deficit by some $25 billion and it would make important reforms for both farm and food stamp programs without balancing the budget on the backs of hungry
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americans. i have spoken over the weekend to secretary vilsack the secretary of agriculture and we agreed that maintaining the status quo is not an option. doing nothing means no reform, no deficit reduction and no certainty for america's 16 million farm industry workers. madam president i want everyone within the sound of my voice as well as my colleagues on the other side of the capitol to know that the senate will not pass another temporary farm bill extension. it's time for real reform that protects both rural farm communities and urban families who need help feeding their children. if the speaker took up the senate's bipartisan measure it would easily pass the house with both republican and democratic votes. there is no shame that passing a bill that moderates from both parties support. we have seen time and time again that the tea party's my way or the highway approach of legislating doesn't work. the only way to pass a bill in either the house or the senate is to do so with votes from both democrats and republicans. the senate farm bill passed with
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66 votes in this chamber. it was the perfect example of a bipartisan bill. the speaker should now allow a vote on this measure in the house now today. now, madam president the immigration bill before the senate is another example of bipartisan legislation. the immigration bill will pass this chamber with democratic and republican votes. and when the immigration bill passes the speaker should bring it up for a vote in the house of representatives quickly. so i say, mr. speaker rather than twisting the arms of tea party extremists, just work with moderates from both parties to pass bipartisan legislation. so, mr. speaker rather than trying to force legislation designed to please only the right wing, you, mr. speaker can take away the obstacles we have and take the easy way out actually do the right thing seek votes from democrats and republicans. america deserves the commonsense approach. that's what we used to do. we should do it once again.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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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 believe there is a cloture motion at the desk that i sent to the desk. if that fact is the case, would you order it being reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules
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of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the committee-reportedded substitute amendment to s. 744 a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators as follows -- reid, leahy bennet, schumer, durbin, menendez, feinstein, whitehouse, murray, stabenow casey warner, carper, blumenthal king, coons and murphy. mr. reid: madam president, what are we on now? the presiding officer: we are currently in leader remarks. mr. reid: i would therefore ask -- the presiding officer: no bill is currently pending. mr. reid: i would therefore ask the chair to close the morning business and move to whatever the business of the day is. the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of s. 744 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 80,
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s. 744 a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order the time until 5:30 p.m. will be equally divided between the two managers or their designees. mr. reid: madam president i do have a cloture motion at the desk and i ask that it be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the committee-reported substitute amendment, s. 744 a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform, and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mr. reid: i ask consent we not read the names again. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: there is cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to
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bring to a close the debate on s. 744 a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators as follows -- reid -- mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum required under rule 22 be waived for these two cloture motions. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. reid: i would note the an abu ghraib sense of a quorum. -- note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. reid: before the clerk calls the roll, i would ask that time be divided equally. the presiding officer: without objection. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. a senator: thank you madam president. mr. murphy: madam president, i rise to speak today on the immigration bill pending before the senate. the presiding officer: senator the senate is in a quorum call. mr. murphy: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you madam president. madam president, i rise today to speak on the immigration bill
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two weeks debating this bill. that's right. that's good. this is one of the most important things the senate will talk about. this matters to millions of undocumented people all across this country but it also matters to millions of other individuals, families and
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businesses who have been weighed down by an immigration system that just doesn't work any longer. and today we will be debating a new amendment on border security that will for many of us be overkill but in order to make sure that the perfect doesn't become the enemy of the good, will i think bring this very important debate close to a close. madam president, i rise to talk about one additional amendment that i hope that the senate will consider. and that is amendment 1451 that i am offering. that would very simply prohibit the department of homeland security from housing children in adult detention facilities. now, there is already fairly good law and some good regulation on the books today that protect a lot of immigrant children from being held in
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adult detention facilities. many of these children that are classified as something called unaccompanied alien children are required to be transferred to h.h.s. custody within 72 hours. there's some good law and some good regulation built up around this issue already. but the data that we have been getting over the last several years does tell that current law doesn't work for every child in the system. as we learned recently, i.c.e. data says that as many as 1,366 children were placed in adifficult facilities between 2008 and 2012 and of these children apparently about 370 of them spent more than three months in an adult facility. three months in an adult facility. i just want you to put yourself in the shoes of a little 12-year-old boy who may just be
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learning how to speak the english language, who maybe came here with his parents and his family, but got picked up by himself somehow through the system got separated from his family locked up, and his family may have some reluctance to come claim him because they themselves are undocumented. they worry they will be deported along with the child. and think about sitting as a 12-year-old little boy alone perhaps uncomfortable about communicating in an adult facility for one day two days three days, imagine that for one month two months and three months. it's unacceptable, and while d.h.s. disputes some of these numbers and certainly is doing much of what they can to try to make sure that these children don't spend time in adult
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lockups, the law can be clearer and we can create with this amendment a very clear line for all types of children, no matter how they are categorized to make sure they don't spend time in adult facilities. because there are some very harsh realities to what happens to children who are locked up with adults. we know this because we, unfortunately, do this for documented children, for american citizens. too often when children are arrested on the streets of this country, they get housed in adult criminal facilities within the american justice system. the national prison rape elimination commission report found that incarcerated minors are much more likely than adults to be sexually abused, especially when they are locked up with adults. sometimes to try to prevent this from happening these children are put in isolation in i.c.e. detention facilities. that may protect you from kind
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of abuse but that isolation itself which can go on for days and days and days causes serious psychological problems and sometimes the data shows can lead to suicide. think also of one particular case. mariano, we'll call her was 17 years old when she game from guatemala. she was brought through the mexican desert by one of these coyotes and the journey was so difficult that the coyote just abandoned her, 17 years old by herself in the middle of the desert. she managed to find her way to a highway and at that highway the border patrol picked her up and they took her to one of the holding facilities and they threw her in with a bunch of adults. she was 17 years old but the border patrol officers insisted that she looked like she was in her 20's. she didn't have her birth certificate with her. but the default was to put her in an adult facility and not
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believe her. finally a couple of very kind women in the facility intervened allowed her to call her mother in guatemala and get a copy of her birth certificate. and finally after all of this, she was transferred to h.h.s. this shouldn't happen, and with this amendment we can create a clearer line to make sure that these children, like mariana and like, frankly the hundreds even younger than her when they are picked up for whatever reason are not housed with adults. the amendment would require d.h.s. to determine the child's age when there's any notice or suspicion that the detainee is under 18. then d.h.s. would have to transfer or release after determining the child's age so children like mariana would not have to wait and struggle themselves to get out of an adult detention center. my amendment also would make it
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clear the best interests of the child should be the main concern in transferring or releasing the child. and finally building on some of the data reporting requirements that are in the underlying bill, my bill would include a couple of additional categories that d.h.s. is required to report so that we know where all these children are, the conditions with which they're housed and whether or not they have a lawyer trying to look out for their interests. i think that this is an amendment that can get bipartisan support no matter where we stand on issues of border security enforcement or a pathway to citizenship we all believe that if you are a child that has been detained by i.c.e. through likely no fault of your own, that you deserve to be treated like a child. that you deserve to be housed with other children. if you can't be returned to your family. this amendment would do that and
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i think be another way that as we conclude the debate on one of the most important bills that this body will take up this year that we can find a way to bring republicans together around our common values. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. i would note the absence of a quorum and ask that the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. and the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i would ask -- i believe under the rule to use the time granted to senator grassley. the presiding officer: the senator may proceed. mr. sessions: madam president the vote that we'll be having later this afternoon is not on the corker-hoeven amendment as i think most senators may have thought when they left town thursday and friday. in fact, friday night we were told the hoeven-corker amendment would be filed and presumably we would then be debating that amendment. but what happened was we went into the night every hour being told it would be soon filed but it wasn't filed until noon almost, friday.
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and it wasn't filed as corker-hoeven amendment dealing with border patrol officers and fencing and some other issues, but it was filed as a complete substitute to the whole bill. so this is a vote this afternoon to give majority leader reid procedural control of the debate. it's his motion to shut off debate on a 1,200-page substitute, 200 pages more than the bill we were looking at last week. and that no one has read. our senators haven't had a chance to read the bill to see how the merged language falls throughout the legislation. see what other changes may have been made over the weekend. i was here, we've been trying to get through this, but it's not easy and i'm sure my colleagues haven't been able to do so. so by filing cloture and
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blocking any further amendments from being in order unless he personally approves them -- and that's the parliamentary situation we're in today. we're in a situation in which the majority leader will approve personally any and all amendments that get voted on. so he's once again created a situation where senators have to play mother may i to get a vote on an amendment they feel is important. this is not how the senate should be run. a duly elected senator from any state in america should be able to come to the floor and get an amendment voted on without having to have the personal approval of the majority leader. and this trend is action sell -- has super committee rally sited -- has accelerated in recent years where it's damaging the whole role of the senate. we need more attention to that issue. so this is exactly what happened with obamacare.
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the majority rushed through a complex bill so there would be no time to digest what was in it. just yesterday on one of the sunday programs, bob woodward, the framed writer who dealt with the nixon scandal and other issues over the years said this -- quote -- "when you pass complicated legislation and no one has really read the bill, the outcome is absurd" -- close quote. i think that's that's too true, unfortunately. senator reid said many times we have to bass past this bill by july fourth. why is that? is that his decision to make? is it the other senators' decisions to make? so to accomplish that goal, he has filed cloture immediately on this new substitute bill. he filed it as soon as it was filed to shut off debate. and that's the effect of what we
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are doing here. so why is there such urgency to pass legislation of this importance by friday? i'm not aware that we have any big business after the july fourth recess. we could day here through the july fourth recess, for that matter. as bill kristol noad noted yesterday, -- quote -- "there's no urgency. can we at least let people read it for a week" -- close quote. the last thing the loyal opposition the republicans should do, would be to -- would be to be enablers in a majority plan to rush through the bill before people know what's in it. why should we enable that? if this bill is so good, what's the harm of letting the senators and the american public have awhile to digest what's in it?
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why not commit to open and extensive debate? we have an obligation to read a bill before we pass it. if senators have not read the 1,200-page substitute bill, they shouldn't vote to cut off debate. should vote against that. let me say what the problem is here. this is a new technique. senator lamar alexander said some time ago that, well, the truth is, the senate doesn't do comprehensive well. i think that was a very serious comment after the failure of this last bill and after obamacare and its massive power and overreach. so what -- what is happening? what happens is senators get together as they did with obamacare, basically in secret. they write a 1,200-page bill in this case, and they do talking points. now, the talking points in a big
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bill like this and in particular this one have had political consultants pollsters, all kinds of people organizing this campaign to drive this legislation through the united states senate. they've had a response to every criticism. they've had spin in every different ways. they're running tv advertisements right now i suppose still promoting this legislation as something it's not. so the talking points are designed to be very popular. the talking points are designed to be very much in accord with most people's views about what good legislation is. indeed i liked most of the talking points myself. i would vote for legislation that did most of that for sure. if it did what it said. and then that's what's sold, because nobody can articulate and explain the details of it. and people's eyes glaze over when you talk about it. and people don't understand it
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fully. so they promote the bill as if it's the talking points when the talking points do not comply with what's in this legislation. and that's why we have an obligation to study it read it and vote on the bill and not the talking points. a few weeks ago former attorney general ed middle ed middle meese and reagan close friend wrote a letter to the "wall street journal" and said -- quote -- "on legislation as important as this, lawmakers must take the time to read the bill, not to rely on other's characterizations of what it says. we cannot afford to have congress pass the bill to find out what's in it." so at this point in the legislative process a "yes" vote on cloture tonight means senator reid will have gained complete control of the process. no amendments will be voted on. he does not approve.
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his goal is to drive the train to passage by this friday public policy, public interest beside the point. so the vote this afternoon is to proceed, again to the altered substitute, the entire substitute of the gang of eight legislation. and the flawed framework of this bill remains. the flawed framework of the bill remains. immediate amnesty which will never be revoked. that will occur instantly -- within weeks with no enforcement measure ever effectively having to occur. in reality it will not have to occur. according to the june 7 ras rasmussen report, the american people want enforcement first
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by a 4-1 margin. the gang of eight initially promised that their bill would be enforcement first but that's not what the bill said today. that's -- and no one disputes that it is amnesty first. in fact, the lead sponsor of the bill, senator schumer conceded this point shortly after the bill passed on "meet the press" after the -- after the bill was filed on "meet the press" saying -- quote -- "first people will be legalized, then we'll make sure the border is secure." "then we'll make sure the border is secure." this is important. this is important because this is what happened in 1986 and senator grassley is so clear about it. he voted for the 1986 bill and he saw the enforcement never occur. so under the substitute, illegal immigrants can still receive amnesty not when the border is actually secured but when secretary napolitano tells the congress that she is starting to
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secure the border. so the -- the -- it occurs when secretary napolitano who's now not enforcing our law tells congress she's starting to secure the border. within six months of enactment under the legislation secretary napolitano need only submit to congress her views on a comprehensive southern border strategy and southern border fencing strategy. her views on a fencing strategy. and notice that she has begun implement -- and give notice that she's begun implementing her plans. at that point which will like the occur earlier as secretary napolitano indicated during her testimony before the judiciary committee she may begin processing applications for and granting the legal status -- and granting the amnesty.
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and grant work and travel permits. she will grant social security account numbers the ability to obtain driver's licenses and many federal and state public benefits, all without a single border security or enforcement action having been taken. madam president, i would ask that i be notified after 20 minutes. and how much time could be consumed at this point? -- and how much time has been consumed at this point? the presiding officer: the senator has consumed 11 minutes. mr. corker: if i could just while inquiries are taking place, i had a time of 12:50 that i had actually done to accommodate the senator from alabama, who was coming down at 1:00, and my understanding is you showed up 20 minutes early which i applaud you for being prompt and early. but i do wonder, madam president madam president, what's happening here and that we had planned to be down here at
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12:50. i'd be glad to go back and forth if the senator from alabama -- mr. sessions: well, no, i didn't understand. i'm sorry senator corker. i thought -- i didn't realize -- was there a u.c. on your taking the floor at that time? if so, i would certainly yield and i'll wrap up if you felt you had time at 12:50. mr. corker: i think we had an agreement with those who manage the floor as to how we were going to come down and talk, but i'd be more than glad to wait a moment or two and let you finish and then go on. but i just want to make sure that this is something that is going to allow me the opportunity of speaking. actually, the senator's been so involved, madam president i'd love for him to listen to what i might have to say and then respond because i think there have been a lot of myths out there that seem to be continuing. mr. sessions: madam president i will conclude by five till and i
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would yield to the senator at that time. mr. corker:er: perfect. mr. sessions: i think that will get us on the right track. i know there were discussions and i was told earlier that that would be the time i would have and then i was told that the floor -- they want you to come earlier and i didn't realize you were in on that part of that agreement. so that's perfectly all right and i'll -- i will accommodate the representations you've been given. well mr. president senators have been talking a good bit about the enforcement that would occur under the substitute that's been offered. but the substitute does not change the fact that no reduction in illegal immigration is ever required doesn't have a results-oriented aspect to it.
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in the beginning proponents touted the bill's requirements that the secretary achieve and maintain 90% effectiveness in apprehending illegal border crossers. we don't hear so much about that anymore and that's because all that the bill really requires now is that the secretary submit a plan for achieving and maintaining that rate, not that it actually be achieved. even if this was a real requirement, it wouldn't matter because it does not account for those who evade detection at the border. during the testimony secretary napolitano all but acknowledged the effectiveness rate is meaningless because by definition homeland security has no idea how many borders go completely undetected. so it's not subject to real enforcement. mr. president, i appreciate my colleague, senator corker, and
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senator hoeven and those who set forth their goal to produce legislation that would be good for america. and i appreciate the vision that has been stated. but having been involved in this now for quite a number of years -- not because i desire to but because i felt an obligation to do so, having been a federal prosecutor for almost 15 years years -- that i want to see the system actually work. and i'm aware that this bill is an authorization bill. it may authorize border patrol officers it may even authorize fencing but until congress appropriates the money over a period of a decade, the way it's set up, it will never happen. and i'm confident that all the promises made in the legislation underlying and in the additions that have been made to it will not be accomplished in their
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entirety. and we will, under this legislation, be sure to have a vast increase in illegal entry under the entry-exit visa system system as the congressional budget office has stated and that we'll still have illegal entries from the border. so i thank the chair and would yield the floor and reserve the balance of time that's reserved for senator grassley. mr. corker:er cork mr. corker: madam president i'd like to speak on the subject at hand. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. corker: madam president and, first of all, i want to acknowledge -- the presiding officer: on whose time is the senator proceeding on? mr. corker: i thought you might ask me that. as i understand it, senator leahy. the presiding officer: the senator may proceed. mr. corker: thank you. madam president, the senator
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from alabama has done an outstanding job in talking about the many frailties that exist in the base bill. i do want to say that the vote tonight is not on the base bill. the vote tonight is on an amendment. many people on our side of the aisle have had concerns about border security. and the way the base bill reads is that the secretary of homeland security janet napolitano would decide what border security measures would be put in place and she would implement those after 180 days. candidly madam president that calls people on both sides -- that caused people on both sides of the aisle to be somewhat concerned about what kind of border security measures would be implemented. now, the base bill, as the senator from alabama just mentioned, leaves all of that discretion 100% to the person who leads homeland security. so on the floor we've had
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numbers of measures that we voted on to try to strengthen border security. all of those measures have failed. i have voted for almost every single one of those that has come up. and, as a matter of fact, almost every member on our side of the aisle other than the gang of eight has voted for those measures. what we have before us tonight though is another border security amendment and what this amendment does is it puts in place five triggers, five triggers that are tangible. and what these triggers say that if these five things are not implemented then those who are here who are undocumented, who become temporary -- in temporary status do not receive their green cards. let's me go through those five measures that have to be put in place before that occurs. first of all there have to be 20,000 more border patrol agents
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deployed and trained and on the border. that is one of the triggers. that is a doubling that is a doubling of our border patrol. secondly, the additional 350 miles of fencing that republicans have longed for has to be in place. that is very tangible. thirdly, we have to deploy -- bought and deployed over $4 billion worth of technology on the border which will give our border patrol 100% awareness. this is a list that they have been seeking for years. and before anybody can achieve their green card status, this list has to be bought and deployed. fourthly, we have to have a fully implemented entry-exit visa program something that, again, republicans have pushed for for years. and fifthly, we have to have a fully deployed everify system. all five of those measures have
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to be in place before somebody can move from the temporary status to a green card status. those are tangible triggers: mr. president, when i was in the shopping center business before coming to the senate, i used to build shopping centers around the country. and it was very evident in the community that i was in, when i was completed. and usually when i completed -- always when i completed those shopping centers, i was paid. i didn't have to go through some kind of thing did we meet 90% of the retail needs of the community? we tried to design the center so that it met the needs but it was very tangible when i was completed and i was paid. so what this amendment seeks to do is to put five very tangible elements as triggers. these elements are all elements that republicans for years have pushed for. and so it's my hope that this
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evening republicans will join me in putting in place the toughest border security measures we've ever had in this nation. now, the senator from alabama has talked about the length of this amendment. mr. president, the length of this amendment is 119 pages long. because of senate procedure, it had to be added to the base bill which made it a little bit over 1,200 pages. but the base bill has been around since may. it's gone through committee. and most every one of us who are serious about this bill have gone through its ph-pl provisions. so the amendment amendment we offered on friday that has given people 75 hours to look at, the amendment is 119 pages long. for those who are listening in, in legislative languages we write pages such that they're triple space very short.
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119 pages is really 25 or 30 pages in normal people's reading. so i would say to the president that any middle-school student in tennessee or ial could -- in tennessee or alabama could read this amendment probably in 30 or 40 minutes. so to ask senators to be given an amendment on friday that deals with five basic things and a few others, to ask them to read the amendment over the weekend -- again the equivalent of 25 or 30 pages really -- is certainly not something major to ask when you serve in the united states senate. again, the length issue is something that's a total myth. some people have talked about the cost of this. let's talk about that. first, the cost only happens if the bill passes, but it's evident that these security measures and other measures in the base bill would cost about $46 billion.
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mr. president, that only happens if the bill passes. and i think you've seen that the c.b.o. score on this bill is $197 billion. so if this amendment were to pass and the bill were to pass, we'd have a situation where over the next ten years we'd be investing $46 billion in border security almost all of which are measures that republicans have pushed for for years. but we'd have $197 billion coming back into the treasury. mr. president, i've been here six and a half years. and never individual the opportunity to vote for -- and never have i had the opportunity to vote for something that cost $46 billion over a ten-year period and received $197 billion over a ten-year period and we didn't raise anybody's taxes and it promoted economic growth. so those people who are talking about the cost of this, i would just say show me one piece of legislation that we've had the
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opportunity to vote for that has that kind of return. i think every private equity, every hedge funder in the united states of america would take those odds. finally let me say to the senator from alabama glover -- governor brewer from arizona was just on the television. she read this amendment over the weekend. it only takes 30 or 40 minutes and she took the time to read it. and what she just said on national television is that this amendment is a win a total victory for the state of arizona, and she knows more about border security probably than any governor and any person in the united states of america. so let me just say one more time what we're voting on tonight. we're voting on a very tough border security amendment. if you vote for this amendment it means that five very tangible things have to be in place whether the money is appropriated or not.
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they have to be in place before you can have a green card. so if it's not appropriated, no green card. so when people say well, congress may not spend the money on this, well, congress doesn't spend the money on it, people will not move from the temporary status into green card status. so it's totally up to us. but the fact is if you vote for this amendment tonight you're voting that all five of those provisions have to be in place. tough border security measures. they're very tangible. the entire american population can see whether they're in place or not. and until those are in place people do not move to the green card status. if you vote against this amendment, which i'm getting the indication the senator from alabama and others may be thinking about what you're saying is, no, i'd rather not have these five tough measures in place. i'd rather let janet napolitano, the head of homeland security, decide what our border security
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is going to be. i don't think that makes anybody in this body particularly comfortable. people have talked about the fact that congress needs to weigh in on this border security measure. and we have with this amendment. so what i would say is that if you really believe in making sure that we address our border security this amendment is something you should support. if you'd rather go to the status quo, if you'd rather leave it to the administration, which i agree has not done the thepbgz that they should do to secure our border, then vote against this amendment. vote for janet napolitano to secure our border. i have a feeling that people on this side of the aisle will see the light. and to the people on the other side of the aisle that may resist this, what i would say is what this amendment does is it balances out the bill. it balances it out. it says that, yes we're going to put the kind of border security in place that will
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cause the american people to trust us. at the same time in doing so, we're going to put in place very tangible triggers, triggers that cannot be moved. you can't move the goal post because of interpretation. they're there. they're concrete. if we meet them, people will have the pathway to be the kind of productive citizens that they would like to be. to me, this satisfies people on the our side of the aisle that want border. to me, it ought to satisfy people on the other side of the aisle who feel we need to do both. i'd love to enter into a colloquy with the senator from alabama. i know there's a lot that has been said, but i would urge everybody in this body to take the 30 or 40 minutes not much for a united states senator on one of the biggest issues we've dealt with in the united states senate to read the amendment to see how superior it is to the base language.
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and i applaud the folks who created the base language. but this is an effort of improving a bill. and then decide do you really want to vote against an amendment that the governor of arizona, who has dealt with this issue more closely than any of us in the body, has declared as a total victory for their state? do you want to vote against this? do you want to vote against this? really. i would ask this body. i think we ought to send this amendment on to the base bill with a tremendous majority. then we can debate the other pieces. we've got an entire week. there's all kinds of votes. i'd love to see a vote on the portman amendment. as a matter of fact, my understanding is some of the people who disagree with this bill don't want to see a vote on the portman amendment. they're blocking the portman amendment. the portman amendment will actually make this bill even better. so i hope we'll hear on the portman amendment. i hope we'll hear from other senators as they seek to improve
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this bill. but i hope we'll do that after voting cloture tonight on a border security amendment that i know strengthens this bill, puts it in balance creates trust with the american people, and creates the kind of pathway that many people are seeking. with that, mr. president i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: the senator would surely acknowledge that his amendment was filed friday noon where probably 90% of our senators had left town. it wasn't his 200-page amendment, or just his interests. all kinds of special interests and senators' interests have been added to the bill. and it was filed as part of the overall bill. so you would acknowledge that the replacement that we would be voting cloture on tonight is
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1,200 pages about a little less than 200 pages more than the bill was on friday morning? mr. corker: may i respond? mr. sessions: yes. mr. corker: mr. president in responding to the good senator senator with one of the best tepl praplts in -- temperaments in the united states senate, the senator from alabama someone i enjoy working with, i would respond there is no question had a our amendment is 119 pages long and that it does incorporate input from other senators. and what i would say is the senator was a great jurist from the state of alabama. he worked on all kinds of legal documents, i'm sure, before he came to serve in such a distinguished way in this body. and i know that he understands well because i know he's had to do it many, many times that when you have an amendment that touches many parts of a bill, or you have a contract that has changes that touch many parts of the contract, what people do to
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cause people to understand how it's written better and actually it has to be a rule of construction here in the united states senate, is you add those 119 pages throughout the text of a bill that's been around since may, that the senator from alabama was able to go through in detail as a member of the judiciary committee and offer all kinds of amendments. he's seen that base text now for a long, long time and went through it almost more than -- i know more than most here in the senate. so yes we add an amendment. it does have other concerns. that's what you do when you try to write a piece of legislation that solves a problem. it is 119 pages. it was added to the base text; that's true. and i would just have to say on any measure for somebody who cares about border security, it is much stronger than the base language. mr. sessions: mr. president i'm going to talk about what the amendment does.
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the senator hasn't seen quite as much although he's an experienced and very able addition to this senate. but hasn't perhaps seen how over decades promises about enforcement at the border tker don't occur. and that's important i will just -- senator i'll go through the legislation the amendment you've offered and make some comments about why i think it's not it, does not do what you believe it does and why we should not pass it, and why we absolutely should not move forward on the substitute which is basically the bill that has been put out by the gang of eight which fails in a whole host of ways. i would just also be concerned and will ask you: do you believe that senators who have concerns
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about the bill should be given the right to have amendments voted on in an up or down way as long as reasonably necessary to be able to offer amendments to fix the legislation? mr. corker: mr. president i couldn't agree more with the senator from alabama. and as i mentioned in my comments, i hope that this body, i hope that senators on my side of the aisle will not block senator rob portman's amendment on everify which greatly strengthens the bill. but i agree with the senator. i hope we'll have a plethora of amendments offered this week, debated this week and voted on this week. and i will just say to the good senator from alabama who i really cherish serving with, i have not blocked one single amendment from being voted on. i don't know if the senator from alabama has blocked any. but the fact is i say let's let it roll. i'd love to see another 50 or 80
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amendments this week if time will allow. let's let it roll. i'm all for that. mr. sessions: i appreciate the senator saying that -rs but it's 0 not going to happen because when you give cloture tonight senator reid is going to be in complete control of the voting process amendments will be at his pleasure, the ones he thinks he's willing to vote on and ones that he doesn't approve of he won't be voting on. so i would just say that's where we are. that's a fact and we're going to have other cloture motions and the goal will be to drive this bill to passage friday, and we're not going to have -- before friday, if possible, i suppose, and that's where we are heading, and it's going to be far less votes than last time a big immigration bill came up. it was 49 or so amendments voted on. we have done nine. and discussions were going on thursday -- wednesday thursday night to have another 16, and i
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was advocating more amendments be brought up, and i thought we had an agreement to do that, and we're moving that way until this great amendment the grand amendment that fixes things came up. senator, let me just go on and point out a few things that i think are troubling with the legislation, and we can go on senator corker, and just make my points now. first of all you said it has a trigger and that trigger is ten years from now and it's whether or not individuals who have been given legal status for ten years have been told they're going to get their permanent legal status in ten years and it turns out that the congress hasn't appropriated money to complete the fencing as promised. it turns out that congress hadn't funded the border patrol agents that they promised, and
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now we're going to say you don't get your status, and they're going to say what's the problem? we did everything we were to do, and you congress didn't do it. give us our green card. and people are going to say we can't deny the people the green card. if they have been here for ten years plus the time they have already been here, maybe have children that have been born and are citizens, this is not a practical guarantee that this will ever happen, not a realistic guarantee that it will ever happen. and i don't believe we're going to add based on my experience, 20,000 agents. we probably don't need that many but we need more, and we need a better effectiveness at the border. but that's the impact of the trigger. the legal status, the social security card, the right to work anywhere in america is given within two months of the passage of the legislation. you're making promises ten years down the road that i'm saying
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are not likely to ever happen. in fact, i don't think they will happen in the way you said. the secretary has the power to re-allocate personnel under this bill and it gives her broad power to do that, and she will say she has done what she has required, or the next secretary will and i'm concerned about that. on the cost, i have just got to say -- and senator schumer and the judiciary committee they promised that the bill was paid for by the fees, the punishment, the fines and i'll talk about that somewhat later, that will be paid by the people who entered the country illegally and they claim it would have as much as $8 billion. maybe that was so. i'm not sure. they wouldn't tell how many people are going to be legalized. i asked that. twice to senator schumer. he refused to say how many people would be given green card
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status in the next ten years in america. maybe he didn't want us to know. if he didn't know, that's a big gap for somebody who is writing a thousand-page bill and doesn't know what's -- how many people are going to be legalized in it. so this is what he said. what we are simply doing is making sure that all the expenses in the bill are fully funded by the income that the bill brings in. this is to make sure that this bill does not incur any costs on the taxpayers to make it revenue neutral. this is just a little point to me, but one i care about. he said it provides start-up costs to implement the bill -- quote -- "repaid by fees that come back later. so what we are basically doing is setting up two pots of money that have start-up money and it's repaid, that both the companies pay when they get new workers and the immigrants who become r.p.i. pay in terms of their fines as they go through
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the process." well that's what we were told in their talking points, in their poll-tested talking points when they were drafting the original version before senator corker was involved. but it's not -- now it's $46 billion. where is the money coming from? well they say the bill creates more revenue. and this is what the congressional budget office, our budget accounting firm, told us about it. it said before senator corker's bill raised the cost from $8 billion to $46 billion that it would reduce -- it would increase the on-budget debt by $14 billion. it would then reduce the off-budget debt by $211 billion or something like that. so isn't that good news?
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so it would approve our off-budget debt. well, what is the off-budget debt? the off-budget debt is the social security and medicare withholding that the newly legalized persons will pay when they get their social security card, so they will be paying withholding on their checks that maybe they weren't paying before and they score that as increased revenue and it certainly is. and in the one form of our accounting, we'll show that as an increased revenue and if that money in that form of accounting unified budget accounting means -- allows you to think you can spend it for anything you want to, but wait a minute. what is the real reality here? the persons paying their social security and their medicare withholding, and it doesn't go to the u.s. treasury. it goes to the social security and medicare trust funds.
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it's not available simultaneously to be used to pay for a new bill. and this is how this country has been going broke. it's the same thing that happened during obamacare. and i got mr. elmendorf the night before the vote, december 23, we voted on christmas eve to pass that bill, i got him to say you can't simultaneously strengthen social security and medicare with this new money and pay for something else with it. he said that's -- use this phrase. it's double counting the money. that's where they are coming up with the money here. so the social security and medicare payroll withholding that people will pay when they get legalized and are given a social security card is their retirement. we have got to have that money to pay for their retirement when
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they get ready to draw medicare and social security. you can't spend it now and pretend we have got free money. and it's clear in the c.b.o. score just last week that's what the situation is. i'm just not happy about this counting this form -- the money in that form. mr. corker: i wonder if the senator would let me just respond in a generous way. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: first of all i respect the leadership that the senator from alabama has given on the budget committee and i know that he knows all of these things well, and he's very familiar that i've offered actually a very detailed piece of legislation to deal with medicare and he knows that the average american today is paying one-third of the cost of medicare over their life time, and in other words they pay only one-third of the cost of their medicare program. so the fact that you would have people who began paying taxes -- i mean, one of the things that
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the senator is mentioning is you're right. we pass this bill, those who were here who have been undocumented and not paying taxes will pay taxes. i would think the senator from alabama would think that is an outstanding idea. and most of them are younger and the fact is what they're going to be doing is helping the baby boomers and senior population in america that we have bus americans today are only paying one-third of the cost of medicare, and you have seen -- i know the senator from maine is very knowledgeable on this that the medicare fund is going to be insolvent in 2024. so he's exactly right by forcing these folks who are in the shadows today to come out of the shadows for ten years and to pay taxes and not receive by the way federal benefits, no means-tested federal benefits, until we do the five things that are in our bill -- by the way
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the senator should know that the money for this is appropriated now. if this bill passes, the money's appropriated. it's not subject to appropriations down the road. but let me just -- i will say one last thing and i will yield the floor. i know i'm being a little -- i appreciate you letting me do this. mr. sessions: i want to make sure whose time is being used, but go ahead. mr. corker: this will be under senator leahy's time, as i understand but let me say this. the cloture vote tonight is not as was described a minute ago. the cloture vote tonight is only on this amendment. it's not on the bill. so for someone to say that they're losing some kind of cloture rights now on the vote, that's just not true. the cloture vote tonight we're having is on an amendment that has five strong border security measures that every republican has talked about for years. it doesn't mean you vote for the bill. we're talking about the amendment.
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the moneys are appropriated. the cloture vote is on the amendment only. so i just wanted to clear that up. and c.b.o., that the great senator from alabama works with daily and quotes daily the c.b.o. has said that if this bill passes, it will help tremendously with this deficit that we know is weighting our country down-to-do. mr. sessions -- country down today. mr. sessions: i thank the chair but the cloture will be on the substitute which is 1,200 pages not just the senator's amendment, most of which i would be supportive of. i think maybe all of it if we can make it effective i would say that. and senator you're correct people who are paying in to social security and medicare don't pay enough to produce the revenue that would take care of them for the rest of their life. and you're right and i certainly don't dispute that people when they are given a
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social security card and start to work under the new -- under this bill that provides them amnesty and legal status, that they're going to pay social security and medicare money they weren't paying before. but it's their money. it's the money that has got to be used to pay for their retirement. where is the money going to come to pay for that? so all i'm saying to you is it's quite plain. that's why the c.b.o. score said the on-budget deficit gets worse, but in the ten-year window the social security account looks better, but they are not counting that the younger average age 35 workers will be retiring in the years to come and demanding their medicare and social security. and the money if it's spent now won't be there then. this is how a country goes broke. and i want to say senator corker is one of the most knowledgeable, hardworking courageous determined people in
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the united states senate to try to fix the financial path we are on but i think -- i think you're misinterpreting that issue. well let me just -- i didn't want to use -- how much time has been used on my side? i will have to save some time for some other people. or how much have i used would be the question? the presiding officer: the senator has used 60 minutes. mr. sessions: 60? the senator said he was using some of his time.
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the presiding officer: 40 minutes. mr. sessions: all right. mr. president, i better wrap up then because i know others want to speak in opposition to the legislation. so with regard to the fence -- so there is a statement of the sponsors of the corker-hoeven amendment that we're going to have a bunch of new workers at the border, border patrol officers that will be guaranteed. i pointed out how that's to be funded over ten years. this is not an appropriations bill it's a promise the legality the amnesty occurs first, and just like so often in the past, the promises never occur when competing interests start fighting over money. it just doesn't happen. and there are some people that have opposed fences and opposed border patrol agents
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religiousesly, using -- religiously, using every excuse possible in this body, and it will not be easily accomplished in the future and in fact it will not be fully accomplished, in my opinion. with regard to the promised fencing that there is in the bill the new substitute requires the secretary to submit her southern border fencing strategy to congress and certify that 700 miles of pedestrian -- not double-layered reinforced fencing, as was required in 1988 that never happened that senator -- then-senator obama voted for then-senator biden voted for then-senator clinton voted for never happened. only 36 miles of of that got built because there was discretion given later and all of a sudden they talked about a virtual fence that never occurred.
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this weakens current law or weakens the law we passed previously and -- the new bill says the second layer is to be built only if the secretary deems it necessary or appropriate, close quote. that's what happened in 2008. the new bill keeps the language from the gang of eight bill addressing limitations on the requirements for strategy. this was offered in the judiciary committee by senator leahy. i was rather taken aback by it because there had been -- they had been promoting the bill as being a bill that had fencing in it. senator leahy offered the amendment, the gang of eight all supported it, those on the committee, that said this, -- quote -- "notwithstanding the requirement that the secretary come up with a southern border fencing strategy, nothing in this subsection shall require the secretary to install fencing or infrastructure that directly
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results from the installation of such fencing in a particular location along the border if the secretary determines that the use of placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain effective control over the southern border at such location he quote. --" -- close quote. so i think that is a fatal flaw in the language. it it allows the senators to believe and advocate their bill guarantees we're going to have 700 miles of fencing when it's not there. it's not there. and senator leahy knew exactly what he was doing when he offered that amendment in committee, and the substitute, the 1,200-page swimsuit substitute includes this exact leahy amendment language. it's not changed by the senator's offer of legislation. so mr. president my time is -- i've spoken more than than i intended to. a number of other issues i would race if we had the time --
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raise if we had the time but i really believe that this is close to what we ought to be doing, but we don't have the mechanisms in place to get us there, and we can't count in any realistic way this all happening. as a result, we're going to have as we had before, the legalization now and a promise of enforcement in the future that does not occur. i thank the chair yield the floor and reserve the balance of the time. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president i thank you and i thank the senator from alabama regarding his comments. i would rhetorically ask any of those who might share with the senator's views if you will, on this amendment that would this amendment -- i would just ask the question, i guess. would this amendment, if you don't like the status quo would this even amendment even
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if it wasn't fully achieved -- and i know the language states it has to be achieved before you achieve green card status, it was very specific in that regard. i would just say that does the senator -- do other senators not believe that if this amendment passes, we'd be much further down the road towards our goals than if this amendment doesn't pass? i would just ask rhetorically. what we do a lot of times on the floor, mr. president we seek 0 to improve a piece of legislation, and i know the senator from alabama is not going to vote for this bill regardless of what the security measures are in all likelihood, but i would just ask if he and others who share his views which are critical of this overall legislation, why would they not support an amendment that certainly is a vast improvement over the status quo. i think the senator has pointed out that it's very unlikely that homeland security is going to do the things that we would all
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like for them to do. but in this amendment we've got the five things, five of the things that republicans for years had hoped to achieve and the administration clearly states that you cannot move from this temporary status into green card status until these are tangibly done. again, much better than a trigger that has some superfluous thing that nobody knows what it means and the democrats are worried we're going to move the goalposts one direction and the republicans are worried we're going to move it another direction. instead, we've got something here that is very tangible. every american who is observing will we noe whether we have 20,000 more border patrol agents deployed and trained first. every american will know whether we have an entity entrance visa program.
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every american will know whether we have a veer system that is fully deployed. every american will know whether the additional 3 who 50 miles of fencing which i would say to the senator from alabama there is no chance in the world no chance, that any additional border security measures are going to be created that way unless this amendment passes. and then i would say think about the $4.5 billion in technology that will cause us to have situational awareness on the border that is part of this bill. you know, again mr. president, congress constantly talks about the fact that we punt too much to the executive branch. and i know that many people on my side of the aisle do not want to punt if you will the border security plan to the head of homeland security, whoever that might be. they want to weigh in. so this amendment gives everyone in this body the ability to weigh in, but for the other side of the aisle to ensure that we've got tangible measures that cannot be moved.
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so mr. president again i realize that no matter what this bill says, no matter what it says, as long as the title of it relates to immigration reform there are going to be people in this body that won't support it. there are measures -- i don't even want to get myself in trouble by stating the kind of measures that if if they were in this bill, people would say no it's got to be even tougher. okay. the fact is that we in this body generally speaking, have worked together to try to come up with a piece of legislation that meets the balance. this amendment to me, adds that component that meets the balance. and i do appreciate it. i know some people on my side of the aisle would criticize because they would say well, you worked with the other side of the aisle to make this happen. mr. president, i think that's what we all came here to do.
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the president i know, who is an independent, i know came here to do it because without working with republicans and democrats, he couldn't get anything done. what we've done over the last couple of weeks now is to work very closely on both sides of the aisle to coming up with a measure that hits that balance. it doesn't move the goalposts because we all know when it's tangible. as i mentioned i used to build shopping centers all around the country, retail projects in 18 states and, you know, when i finished the project you could see it. dint have to go out and get a survey in the community did i meet 90% of the retailing needs of this community and if it was a grocery center they might have said did you on the grocery side but you didn't on the florist side or some other piece. i built something that was tangible and called for and it was paid for. the reason we've had this trouble, let's face it, the reason we've had this trouble is
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we've been debating a trigger for months that everybody knows can be monkeyed with. if you see a cheetoh bag in a cref nuss arizona or someplace some people can say there were ten people outing out of that bag. that's what this debate has been about. everybody knows that. so this side of the aisle doesn't trust this side because they're afraid we're going to add ten more folks with that cheeto bag and change the denominator and this side over here saying we don't trust it because we want to see results. this amendment gives results. gives results. every american can see the results. again, i cannot imagine how anybody on this side of the aisle that is serious about border security could want the text that's in the base bill, that doesn't stipulate anything stipulates nothing
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i don't know how they could want the text that's in the base bill over the text that's in this amendment, which clearly lays out those fiech i five things we've discussed over and over again, 20,000 trained and deployed border agents, 350 miles additional fencing on top of the 50 that's already republicans have thried for years to get 700 miles. we add the $4.5 billion in technology that the chief of the border patrol area, chief fisher who has been in our office in many people's offices for years he's wanted this equipment to do what he needs to do and nits this bill. an entry-exit visa program. we have 40% overstays on our visa program. terrible. but it has to be fully deployed before again you move to the green card status. and then, again everify which let's face it, why are people coming across the border? they're coming across the border
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to take care of their families. they want to work hard. that's what we want our kids to do. they're walking across the border to work hard, to do all kinds of things that create companies and they're entrepreneurs, but they also raise their kids. they serve us meals. they bring our crops in. they build our homes. they build our buildings. they want to participate in the american dream. and what this bill -- not our amendment -- lays out is a path for them to be able to do that. it's a tough path. they get at the back of the line. they pay taxes for ten years and receive no means-tested federal benefits and now somehow we have people opposing that even though these triggers have to be in in place. mr. president, all i can say is this is a great nation and this is a nation that has laws and
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we're laying out the way those laws have to be in this amendment. i hope that people will look at this amendment for what it is. it's an opportunity for both sides of the aisle for both sides of the aisle to succeed for republicans to have those tough border control measures people want. i was in a restaurant saturday night in my neighborhood, a place i go often. the place serves great hamburgers. when i talked in, what did people say? they want border patrol border security. we got an amendment that as governor buyer of arizona has said is a victory for arizona. a victory for visas yeaz. on the other side of the aisle what people have pushed for is a clear path. no we're not going to wait ten years and move the goalposts. let's have tangible goals that people can see. mr. president, i hope everybody will get behind this amendment.
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people on our side because of border control people on both sides because it achieves a balance if passed that a piece of legislation like this ought to have. i just want to say again mr. president, i have enjoyed working on this amendment and this piece of legislation over the last ten days more than anything i've done in the united states senate. we have an opportunity to do something great for this nation, great for this nation. and the passage of the cloture vote this night on this amendment is to go something that takes us a step closer, even if you oppose the bill, even if you oppose the underlying bill. those people that hear concerns from all around the country about border security should support this. this is better than in the base bill. with that, mr. president, i want to say 119-page amendment people know that the way we write language is triple spaced big letters got a lot
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of seniors in this body. we write in big letters okay. the average page is really about three or four pages of language is the average page for most americans what they read on a daily basis. a middle school class person in tennessee could read this amendmentened -- amendment in 30 to 45 minutes. it's been available for 75 hours. it has tangible goals that we've all sought for. voting for cloture tonight does not end debate on the base bill. that is not true. it ends debate on this amendment. there's still cloture votes into the future that close off the cloture, the debate if you will for those people listening in that close off debate on the overall bill. so nobody's giving up rights. why not strengthen the bill even if you oppose it? and if you're for the bill, why not vote for a measure that might add people to this piece of legislation and send it over to the house of representatives where they'll create their own
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bill and there are improvements they can make, why not do that? mr. president, i urge a yes vote tonight. i hope people will actually read this language and see what it does to the underlying bill and i thank the president for his time this morning. mr. president, i also notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president i request consent that the quorum be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president i'd like to speak about the immigration bill but first i want to make a comment about this international drama that is going on from hong kong to -- well i guess it started really in hawaii, from hawaii to hong
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kong now hong kong to moscow and then the question is, where does the fugitive go from there? i think we ought to face facts that the government of china would not have let him go without making the decision with regard to hong kong. and i wouldn't have been surprised if they didn't get certain information from him if, in fact, he has anything. but the fact that he is now in moscow and did not get on the airplane for cuba tells me that the old k.g.b. officer now president of russia, putin is directing the show.
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and i wouldn't be surprised if the president of russia is not giving the orders to milk him for every piece of information that he has. and if he really doesn't have anything then i think the president of russia is going to decide whether or not he wants to have a good relationship with the united states and might allow him to be extradited to the u.s. so it may well be that since he was released from hong kong, which is really under the direction in this case of president xi of china that he may not have all the information that he's claiming to. now, presumably he's carrying a bunch of laptops. well, you would have thought
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that they would have taken that into custody and maybe that's what's happening right now in moscow. however it plays out as i have said from the beginning, i think his behavior is treasonous behavior and that the full extent of the law ought to be applied and those countries that have a formal legal relationship with the united states ought to obey the law and have him extradited to the united states. so he can face the charges. by virtue of his escapades all over the globe, i think it is clearly indicative that he does not want to face the full extent of the law. and i think all the more that would justify the department of
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justice in the charge that they've brought already on espionage. now, mr. president, i wanted to say a word or two about the immigration bill. clearly on the first day of the debate i came out here and embraced it. clearly we need comprehensive immigration reform. when i was a young congressman back in the 1980's, i voted for it then. the big difference back then was that it -- we only had about 2 million illegal folks in the country. now the new term is "undocumented." of course, that has swelled now to over 11 million undocumented. in large part, the law that was passed back in the 1980's was never observed.
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businesses did not obey the law and that's one of the things that we're looking at in this comprehensive immigration package that businesses will have to obey the law and still will be able to get the labor source that they need in order to conduct business. and that through a series of everify and others, that they can -- everify and others that they can then have the security of knowing that who they have hired is in legal status. i think it's clearly the right thing to do. 11 million people here. these folks that are saying, oh, well deport them. that's not common sense. you can't deport 11 million people and the economy would collapse. just look at the agricultural community. you have to have the source of
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labor to pick the crops when the crops are right otherwise the whole crop is lost. and so, too as you go through so many of the nuances of this bill it's all put together -- and i think they've done a good job. now, i have one bone of contention. i came to the floor today absolutely shocked that the amendment that senator wicker, republican of mississippi and i have offered is -- it's questionable whether all this falderol that's going on about not accepting any additional amendments, whether or not it's going to be accepted. this amendment says that nad to -- that in addition to the land border
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security which you've heard that's the story before the last week laboring over how do we increase border security? and the estimate on this new amendment that's -- we're going to vote on today is it's costing an additional $20 billion to $46 billion. that will really tighten up border security. but if you've made the land border almost foolproof what do you think's going to happen? how are the smugglers going to get the illegals across? how the are the smugglers going to continue to get across all the illegal drugs? just like water -- if you dam it up in one place it's going to try to go around. and where is going around? the maritime border. if you make the land border on the southern united states
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foolproof where do you think the smugglers and the illegals are going to go? they're going to go to a very porous border that is from texas to louisiana to mississippi to alabama to my state of florida which has the longest coastline of the continental u.s. and then up the eastern seaboard georgias the carolinas virginia, et cetera. and they're going to do it also by going in through some of the caribbean islands including a united states territory, puerto rico and the virgin islands. because if they get there then they're on u.s. territory. so if you're spending -- now this is where the common sense comes in -- if you are spending
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$46 billion additional to secure the land border why wouldn't you want to spend an additional billion dollars to help secure the maritime border? california would be another one. you can come up the coast of central america into california. it perhaps is a more daunting task because of the waters of the pacific but look at all the opportunities on the coast of a state like mine of florida of bringing in smugglers. and, of course, we've seen this over the years. so what do we do? what's the billion dollars for? simple, real simple. we already have an unmanned aerial vehicle like a drone
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like we read about over in the the -- in afghanistan a predator or some version thereof thereof, unarmed. today it's flying out of the cape canaveral air force station station. but that's one. and when it's down for maintenance, there's zero. so why wouldn't you enhance one u.a.v. with more stationed strategically around the coastal maritime coast to stop what is supposedly going to happen if this impregnable land border is there? number two the united states navy is experimenting with a stable platform that is very cheap to operate called a blimp.
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i have flown in this blimp. you can station blimps with a long dwell time because the amount of fuel that is used in a blimp from start to finish for upwards of a 24-hour mission if you had two crews onboard that amount of fuel is the same that it takes to crank up an f-16 just to get it out there on the runway. it's a huge cost savings and it gives you a lot of dwell time. so why wouldn't you enhance for the united states navy the blimp that is being tested for the 4th fleet headquartered at mayport naval station? you should. and, thirdly the united states coast guard.
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why wouldn't you enhance the coast guard's ability to patrol not just for drugs not just for some of those who are trying to come into the united states illegally now through the maritime border but why wouldn't you enhance the coast guard? so far $20 billion extra to $46 billion for this amendment that we're going to vote on this afternoon why wouldn't you add another billion dollars to stop the i will lyle immigration and -- illegal immigration and drug smuggling that's going to occur on the maritime border. just think about it. just think when you try to stop water from rushing forward and
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you put some kind of dam that stops it if there is any break or leak or hole, where is that water going to go? it's going to go in the place of least resistance. so too smuggling of illegals and drugs if they can't get across the land border because of our friends insisting that it become impregnable. why would they want to block senator wicker's and my amendment that says we're going to enhance modestly because we can handle it with overhead and on the sea assets through the department of homeland security and the u.s. coast guard. and the u.s. navy.
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it's common sense. common sense ought to rule. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i have three unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and they be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president i'm about to suggest the absence of a quorum, but i would ask consent that upon the lifting of the quorum that i be recognized for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president would the senator yield? mr. leahy: i withhold my request. of course. mr. nelson: the senator the esteemed chairman who has his leadership has brought us to
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this point that we're on the brink of passing a major immigration reform bill, and the senator has heard my comments earlier. doesn't it make common sense that if we're going to be making as secure as possible the land border the southern land border of the united states for illegal immigration, which also includes drugs, by the way would it not make sense that we would want to increase the maritime border security? mr. leahy: i'd answer to my friend from florida who has been a friend for decades and knows the coastal area far better than anyone else, the more secure you make the land border for those who want to have illegal entry into the united states, the more they're going to look for other ways.
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water is one of them. the distinguished senator from florida has seen everything from boat lifts on through coming in to his state. without naming the countries we know them all. and a long way around of saying of course. mr. nelson: i thank the senator from -- the esteemed chair of the judiciary committee. it is common sense. i appreciate him underscoring that. and i hope our brethren and sisterren on the other side, i hope they will reconsider their decisions. mr. leahy: mr. president, i would note that there are some
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in this body, i'm sure, who want no immigration bill. i have the feeling that's a smaller and smaller group. i imagine they would love to just keep killer amendments going for weeks and weeks and weeks hoping the bill might die. on the other hand, there are some very legitimate requests made on both sides of the aisle. i have been told that some of the ones that we might want to bring up that would pass probably unanimously, that the other side will not allow them to come up unless we allow all these other amendments. i would hope that during the next few days both sides will allow the distinguished ranking member and myself to sit down
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and go through and accept, as you normally do on a bill like this, a package of amendments that are acceptable. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum with the time being equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. mr. grassley: mr. president? i suggest the calling of the roll be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i know that when i come to the floor and remind my colleagues about my involvement in the 1986 immigration bill that it sounds like a broken record. i said early on this year that i wanted to educate my colleagues about the mistakes that we made in 1986 so those mistakes were
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not repeated in the first immigration bill to pass the senate since 1986. because i was here in 1986, i thought i could shaeurt experience we had. i know firsthand that we screwed up in that 1986 legislation. i was certain that other members in this body could learn from our mistakes. however, today we're right back to the same place talking about the same problems, proposing the same solutions. in 1981, as a freshman member of the senate, i joined the judiciary committee and was very active in the subcommittee process. we sat down and wrote the legislation. we had 100 hours of hearings and 300 witnesses before we marked up that bill in may of 1982. hundreds more hours and dozens more hearings would take place
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before the bill actually became law in 1986. this year we had six days of hearings. we spent 18 hours and 10 minutes listening to outside witnesses. the judiciary committee received the bipartisan bill at 2:24 a.m. april 17. we held hearings april 19, 22, and 23. we heard from 26 witnesses in those three days. we heard from the head of the immigration and customs enforcement agency union. we heard from economists and employers, law enforcement and lawyers, professors and advocacy groups. we even heard from people who are undocumented proving that only in america would we allow somebody who has violated our laws to be heard by the american
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people. one of the witnesses on april 23 was secretary napolitano. we attempted to learn about how the bill would affect the functions of the executive branch. after all that's where it's going to be carried out. and whether she saw some flaws and the same flaws that many of us were finding in the legislation. we asked follow-up questions of the secretary that were thoughtful and focused on the mechanics of the legislation. we wanted to know the secretary's thoughts, since she would be implementing the legislation. unfortunately, we still have not received responses to questions that we raised. today it has been two months that the secretary has failed to answer our questions. in a sense ignoring us, she has refused to cooperate.
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she has refused to tell us how the bill would be implemented by our department. now isn't it amazing, at least it is to me, that the majority puts up with this, let alone some of her own republican colleagues. after the committee hearings, we started the markup process on may 9. we held five all-day sessions where members were able to raise questions, voice concerns and offer amendments. commonsense amendments offering real solutions were repeatedly rejected. those that were accepted made some necessary improvements. but the core provisions of the bill remain the same yet to this very day. i respect the process that we had in committee. it was open, fair, and transparent, even though the end result was almost determined. we had a good discussion, debate on how to improve the bill.
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it was a productive conversation focused on getting immigration reform right for the long term, not to make the same mistakes we did in 1986. yet, i was disappointed that alliances were made that actually ensured nothing passed in that committee process that would make substantial changes and improvements to the bill. now, those alliances remain in effect when we're out here on the floor of the united states senate. as of this morning 349 amendments have been filed to the underlying bill. we started off the debate on the senate floor with my amendment that would require the border to be effectively controlled for six months before the secretary could process applications for registered provisional immigrant
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status r.p.i., or another way of saying it, legalizing those who have crossed the border without papers. now that,'s pretty darned important because we have been told since this bill was put to the public by the gang of eight that we were going to skaor the the -- going to secure the border. we're going to secure the border after legalization because a plan before congress is not securing the border. securing the border is only if that plan actually secures the border. but legalization is going to take place before any plan is put into effect. and that's what i consider a major shortcoming of this legislation, because it makes the same miss -- mistakes we did in 1986. we thought we secured the border. we didn't secure the border, but we legalized.
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my amendment was surely feared by the other side because it would fundamentally change the bill. it wouldn't fundamentally change what the authors of the bill said that they were going to secure the border and then legalize. but it changed what was actually in the language of the bill. so, in order to keep my bill from being adopted they insisted on a certain ratio for the amendment to pass which i refused. so in response, they moved to table my amendment. now, we were promised an open and fair process. why wasn't that promise kept? we learned on day one that all the talk about making the bill better was just hogwash. it was a phony an empty promise. they would take to the floor and they would say they were ready to move and vote on amendments.
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that sounds very fair and open, doesn't it? yet, in reality they were afraid of all the amendments that could be offered. they refused to let members offer any amendment of their own choosing. they wanted to pick what amendments would be considered on the floor of the senate. does that sound fair and open? well it obviously doesn't. they wanted to decide who what, when and how it would be disposed of. that's not right. what's even more disturbing is the fact that the alliances made thwarted the ability of the minority to have any say whatsoever. republicans were obstructed even by members of our own party. they refused to open the amendment process. one republican said -- quote -- "i am confident that an open and transparent process one that engages every senator and the american people, will make it
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even better. i believe this kind of open debate is critical in helping the american people understand what's in the bill, what it means for you and what it means for our future. " end of quote. well that was never carried out here on the floor of the senate. that same senator also wrote chairman leahy saying, "i write to express my strong belief that the success of any major legislation depends on acceptance and support of the american people. that support can only be earned through full and careful consideration of legislative language and an open process of amendments." end of quote of that senator's letter to chairman leahy march 30. well well-intended but i don't see a defense of that position out here on the floor of the united states senate, as we're steamrolled in a letter to me on
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april 5 a senator wrote "if the majority does not follow regular order, you can expect that i will continue to defend the rights of every senator myself included, to conduct this process in an open and detailed manner." well as we're being steamrolled with just a few amendments be considered, you can see that that well-intended -- that may have been well-intended but it is not carried out. when the bill was introduced, the senior senator from new york said -- quote -- "one of the things we all agree with is that there ought to be an open process so that the people who don't agree can offer their amendments." well-intended. the gang of eight called for robust floor debate. they said they supported regular order. so i ask them, do they think that having only considered nine amendments equates to a robust
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and open process? mr. leahy: will the senator yield for a question? mr. grassley: i'll yield to a question. i may not answer it, but i'll yield for it. mr. leahy: is it not a fact that the first amendment that was brought up here was a bipartisan one of mine and senator hatch. shortly thereafter, the senator from iowa came with an amendment, following the normal courtesy done, i allowed mine to be set aside so he could bring up his. so iston a is isn't it a fact that we asked if he might set that aside for some noncontroversial amendments on either side, he told me he could not? mr. grassley: the senator is correct. mr. leahy: thank you. infrastructures grass wewe only had ninemr. grassley: we only had nine amendments. do we think they had regular order? from my point of view the answer
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is a resounding no. now we're at a point where the process is on hold. it is unclear whether any more amendments will be debated and voted on. the only amendment that is in order is the one that was concocted behind closed doors and is loaded full of provisions that are shockingly close to what can be called "earmarks." we're back where we started with a gang of members promising that their legislative text is the best thing to happen to immigration reform, that their solution is the end of future illegal immigration. does anyone really think that this will solve the problem once and for all? from my point of view, based upon my experience in 1986 and since, the answer is a clear and resounding no. there's fundamental flaws in this amendment that we call "the schumer-hoeven-corker amendment -- legalization first."
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i want to take the opportunity to walk through some changes. the authors claim the amendment is a border surge that leaves no more doubt about whether the border will be secured. yet the border changes -- the border changes only account for about half of the total amendment. there are changes to every title. there are changes to exchange visit program the future guest worker program and visas for the performing arts. this isn't just a border amendment; there are provisions in the bill to are are bill to attract other senators. i'll dive into those provisions in just a moment. but first i want to focus on border measures. the sponsors of this bill want you to believe that it's different from the 1986 legislation. they say it'll be tough and expensive road, be easier for individuals just to go home than
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to go through the process. what the sponsors don't like to admit is that the bill is legalization first enforcement later. and i have to add enforcement later -- if ever. take, for example that one of the sponsors who went on spanish television tried to apologize for speaking the truth. he sairktsd "let's be clear. nobody is talking about preventing legalization. the legalization is going to happen. that means following -- that means the following will happen: first comes the legalization. then comes a measure to secure the border. then comes a process of permanent residence." end of quote. now, he spoke the truth. and the fundamental flaw underlying the bill has not changed with this amendment. so let's be clear. no one is preventing the legalization. it's going to happen. as opposed to the promise when this bill was put forward that
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the bill was going to secure the border first. now, there is a lot of money in this bill. there is a lot of micromanaging in this amendment and there are more waivers. remember, this is already on top of i think one member counted 222 waivers for the secretary. so we write a piece of legislation. we're supposed to legislate. but we legislate and then say to the secretary well, you can ignore what we -- what we legislate and certain conditions. we ought to be making broad policy here and not delegating to the administration the way that we too often do, not just in this legislation but just as a matter of fact on most everything. what the amendment does is require more boots on the ground. it increases the presence of border patrol, even though the member of the gang of -- the members of the gang of eight
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have long opposed that idea. they said it was unnecessary and costly. but let's be honest with the american people. the amendment may call for more border patrol agents, but it doesn't require until the undocumented population who are now called r.p.i.'s apply for adjustment of status or a green card. so it's legalization first border security long down the road. i'm all for putting more agents on the border, but why wait? why allow legalization now and simply promise more agents in the future? and even then, who really believes that the secretary like the one we have today will actually enforce the law? then there's the fencing. one of the conditions that must be met before the secretary can produce green cards for people here illegally is that the southern border fencing strategy has been submitted to congress and implemented.
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this fencing strategy will identify where 700 miles of pedestrian fencing is in place. note that this is not double-layered as in current law. the amendment states that a second layer is to be built only if -- quote -- "the secretary deems necessary an appropriate." now, can the authors of this amendment say that that's a promise to the american people to built a fence if somehow the secretary is given the authority of whether or not it's necessary or appropriate? additionally the underlying bill still specifically states that nothing in this provision shall be interpreted to require her to install fencing. the amendment also requires that an electronic entry-exit system is in use at all international air and seaports but only -- quote -- "where u.s. customs and
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border protection are currently deployed." end of quote. this is actually weaker than the bill that came before the united states senate just a few weeks ago. and that bill required that an electronic entry-exit system be in use at air and seaports, not just internationally. it is still weaker than current law, which requires biometric entry and exate at all ports of -- and exit at all ports of entry, including air sea and land. and that current law has been on the books for a long period of time not carried out by both republican and democrat administrations. so what certainty do you have that this is going to be carried out? the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment border proposal adds technology in addition to manpower at the southern border. it authorizes the secretary to purchase and deploy certain
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border equipment. i will a give you some examples that are -- i'll give you some examples that are included in this amendment. in arizona the secretary is allowed to deploy 50 fixed towers 73 fixed camera systems 28 mobile surveillance systems 685 unattended ground sensors and 22 handheld equipment devices, including night-vision goggles. in san diego the secretary is allowed to deploy the same type of equipment but different quantities. they also will deploy nonuntry sufficient inspection systems a radiation portal monitor a literal detection and clarification network. in el centro, california, the list also includes two sensor repeaters, two communication
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repeaters. they will also get five fiber optic tank inspection scopes, a license plate reader, a backscatter, a two portable contraband detecters two isotope identification devices eight radiation ice isotope identification updates three personal radiation detecters and 16 targeting systems. that's not all. the list goes on. it includes certain helicopters and aircraft upgrades, 30 marine vessels. i'd like to know what some of these items are. who provided the amendment sponsors with this list? we had a hearing in january. not once did the list appear. secretary napolitano did not
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provide the committee with any list. the sikorsky cessna -- did sikorsky-cessna send up a wish list to the senate? we should take note that the bill allows the secretary to -- quote, unquote -- "reallocate the personnel infrastructure and technologies laid out." so it's pretty simple. a secretary who says the border is secure right now can change all of this stuff -- specifically inspecificspecifically mentioned in this amendment. let's also not forget about the litigation exception. the triggers or conditions may never have to be met. green cards can be issued if the supreme court grants review of
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litigation on the constitutionality of the implementation of the quns. under the bill, if any court in this country issues a stay on implementing one of the conditions then green cards are to be issued after ten years. the bill does not specify what sort of ruling must prevent implementation or even that the ruling be on the merits, nor does the bill require that appeals run their course, even if the appeal upholds the conditions. now, we still maintain this toothless commission called the southern border security commission but it retools it a little bit but still does not give it any teeth whatsoever. the amendment requires the creation of the commission one year after the enactment, which is probably better than the five years that are in the bill. they'd also be required to hold
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public hearings once a year. under the original version of the bill, the commission would be in existence -- would be in existence until they submitted a plan. under this amendment the commission will live for ten years, get the. yet, the recommendations they provide can be ignored. they're nonbinding. there is a lot of spending in this amendment as well. in addition to micromanaging the resources in each sector, the amendment increases taxpayer spending by $40 billion over the introduced version of the bill before this amendment was added to it. originally the legislation called for spending $100 million for start-up costs and $6..5 billion for the secretary to carrycarry out the law. when we got to committee, there was a technical amendment that increased the start-up costs
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from $100 million to $1 billion. during markup, senator schumer and his allies increased the trust fund allocation from $6.5 billion to $8.3 billion. now the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment increases the trust fund to $46.3 billion. now, think ... going from $8.3 billion to $46.3 billion. add the $3 billion for the secretary to have start-up costs, and we're at $50 billion. that's over a 50000%% in spending. a billion here and a billion there, it soon adds up to real money. know that this isn't shifting money from the trust fund like senator cornyn's amendment would have done, and that amendment was defeated here on the floor of the senate. instead, it's just plain old brand-new spending.
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the sponsors found a money tree to pay for the wish list provided by secretary napolitano and the aerospace industry. based on reports of how this deal was struck, we have a pretty good idea of why spending has increased. according to a "politico" article from last week, negotiations for this deal were at a standstill until the congressional budget office score was released. the c.b.o. score stated that if this bill becomes law, it will cut the deficit by almost $1 trillion over the next 20 years. thus with this estimate in hand the "politico" report tells us how the negotiators were able to find a solution. quote -- unquote -- throw money at it. according to the article, it was suggested that senators could funnel some of the savings into border security, and that's what has been done. again, as is often the case here
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in washington, the solution always seems to be just throw more money at the problem and the money has to come from somewhere. furthermore, paying for the agents requires raiding the social security trust fund. indeed the bill sets aside $30 billion to pay for border patrol agents, but when asked on the floor how the gang of eight found the money senator hoeven said he and senator corker were able to add the $30 billion in spending because c.b.o. projects that s. 744 will bring in more revenue than it requires in expenditures, but upon closer examination, it's clear that the projected revenue under c.b.o. analysis is due to an increase in social security and medicare taxes. this money must be set aside if social security and medicare is to remain sol gent, thus taking that tax revenue and using it for a fence means raiding social
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security and medicare trust fund. you know how the medicare trust fund was raided for health care reform. it sounds like the same thing is happening here. on the date of enactment the treasury will transfer $46.3 billion to the trust fund. the sponsors claim that the treasury will be repaid, but when will the funds be paid back to the treasury? when will the american people be reimbursed? the sponsors of the bill saying that taxpayers will bear the burden, yet there is no requirement that the funds be paid back. there is no time limit for accountability to ensure that they are repaid. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment increases fees on the visas for illegal immigrants in order to replace the trust fund in the treasury. it happens that employers students and tourists will pay the price. the bill allows the secretary to increase those fees so the employer who brings in high-skilled workers will bear
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the burden, students and tourists who come in a legal way will bear the burden, but guess what? the amendment goes on to say those who cross the border in violation of our laws says that the fees for those people cannot be charged more than what is allowed. the secretary cannot adjust fees and penalties on those who apply for or renew r.p.i. status or even blue card status. now, there is no interior enforcement in here and there is a real problem if you don't have more interior enforcement that's here you're going to have more people coming here undocumented. the amendment in the underlying bill will not end undocumented immigration. the congressional budget office reports that illegal immigration will only be reduced by 25% due to an increased number of guest workers coming into the country.
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the amendment does nothing to radically reduce illegal immigration in the future and does not provide any resources to interior enforcement agencies whose mission it is to apprehend. and detain and deport undocumented workers undocumented immigrants. just like with the 1986 legislation, we will be back in the same position ten years facing the same problems. the amendment, for instance, in section 1201 attempts to address people who overstay their visas. it says that the secretary shall, one initiative removal proceedings. two, confirm that immigration relief or protection has been granted or is pending. or three otherwise close 90% of the cases of nonimmigrants who
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were admitted and extended their authorized period of admission by more than 180 days. so while it appears to be tough on overstays it only affects people who overstay their visa by 180 days or six months. it also allows the secretary to close the cases. what does it mean for the secretary to close these cases? under current law an administrative judge has the power to administratively close a case. it's used to temporarily remove a case from the calendar. sometimes the judge waits for further action to be taken and administrative closure is not a final order. closure does not mean termination. it does not mean deportation. so i think it's unclear what this language does and who it's applying to. moreover it's unclear how the secretary would know who has
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overstayed if no exit data or tracking system exists. also why doesn't the amendment require the secretary to deal with 100% of the people that overstay their period of authorization? given there are no ramifications for the secretary if she does not capture 90% of visa overstays, this is again another law that will not be followed. it does nothing to end this administration's antienforcement policies but instead gives the secretary of homeland security vast discretion to ignore serious criminal convictions of immigration violators including gang-related crime domestic violence drunk driving and child abuse. the bill would not only create an immediate legalization for those here illegally today but also a permanent legalization
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program for future undocumented immigrants. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment includes a provision that would make individuals admissible despite the three and ten-year bars. i'd like to know more about the rationale from the sponsors about why this language was included. there is no doubt that this amendment was crafted in the back rooms here on capitol hill and it is really no secret that some of the members were able to insert provisions in the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment while the rest of us attempted to work out an agreement on pending and filed amendments. while some of us were trying to legislate and bring up amendments for votes on the floor, others were taking advantage of the pay-to-play games. clearly, some of the amendments filed were included.
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let me share some examples. the amendment now authorizes funds for an educational campaign to help deter illegal crossings into mexico from the south. this amendment would put american taxpayers' money towards training for law enforcement officials in mexico, honduras, el salvador, guatemala and other countries. it would allow for taxpayers' expenditures to educate nationals of other countries -- quote -- "about the perils of the journey to the united states." end of quote. this amendment should have been considered under regular order. the amendment now -- number two the amendment now includes a provision that would require customs and border protection officials to reduce airport wait times. this amendment which was filed should have been considered under regular order. three, the amendment now makes it harder for border patrol agents to enforce u.s. immigration law along the northern border by limiting the
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mileage or distance that agents can search vehicles or other forms of transportation. this amendment should have been filed -- which was filed should have been considered under regular order. four the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment includes an amendment number 1283 that creates a -- quote -- "use jobs fund." end of quote using $1.5 billion from the u.s. treasury to be repaid through fees. the goal of the fund is to -- quote -- "provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for low-income youth." end of quote. this amendment should have been considered under regular order. sixth -- or fifth the summer-corker-hoeven amendment includes amendment number 1493, which designates zones one two and three occupations involving seafood processing in alaska as
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shortage occupations. it also includes amendment number 1329, which extends the j-visa summer work travel program to seafood processing positions only in alaska. these amendments should have been considered under regular order. sixth, the amendment now includes amendment number 1183, which was actually pending before the senate. it would allow for fee waivers on certain visa holders namely o and p nonimmigrants who come in the united states to work in hollywood or play professional sports. we could have voted on this and had regular order on that amendment. well, there is a lot more amendments you could go through. i'd like to just suggest some clarifying amendments, and there probably should be more
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clarifying amendments. the amendment by schumer oafn and -- hoeven and corker also includes so-called technical fixes. one fix is related to h-1b visa caps. the sponsors of the bill and those who work behind closed doors worked to device an h-1b visa package stated that the annual cap would not exceed 180,000, yet the language didn't do what they said it did. as written it provided 20,000 more than they claimed so this amendment includes a clarification to say that the cap shall not exceed 180,000. the second clarifying change in the amendment is related to visas for countries that have entered the free trade agreements with the united states. during committee consideration the senator from new york added an amendment that would provide
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10,500 visas for countries in the african growth and opportunity act and the caribbean basin economic recovery act. the change in this amendment clarifies that only a tomato -- total of 10,500 may go to those countries rather than each country that is described under the act. still, it's not 100% clear what the clarification achieves if that clarification achieves a goal. so it's legitimate with these clarifications and fixes how many more clarifying amendments are necessary. these two provisions were included because my staff caught them and brought them to the sponsors' attention but how many more provisions are written -- are not written properly that they don't know about? so at the end of the day the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment doesn't do what the sponsors say it will. as we have seen all along we're
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being promised one thing and sold another. i'm frustrated with how the majority has processed this bill. we could have had three genuine weeks on this bill, processing amendments and having votes yet we're forced to vote on packages that were concocted behind closed doors. we were given 72 hours to read the legislative text. that may be plenty of time to read it, but it's not plenty of time to actually study it and know what's in it. even then, the american people would have had a difficult time getting their hands on the bill over the weekend or understanding its true ramifications. it's quite obvious that i'm going to vote against this amendment. it does nothing to change the legalization first philosophy and offers little more than false promises that the american people can no longer tolerate. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president i ask consent that i be allowed to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president without delaying or affecting the time of the cloture vote today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president for more than a decade, the government's ability and authority to gather information in electronic communication data about those who are suspected of or connected to potential terrorists have greatly increased. you only have to read the newspaper, listen to the news and realize how extraordinary this expansion has been. but as an american, i feel if the government is going to have such powerful authorities it
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should be only -- be if there is property oversight and accountability and transparency. we have to assure we maintain both our nation's security, but the fundamental civil liberties upon which our nation was founded. i've long been troubled by the expansive nature and scope of the u.s.a. patriot act and the fisa amendments act. there is not enough oversight and ability for americans to know just what it is their government is doing and be able to get into the debate of whether they want their government to do this. that's why i've consistently fought to include strong protections for the privacy rights and civil liberties of american citizens, but also sunsets to ensure proper
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government oversight. nothing focuses oversight like knowing that a law is about to come to an end. so i will introduce today at the end of my remarks along with a bipartisan group of senators the fisa accountability and privacy protection act of 2013. in fact, of those of us who are introducing this we go across the political spectrum. this is not a partisan issue. this is an american issue. this is an issue saying we want to know what our government is doing and why. as americans we have the right to know what our government does and why. in each of the last two congresses i introduced legislation to improve and reform the powerful law enforcement tools of the u.s.a. patriot act but at the same time increasing judicial oversight, public accountability and transparency. now, both those bills were
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reported favorably by the judiciary committee with bipartisan support but then ultimately congress decided to extend all of these authorities without any modifications or improvements until 2015. likewise when congress considered reauthorizing the fisa amendment act last year, i pushed for a shorter sunset, greater transparency for the american people, and better oversight. i regret the senate rejected these efforts to apply stricter oversight over these sweeping authorities. now, the recent revelations about two classified data collection programs have brought renewed attention to the government's broad surveillance authorities but they also underscore the need for close scrutiny by congress. the director of national intelligence has acknowledged that they are being conducted
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pursuant to section 215 of the u.s.a. patriot act and section 702 of the fisa amendments act. we've also raised some questions about lax oversight lax oversight by n.s.a. with a 29-year-old contract employee can walk off with huge amounts of data without being stopped. you know, it's not enough for them to come here and saying we're doing this to protect the country. i'd like to kind of protect some of the things that they're already holding. so the comprehensive legislation i'm introducing today will not only improve the privacy protections and accountability provisions associated with these authorities, it's going to strengthen oversight and transparency provisions in other parts of the u.s.a. patriot act. in recent days, much attention has been rightly focused on
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section 215 of the patriot act the bulk collection of phone call meta data by the national security agency and their inability to keep that from being stolen by, again as i said a 29-year-old contract worker. this measure will narrow the scope of section 215 by requiring the government to show both relevance to an authorized investigation and a link to feern group or power. the bill also has more meaningful judicial review of section 215 but strikes the one-year waiting period before a recipient can challenge a non disclosure order. now the order comes but you're told you can't talk about it no matter whether it damages your business or your relations or people you're supposed to talk about, you can't talk about it for a year. that's a broad generalization of what the nondisclosure orders are.
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i think those should be changed. i think when you have these kind of gag orders on americans you're going into a very, very dangerous area. moreover this measure would require court review of minimization procedures when information concerning a u.s. person is acquired or retained or disseminated pursuant to section 215 order. this is a commonsense oversight requirement already required for other fisa authorities such as wiretaps or physical searches, trap and trace devices. mr. president, we all understand if law enforcement agency gets a search warrant to go into your home and search for things you usually know about it and you're able to question the authority and why and so on. now if they're going in and
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collecting things electronically you don't know about it, you don't know what this is doing to your reputation, to your work or anything else. we have to have more accountability. the fisa accountability and privacy protection act will also reform and improve other authorities contained in the patriot act although perhaps not a topic of recent public debate and i will not go into some of those aspects on the floor but they significantly impact the privacy rights of americans. some of the things we can talk about. things like national security letters, so-called n.s.l.'s. they're used extensively by law enforcement and the intelligence community. they can be issued without the approval of a court a grand jury or a prosecutor. now, most americans would be amazed to know that authority exists frawnld in a state like mine where people value their
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privacy i think most vermonters would be rather concerned about it. so i propose applying a new sunset to the n.s.l. authority. that would require congress to look at it again and come up with a better idea or it ends right there. i've long been concerned about the broad scope of the secret requests the potential for expansive collection of sensitive information without appropriate limitations the sunset provision would help to ensure proper accountability. mr. president, just because we can go out and gather all this information on americans often doing it secretly, doesn't mean we should. some of us enjoy our privacy. some of us like to think we're innocent unless proven guilty. and my bill would also address
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constitutional deficiency regarding the nondisclosure gag orders by finally allowing individuals to challenge these orders in court. you grow up with the -- always hearing from everybody well, you can have your day in court. well actually you don't get your day in court with these gag orders. the bill would also expand public reporting the use of n.s.l.'s and fisa authorities including an unclassified report on the impact of the use of these authorities on the privacy of u.s. persons. i've heard a great deal in the last few weeks from people not only in vermont can't we have a report the american people can see, not just those of us who have -- like myself who have access to classified material but have an unclassified report on the impact of the use of these authorities on the privacy of americans. and my bill also addresses
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shortcomings in the fisa amendments act. it applies improvements i sought during last year's reauthorization debate in the senate. existing december 27, sunset would be shortened to june 2015 to focus everybody's attention to ensure timely reexamination of how these authorities are being utilized. the june, 2015 sunset would align with the patriot act sunsets, allowing congress -- in fact, requiring congress to address all of these provisions at once, rather than a little piece here and a little piece there. it will also increase accountability it will clarify the scope of annual reviews currently required by law extending it to all agencies who have a role in developing targeting and so-called minimization procedures. but finally -- and i think this
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is extremely important -- the bill seeks to increase oversight by requiring the inspector general of the intelligence community to conduct a comprehensive review of the fisa amendments act and its impact on the privacy rights of all americans. now, these are commonsense practical improvements that will enensure the broad and powerful surveillance tools being used by the government are subject to appropriate limitations transparency and oversight. the american people deserve to know how laws like the u.s.a. patriot act and the fisa amendments act are being used to conduct electronic surveillance particularly when the surveillance is not just on those that we have reason to be suspicious of, but of all americans. totally innocent americans. the american people deserve to know whether these programs have proven sufficiently effective to
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justify their extraordinary breadth. if you can collect billions of phone calls well, we've proven technologically apparently you can do that but do we get anything out of it? or do we get our information about terrorists the old fashioned way actually talking to people and infiltrating terrorist groups and so forth? so let's make sure that we're not doing something just because we can do it, no matter how it impacts on the rights of americans. the enhanced transparency and oversight included in the legislation will ensure we're protecting national security without underlining the --
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undermining the privacy rights of law-abiding americans. i ask unanimous consent the bill be printed in the record. and i send to the desk on behalf of myself, mr. lee mr. udall of colorado, mr. blumenthal, and mr. tester. the presiding officer: the bill will be received and appropriately referred. mr. leahy: mr. president i ask we go out of morning business and i suggest the absence of a quorum with the time equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: mr. president i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized for up to ten minutes of senator leahy's time. the presiding officer: without objection. i rise today to address comprehensive immigration reform and to talk specifically about the hoeven-corker amendment. the focus of the hoeven-corker amendment is to secure the border. what senator corker, myself, and the 11 republican cosponsors on the bill and our four democrat cosponse others the bill, bipartisan legislation this is all about securing the border first as a first step for comprehensive immigration reform. that's what we're seeking to do. and so i come to the senate in regard today to address some of the misperceptions that have already been circulating about our legislation. throughout the weekend some of
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the pundits and others have put out information that's incorrect in regard to the hoeven-corker amendment to the new immigration bill and so, as the old saying goes people are certainly entitled to their opinions, and we respect all opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts. and so i want to separate some of the myth or misperceptions from the facts in regard to our amendment. and let pee say at the outset we welcome the debate, we welcome the opportunity to provide information. this is truly about coming up with legislation that wins the support of the american people, and bipartisan support in the senate and in the house and in this congress. that's what it takes to meet a challenge of the magnitude of immigration reform. so let me go through some of these misperceptions or myths
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that have been circulating and put fortunately the forth the facts. the first thing that is out there and seems to keep getting repeated is that somehow people have just not had time to read this 1,200-page amendment. well the fact is, it's not -- it is about 120 pages of new amendment that we're adding to the underlying bill. so yes all told its 1,200 because 1,100 pages is the existing bill, which we're adding our 120 pages to. so the underlying bill, that 1,100 pages, has been out there i think since may for people to read and the roughly 120 pages -- right here; this is it; this is the new material -- 120 pages. this is what we're adding, 120 pages, which i think some could read in a very short people of
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time. now, this was tiled this was filed at about 2:00 on friday. you had all of friday to read this 120 pages. this is the new material. this is the new material. not 1,200 pages. you had all of friday to read it you had all of saturday to read it, you had all of sunday to read it you've had today until now it read t and if you still haven't read it, you have a he got plenty of time to read it before the vote at 5:30 today. 120 pages of new material. let's be clear about this. there's no purpose for folks to misunderstand or to create misunderstanding. why would you do that? why would you want to say there's 1,200 pages of new material when there's 120 pages of new material? that's the first myth. two -- the second myth, the southern border fence does not
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need to be completed before people are eligible for green cards. that's the second thing going around. so what's the fact? because that's wrong. fact: the trigger explicitly states that at least 700 miles of fencing along the border must be built until individuals can receive a green card. now, a subsequent provision says d.h.s. may decide where that fence gets construct. but the trigger language is clear. you got to build 700 miles before anyone gets a green card. we've got roughly 2,000 miles of border on the southern border from texas over to california, right? from brownsville all the way to san diego. you've got about 2,000 miles of border and you have to have a minimum of 700 miles of fence before people get green cards and they have to go under provisional status for ten years as well. but as to this proirks the secretary of homeland security does have some discretion to
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decide where on that 2,000-mile border you're going to put the 700 miles of fence? wouldn't you want to put the fence where it does the most good? but why would you try to say that that subsequent provision that says you can put the fence where you need to, where it does the most good somehow doesn't mean you have to have 700 miles of fence when it clearly says you have to have 700 miles of fence? again, let's make sure people understand what's in the bill rather than confusing them about what's in the bill. it seems to me we can debate this -- and we should debate it -- but let's debate it on the facts, not on creating misperceptions. number three -- myth: congress will choose not to fund the southern border security in the amendment. congress will choose mott to fund it. well the whole law says that in fact they do have to fund it and fact is, the bill is fully
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funded. it's funded up front. the amendment adjusts the funding for border security by $38 billion. that's over a ten-year period. it's between $3 billion ands $4 billion a year that we spend to truly secure the border because americans want the border secured. so that's what we do. okay? so that cost is o.e.f. a is over a 10-year period. that money is appropriated and put in the comprehensive immigration reform trust fund. okay? that funding furthermore is paid for with immigration fees, fines, and surcharges. so the i illegal immigrants pay four the border security. i think that's something americans should understand, and i think it's something they believe should happen. that's the way it should be done. but again my question is, why is the misperception going around that somehow this thing isn't funded or won't get funded when
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this amendment specifically says it is funded upfront. the money is ahe want proked into the trust fund? that's what it says in the roughly 120 pages that constitute the new legislation in this amendment. number four -- myth number four: the amendment puts the american taxpayer on the hook for $38 billion. this one i covered i think pretty well just a minute ago. but additional information to make sure people understand, c.b.o. says the underlying immigration bill will redawes the -- will reduce the deficit by $190 billion in the first ten years and by $690 trillion in the--billion in the next decade. the total cost is about $38 billion. the base bill designates $8 billion to security measures
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bringing the total cost of security measures for the bill, as amended to a total of $46 billion. u.s. taxpayer will be more than made whole with the visa fees and by the $458 billion in additional tax revenue that results in the large deficit reduction. again, the point i made before -- by bringing illegals out of the shah dorks you generate the revenue which not only redueses the deficit but way more than pays to secure the border. americans want border security first. wries what this amendment is -- which is what this amendment is really about. myth number five: the new border patrol agents will never be hired or deployed? fact: the amendment mandates that 20,000 more border patrol agents be hired and deployed before individuals are eligible
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for a green card. let me radio he had that again. the amendment mandates that 20,000 more border patrol agents are hired and deployed before individuals are eligible for a green card. that's in addition to the almost 20,000 border patrol agents that are on the border now. that's a total of 40,000 border patrol agents on the border. i've heard some of our members talk about how they want 40,000 border patrol agents on the border. that's what this does, and it requires that it be done before green cards. all right myth number six: section 2302 says if you overstay your visa in the future, you can still apply for a green card and become a citizen. fact: that's just plain false. if a person overstays their visa a removal proceeding must be initiated unless they are in
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a special legal status, because they cannot return to their country due to conditions such as an environmental disaster or a humanitarian crisis. number simplifien -- myth: the are amendment is only about the border and is it does nothing to address the visa overstay issue. fact: visa overstays currently account for 40% of those unlawfully present in our country. this is an important issue. 40%. but the underlying bill improves the identification of overstays through a fully funded -- through a fully implemented entry-exit system. our amendment goes a step further by mandating the initiation of removal proceedings for at least 90% of visa overstays holding d.h.s. accountable. the amendment also requires extensive reporting to congress
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every six months to facilitate oversight of this important overstay issue. and, number eight -- myth: the 20,000 additional border patrol agents won't begin to be deployed in 2017. fact: under hoeven-corker the border patrol must deploy 20,000 additional agents before registered provisional immigrants can obtain a green card. the only reference in the bill to the year 2017, as it relates to the deployment of border security resources is to a mandate on d.h.s. that says the 3,500 customs and border patrol officers assigned to points of entry must be hired by 12013. must be in place. this is a positive provision that will ensure additional customs and border protection officers are in place as quickly as possible and in no way delays
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the employment of the additional 20,000 border patrol agents. there are other misperceptionsperceptions circulating regarding the legislation. that's why senator cork he and i put out a fact sheet to rebut them. we don't it as simply and straightforwardly as we can. we say okay, look ... they're sawing there's 1,200 new pages here. no, it is 120. and on we go down the list. so i hope people understand that we are trying to foster understanding. we want people to understand this. we are to the very best of our ability trying to approach this comprehensive immigration reform issue whaoebl the right way which is -- we believe the right way which is securing the border first. and we do it in as objective and verifiable way as we can.
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we ask our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us, to join us in rising up and meeting this incredible challenge that we face for the benefit of the american people in and the future of our country. thank you mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. i also note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president i ask the quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president i ask any quorum call time be equally divided on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: with that,
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mr. president, i observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. corker: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from tennessee is recognized. mr. corker: mr. president, i'd like to speak on the amendment at hand. my understanding is senator leahy has allowed me to use some of his time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. corker: mr. president i thank you. i'll be brief. i spoke at lengthier today on this amendment but i want to speak especially to my side of
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the aisle as it relates to this amendment. there's a lot of confusion over what's happening tonight. i want to make sure everybody understands. number one, we have a cloture vote this evening on the amendment. it's a border security amendment. it is not the cloture vote on the bill. there still will be the opportunity for additional amendments to be had assuming people consent. do i want to say the very -- i do want to say the very people who seem to be wanting amendments are the same people opposing amendments. i hope that will get worked out on the floor. tonight's vote is simply a cloture vote on an amendment that was offered on friday. and that's all it is. there will be another cloture vote. no one is giving up rights relative to this bill. secondly, this amendment that you're voting on is 119 pages long. now, because of the rules of construction here in the senate, this 119-page bill was added to
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the base text. that is the way we do things here. when an amendment touches various pieces of a bill. but this amendment is 119 pages long. it has been add to the base bill which makes the bill itself over 1,200 pages. but members of this body have had access to the base since may. it's been amended. people have been able to look at it. what i would say to people viewing in, 119 pages in legislative language is triple space on small pages and generally is about 25 to 30 pages in regular reading. i would just say a middle high school person in tennessee could read this amendment in about 30 to 45 minutes. i'm assuming staff could walk people through much more quickly if they wished or could go into much more detail. but the point is if it's not as if something has been dropped on people that is from outer space. this is 119 pages.
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it is easy to read. all of us could read it in a short amount of time. i'm sure people would want to spend more time than that. let me go back to what this amendment does. in the base bill right now it states that the head of homeland security would lay out a plan 180 days after passage of this legislation. and then ten years from now the same person -- might be a different person, but the head of homeland security would decide whether that plan has been implemented. many people on my side of the aisle view that as a little abstract and wanted to improve it. there have been numbers of measures offered on the floor. i voted for almost every single one of them to strengthen the border. it's been something republicans have championed for years. so what this amendment does is it would take away that base language just saying that the secretary of homeland security would make a plan and decide,
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you know what, put in place five very important measures. the first would be deploying training 20,000 border patrol agents. that's doubling the number of border patrol agents we have in the country something republicans have wanted for a long time. secondly spending $4.5 billion on technology, to create the kind of technology that gives us situational awareness on the border something again republicans have wanted for a long time. it adds 350 miles of fencing to the 350 miles we now have, creating 700 miles. we've had amendments to that effect and almost every republican voted for. that is a part of this amendment. puts in place an entry-exit visa program. again, people know that 40% of immigration issues we have in this country are because of visa overstays. this attempts to solve that by putting in place a very measurable trigger. and in addition to that, everify has to be fully in place.
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again, all five of those things have to be in place before workers transition, before people transition from a temporary status to a green card status. so if you vote for this amendment tonight you're voting to have those five tangible, measurable issues in place. let me talk about it. we've had a big debate over the trigger. by the way for what it's worth i understand the other side of the aisle's concerns about a trigger that it's subjective. that's what happens on the border right now. the border patrol agencies a cheeto bag literally and has to decide whether ten people that ate out of that bag and left it there or one. let's make a subjective guess. so the other side of the aisle said we don't want anything subjective like that. our side has wanted some tangible triggers. you know, i used to build shopping centers around the
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country. retail projects in 18 states. and when i completed the project, the whole community could see that it was done and i got paid. i would not have wanted a trigger that said did we meet 90% of the retail needs of the community? i built what was laid out and that's what this amendment does. it lays out five measurable triggers that people that have wanted border security for years have pressed for. the cost of it -- and i'm almost finished. a lot of people have said well, the cost of this is $46 billion over a ten-year period, and it is expensive. some of them are one-time costs. but as it relates to the overall bill not the amendment the bill states -- by the way these measures don't go in place unless the bill passes, but there is $197 billion in return over that ten years. now, i want to say to everybody in this body, i have never had the opportunity as a united states senator -- i have been here six and a half years -- to
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potentially be in a place to vote for something that spends $46 billion over ten years and generates $197 billion back to the treasury over ten years without raising anybody's taxes. i have never had that opportunity. i would imagine every private equity company every hedge fund in america would want to participate in that kind of ratio. so i'm going to close with this. the choice tonight is to vote cloture on amendment not on the bill an amendment that has been on the floor for 75 hours. everybody's had the opportunity to look at it, that takes away the idea that the homeland security person will put out a plan 180 days after we pass this bill and instead puts in place tangible measurable criteria, things that every american can see in place before persons transfer from a temporary status to a green card status.
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just for what it's worth governor brewer, who is the governor of arizona who probably knows more about border security than anybody in this body today came out and said that if we could pass this amendment as part of the immigration bill, it would be a tremendous victory for arizona a place that probably has more issues with border security than any state in the country. so i would just ask my republican colleagues why would anyone even consider voting against an amendment that puts in place very stringent border requirements in place of one that we have no idea what is going to take place. republicans have asked that congress weigh in. i don't know how congress could weigh in any more than spelling out what is going to happen. and to my friends on the other side of the aisle i would say to you to me this is something that allows you to know that once this process occurs, there is a tangible line in the sand
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that you can measure to know that we cannot move the goal post you cannot move the goal post and at the end of the day we end up with a balanced bill. i'll close with this. i know i said i would close a minute ago. i'm going to say one more thing. i look at what we're trying to accomplish in this bill, and i look at the people who have come across our border to work, to work. i know that many of them have created companies and been entrepreneurs and contributed in all kind of ways. many of them have just walked across to support their families. they raise our kids in many cases, they pick our crops they serve us in restaurants they build our homes they build our buildings. they do many other things. and to me, what people on both sides of the aisle that have done in trying to pass this amendment tonight is to put in
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place something that is tangible something that cannot be changed down the road and if this amendment is passed, even though there may be people who vote against the overall bill, voting for this amendment strengthens the bill such that if we pass it, we have a bill in my opinion that meets the test of the american people. we're securing the border, but we're allowing those people at the back of the line to have some pathway to continue to live the american dream the same things that we want for our sons and daughters all across our country. mr. president, i yield the floor and i thank you for the time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to also address this most recent backroom gang agreement the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment that we will be voting on in
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just a little while. now, this amendment is clearly filled with lots of sort of nice shiny objects to try to attract republican votes. it's clearly supposed to be about border security, but my fundamental concern mr. president, is simple. i believe this amendment is designed to pass the bill. i don't believe it's designed to truly fix the bill. and in that sense mr. president, i'm concerned this is a fig leaf border security amendment. again, all about passing the bill not truly fixing. mr. president, i say that for two simple reasons the two basic flaws in the underlying bill that this amendment does nothing to address. first of all the amendment as the bill is amnesty now enforcement later maybe and secondly on the enforcement piece which the authors of this
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amendment are arguing for so strenuously, there is no metric about actual effect, actual achievement. the only metric is spending money. well mr. president we all know the united states government, the federal government is great at spending money. it's never been better at spending money than under this current administration. but if that were all that mattered mr. president then we would have a rip-roaring economy with unprecedented growth. if that were all that mattered, then we would have the best educational system on the planet. if that were all that mattered, we would have solved problems like violent crime and many others but metric can't be spending money. the metric has to be achieving security achieving some reasonable level of border and
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workplace security. now, mr. president i'm also very very concerned about the backroom deal and the process that got us here. i think it's important for the american people to know exactly what happened in the last few weeks and in particular at the end of last week. about 350 amendments were filed to this bill, and they covered all sorts of topics certainly including every important enforcement matter. many of these amendments struck to the very core of the gang of eight compromise bill. as ranking member grassley has noted, the judiciary markup was an open process in which nearly all amendments were considered in a fair, decent manner. however, as mr. grassley also noted earlier today here on the floor it's a very different atmosphere and the fix
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apparently is in. we're seeing that here on the floor. the fix seems to be in another closed-door agreement loaded up with ideas that have been accepted for yes votes toen sure support of particular members. the amendment is 1,100 pages long longer, i believe than the original bill, and because of this development the full and fair floor amendment process has come to a grinding halt. now, mr. president that's exactly what's broken with the us senate -- u.s. senate. rather than doing people's business out in the open, with floor amendments, with debate, instead so-called masters of the universe have huddled together again behind closed doors to hammer out a secret agreement again, virtually cut off floor amendments and try to pass the
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bill. in 2007, the last time a major immigration bill came to the floor, we had 46 roll call votes on amendments. this time around, we've had only nine and now we have the prospect of cutting off the amendment process. nine out of 350 amendments filed, 2.5% of the filed amendments. again, mr. president, this is what's wrong in the eyes of the american people with congress, with the u.s. senate, and this is one of the things i came to change. i came to the u.s. senate to work developing, introducing legislation, working hard in the appropriate committees, voting, offering floor amendments, voting on those but these gang deals negotiated behind closed doors, particularly when they
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cut off and muffle the amendment process is not that sort of work. so again mr. president the masters of the universe have conspired among themselves, they have allowed certain members into that back negotiating room undoubtedly for the price of a yes vote, and worst of all this threatens to completely shut off the open, fair amendment process. mr. president, that's why this morning i co-authored a letter to senate majority leader reid with 13 of my colleagues addressing this very problem and in the letter we state clearly -- quote -- "we believe that there should be at a minimum the same number of roll call votes that's as in the 2007 debate on serious contested floor amendments on the gang of eight's immigration bill.
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this can clearly be accomplished this week with a little leadership and coordination through one or more compact series of ten-minute votes with senators seated at their desks. and continuing with the letter, we say -- quote -- "further, we will give our consent to any reasonable consent requests if this is assured. this would specifically include replacing the one or two cloture votes and one final passage vote on the bill with one final passage vote with the 60-vote threshold late thursday, as well as clearing all truly nine controversial amendments." close quote. so mr. president i hope all members of this body look carefully at this bill we're going to vote on regarding cloture in about an hour. i hope all of us look hard at the details and recognize that it does not change the core fundamental flaws of the underlying bill. still, as in the underlying
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bill the amnesty is first virtually immediately. the enforcement is later maybe. and as in the underlying bill, there is no true metric of effectiveness, of enforcement bearing fruit. there is simply the metric of spending money which the federal government can do very effectively. surely any federal government particularly under the obama administration will pass that test with flying colors. the american people don't want amnesty first. they want enforcement first. the american people don't have as a test of enforcement spending money. they have the same tests that they have for important issues and challenges around their kitchen table and at their place of small business, results actual results. we should use those same tests.
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we should use that same approach. the american people get it. why can't we? and the american people also get the very, very closed backroom deal nature of the process that's going on here. they want us to work. they want us to debate. they want us to propose they want us to vote here out in the open not certain masters of the universe coming up with gang deals outside of here and then shutting down a full, open, free amendment process. it's not too late, mr. president. it's not too late to look clearly at this amendment and vote no. it's not too late to have an open amendment process here on the floor this week, and i urge all of my colleagues, democrats and republicans to do just that. with that, mr. president i
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yield back the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i want to make some observations here. i know several of my other colleagues will continue to pursue their views on the floor, but, you know, i didn't really intend when i was asked to sit in for senator leahy for a while to say anything, but you know, just some things cannot go unresponded to. heard a lot about the 2007 bill that -- how that process took place, but what is failed to mention is that the 2007 bill did not go through the judiciary committee. it went straight to the floor. now, this bill in addition to the time it was out there when
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the gang of eight proposed it, went through weeks -- weeks -- of the judiciary committee going through its process. 140 amendments were heard and adopted. many of them republican and most of them bipartisan. so there are 140 changes made to this legislation through the regular order process. so there's a fundamental difference between 2007 and this legislation. there's another fundamental difference. and that is that for the two weeks that this bill has been on the senate floor republicans on a series of offers oppose allowing amendments to go forward, including amendments of their own republican colleagues. why? because they believe that the
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amendments being offered by some of their republican colleagues would make the bill more acceptable to members on their side of the aisle so instead of allowing their own colleagues to have amendments and have their say they oppose unanimous consent agreements to move forward because they didn't want their colleagues to have an opportunity to have that amendment and maybe if that amendment was adopted then find a way to vote for this bill. that's pretty outrageous. pretty outrageous. and then to come to the floor and suggest that there has been an impediment over these last two weeks to being able to consider a variety of amendments when they themselves have opposed the amendments, including from their colleagues on their side of the aisle. now, mr. leahy: would the senator yield? mr. menendez: i'd be happy to yield to the distinguished chairman of the judiciary
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committee. mr. leahy: the senator is probably aware of the fact that we have a large number of amendments that would be -- with both republicans and democrats on it, and we suggested that they're all acceptable could probably be adopted by a voice vote, both these republican and democratic amendments but that's been rejected by the other side. is the senator aware of that? mr. menendez: i am aware of that. i heard the distinguished chairman make that offer on various times and heard it rejected on various times. mr. leahy: i might ask the question because the distinguished presiding officer for example has an amendment on there involving women that would be easily accepted, but we can't get that agreement the senator has been here a long time in both bodies if my recollection is correct, at least in the past when you had a group like that, both sides
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would come together and accept them. is that the normal practice? mr. menendez: the senator is right. when there is a series of amendments that would improve the bill and are agreed to by both sides of the aisle and, in fact are noncontroversial, it has been i think the regular order to get those amendments disposed of and on its way. mr. leahy: i appreciate, madam president, the senator from new jersey has the floor but i appreciate him coming forward and stating this because nobody nobody in this body of either party has worked harder or more diligently in the senate -- than the senator from new jersey on comprehensive immigration reform. and i'll just hope we'll reach that. mr. menendez: i thank the gentleman. the reality is that this is a different process. i know that there are allusions to this amendment is 1,100 pages
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long. we all know that this amendment only took the underlying bill and added the amendment to the underlying bill. so to suggest that there's a new 1,100 pages here is disingenuous. it is not the case. so everybody's known what this amendment is about the underlying bill has been on the floor for two weeks before that it came out of the judiciary committee. i think everybody knew what it was. i think it is not fair to have the american people believe that somehow this legislation just came on the desks of senators and they're voting in the blind. now, i find it interesting, you know i've listened over the years here, the seven years i've been here and before that in the other body, in the house of representatives and then i hear those who want a fence a fence is a significant part of the solution to the question of border security, and yet here
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we go, there is nearly 700 miles of fencing in this legislation by virtue of this amendment that will be considered and oh, no, no, no we don't want a fence. then we've heard that having greater border patrol agents at the border would dramatically help us achieve border security. well this amendment doubles -- doubles -- the amount of border patrol agents at the border, it brings it from about 21,000 to 40,000 41,000 border patrol agents over the course of this legislation, and now we're hearing that's just wasting money. well what is your plan? because every time i've heard -- i've heard all of these things, that this amendment includes as part of your plan had the past. but because it isn't your amendment, even though it is offered by members on your side
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of the aisle including from border states, suddenly it's not acceptable. suddenly it's not acceptable. there is the suggestion that there is somehow a backroom deal. i see this amendment as the personification of what the american people are trying to see this body do, which is republicans and democrats from different parts of the country from different ideological views coming together in order to compromise in this case to seek a very strong compromise on border security, as part of a comprehensive immigration reform legislation. which in poll after poll across party spectrum has been sought by the people in this country. that's the very essence of what this amendment is all about. so if you bemoan the lack of
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bipartisanship you shouldn't be bemoaning this amendment because this amendment is, in fact the essence of that bipartisanship and moves us in a direction on border security that i really don't believe has existed in any legislative proposal that has come before the senate. this is an incredible movement towards border security, and it becomes one of several triggers and what we mean by a trigger, a condition precedent that we believe these condition precedents can be met because at the end of the day we want to achieve greater security for our country both at the border and entrance-exit visa issues prntiond interior verification, workplace verification by the everify system, all of these elements are in the legislation, all of them. and many of them are enhanced so that we can get to where we
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want. now, the problem is that there are colleagues here who if ten angels came swearing from above in the heavens that this is the best legislation to secure the nation to promote its economic opportunity, to make sure that we have and preserve family reunification as a core value that we have the future flows of workers so that we can deal with the abilities of different sectors of our economy to have the human capital like the high-tech industry to be able to produce that human capital so america can continue to be at the apex of global competitiveness, they would say no those angels lie because we will never satisfy those individuals. and i respect their right to have that view. but to suggest that it is the process when really what you want to see is no comprehensive
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immigration reform i think one should say what you really believe. so that is what's before us. finally, you know, on a series of issues that have been raised here, you know, for example on waivers, you know, the reality is the limited waivers here don't give anyone a free pass or take away the government's ability to say no to any given individual. they do not grant unlimited discretion to decisionmakers. decisionmakers would not be able to exercise discretion in cases involving immigrants 30 have multiple criminal convictions or committed particularly serious offenses or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. these restrictions by way of example, apply to terrorists, gang participants, drug traffickers, human traffickers, money launders are, unlawful voters and just
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to name a few. just to name a few. so i think that there is a mischaracterization in order to create the fear. and finally this question that no matter what, no matter what is done in this bill, no matter how many enforcement provisions exist, interior enforcement entrance-exit visa requirements and systems to check who comes in the country make sure they exit and there's a followup, the everify system which means that everybody in the country when they go for a job now they're going to have to go through a system to make sure they in fact have the right to work in this country. all of the border patrol agents all of the fencing despite all of that, there are those -- and that the individual who is undocumented in the country will have to wait a decade -- a decade -- before they will even have the opportunity to adjust their status to permanent residency
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assuming as the legislation calls for that all of these elements that i've just talked about are in place are in place. some suggest that that's amnesty -- amnesty means you do something wrong and you get forgiven but you have to do nothing to be forgiven. you just get forgiven. this is not amnesty. these individuals have to come forth. they have to register with the government which is incredibly important because i can't secure america unless i know who is here to pursue the american dream versus who might be here to do it harm. and you have millions of peoples in the shadows undocumented, in this country you don't know what their purpose is. and then after they come forth and register with the government they've got to go through a criminal background check and if they fail it, they get deported. if they pass it, then they get a temporary opportunity to stay here with a permit to work and
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visit their families, and they have to earn their way pay their taxes learn english after the course of a decade and then finally after a course of a decade finally be eligible when all these conditions have been met. that's not amnesty. that's earned, earned opportunity towards legalizing your status in this country. so this is what poll after poll of americans say they want to see a fix of this broken immigration system. for some of my friends there will never be a fix sufficient for their view, and for some of my friends it's very clear that they do not support any pathway to citizenship under any set of circumstances. that is a view that they have a right to hold but it is a view not supported by the american people, it is a view that does not honor our nation as a history of immigrants, it is a view that has created enormous
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problems in europe because immigrants in those respective countries never find a way to earn their way to become a citizen of that country and you see the unrest in those countries. we don't want that here in america. i intend to vote for the cloture for the bipartisan amendment. it does a lot of things that i think in many respects go way beyond what i contemplated but is the essence of compromise, it is the essence of moving forward, it is the essence of solving a problem that has investment us way too -- vexed us way too long. it is an opportunity to fix our broken immigration system and i urge my colleagues to vote and be not only on the right side of what is necessary for the country but to be on the right side of history. with that, madam president i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president there is first a matter of fairness when it comes to
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offering suggestions to amend legislation that's on the floor, and under the ordinary practices and procedures of the united states senate, the majority and the minority have an opportunity to offer amendments to modify the underlying bill. but on a subject as important and as fundamental to who we are as a country and to our country's future as immigration reform there have been nine amendments voted on on this bill in the last two weeks. nine amendments. to listen to our colleagues on the -- in the majority who are happy with the underlying bill because they wrote it they act like we've had a fullsome opportunity to offer amendments. but we have been willing to have votes so long as we get votes on our amendments. it's not just the majority that has the opportunity to modify
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the underlying legislation and to debate it. the my in order has rights too. and our side wants a right to choose our own amendments not to have the majority leader choose which of our amendments he's going to dane to allow debate and votes on. that's not democracy. that's not the united states senate. that's a dictatorship. we will not allow the majority to tell us which of our amendments will be allowed to be considered. we can have votes on any amendments the other side wants to vote on. we're ready and we have been all along. so it's not true to say that the minority has been blocking amendments to this bill. that makes no sense whatsoever. the majority got to write the bill. so the minority has got all the incentives to offer amendments. so why in the world would we block our own amendments but for
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the fact that the majority leader wants to choose which of those amendments he will somehow allow us to offer? makes no sense whatsoever. madam president, i've heard some suggest that this is a minor vote we're going to have at 5:30 that there's just minor modifications to the underlying bill. this is the amendment we will vote on that was released i believe late friday evening that we have been pouring over line by detail ever since. this is not a minor matter. this is a serious amendment. the schumer-corker-hoeven amendment that makes enormous changes in the underlying bill. and i want to talk about some of those. now, back when this underlying bill was proffered the framework for it was proffered by the so-called gang of eight
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senator durbin, the distinguished majority whip from illinois said in january 2013, "a pathway to citizen needs to be contingent upon securing the border." that was the bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform january 2013. six months later we find a different story. he said, the gang has "delinked the pathway to citizenship and border enforcement." he was quote in the "national journal" on june the 11th, 2013. he's not suggested since that time that that was taken out of context or a misquote. but what it -- what it demonstrates is how far we've come from what was promised six months ago and what is now being delivered. you know, i believe that the american people are enormously generous and compassionate and
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there are circumstances under which the majority of americans would say we believe that people who have entered our country without complying with our immigration laws or who have entered legally and overstayed, the so-called visa overstays, we believe that they are -- they should get a second chance. but not by demanding a pathway to citizenship and delinking it from border security and other important measures that will make sure that we don't repeat the mistakes of 1986, when ronald reagan signed an amnesty for 3 million people. american people were told, this will never happen again because we're going to enforce the law this time. well, it didn't happen and the american people are justifiably skeptical as to whether it will happen again particularly when this sort of sleight of hand takes place where you're told in january the pathway to
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citizenship is contingent upon securing the border only to find out six months later that it has been delinked. well if congress can't keep a six-month-old promise it's not going to be able to keep any of the other promises contained in this amendment. well for starters, this underlying bill relies on the same sort of budgetary gimmicks that were used to pass the affordable care act now known colloquially as obamacare. we've been told that the -- in the underlying bill that it reduces the federal deficit by $197 billion over ten years. i've even heard some of my republican colleagues cite that, as if this was somehow free money. hey, we can spend this money because the underlying bill reduces the federal deficit by
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$$197 billion. but the congressional budget office madam president has pointed out that the only way you can view that as sort of free money which is an oxymoron if there ever was one is by double counting the $211 billion in off-budget revenue that will be needed to fund social security. social security for the newly legalized immigrants. in other words, this is money they're going to pay in to social security that they're eventually going to take out. and to act like you can use it to pay their social security benefits and at the same time use it to fund this bill is double counting. that's a budget gimmick. that's the same sort of gimmickry that's gotten us in $17 trillion in debt and it's perpetuated under this bill. if we were to use real-world
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accounting the same sort of accounting every family every small business in america has to use -- they can't double count the money; they've got to use real hard numbers -- if you use the same sort of accounting that families and small businesses across america have to use day in and day out you'll find that the underlying bill actually increases the budget deficit by more than $14 billion over the next decade. so that's spending more money we don't have adding to our annual deficit adding to our national debt putting us further and further in the hole when it comes to our fiscal condition. well one of the other problems is that even since the congressional budget office looked at the underlying bill we don't yet have an official cost estimate from the congressional budget office for this bill that was basically
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rewrote the entire underlying bill. we still don't have an official budget estimate from the congressional budget office. and we don't know when that is likely to come. yet we're going to be required by the majority leader, because he's the one that sets the schedule here by virtue of being the majority leader, we're going to be required to vote on a -- on a cloture motion at 5:30 this evening in about an hour. before we even frn the official score keeper or the congress and the federal government exactly how much this costs what the assumptions are and whether we're still going to be looking at double counting the revenue that we're -- that's coming in and looking to that to pay for the costs of this bill at the same time we're going to have to pay it out in benefits, double counting. we don't know whether that
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continues under this bill but i dare guess that it will. now, some of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle had previously expressed real consternation at double counting back when obamacare was passed and back during the 2009 stimulus package. some of them issued press releases called -- saying you can't spend the same money twice twice. and yet today here we go again. that's another reason i'm so concerned about where we find ourselves being jammed into voting on this piece of legislation without an official score of the congressional budget office before i dare say every member has had a chance to read it and understand it and when it relies on double counting and other gimmicks that have gotten us in $17 trillion in debt.
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i also worry that my colleagues who support this particular amendment while i stipulate to their good intentions, their approach is one based solely on throwing more money at the problem without having any plan or strategy or any real mechanism for ensuring that that money is spent sensibly and it accomplishes the stated goal. last week some of my colleagues gave me a hard time because i offered an amendment which would raise the number of border patrol by 5,000. they said, we can't afford it. the underlying bill has zero new border patrol. my amendment offered 5,000 additional boots on the ground. they said, we can't afford it. that's a ridiculous suggestion.
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well imagine my surprise when this amendment that was filed so recently calls for 20,000 border patrol agents, a fourfold increase. even though experts across the political spectrum have said that doubling the size of the border patrol in and of itself while it may provide some political fig leaf for voting for this bill it does not and will not solve the problem. i'd like to know, for example where did that number come from? how did my colleagues turn on a dime from saying we need zero additional border patrol to saying that 5,000 was a ridiculous suggestion and now saying 20,000 is exactly right? what expert at what hearing was the testimony offered to self support that sort of expense and that sort of approach? well don't just take my word for it. there was a story in the
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"arizona republic" dated june the 22nd quoting a number of experts on immigration and border security doris meisner who used to head the immigration and naturalization service the predecessor to the department of homeland security she called the approach in this amendment "detached from reality on the ground. "she said, it's "detached from reality on the ground," and said it would make more sense to invest in creating "a modern 21st-century border" which includes enforcement but also trade and travel and facilitating crossing and reducing waiting time." now, that makes more sense to me because part of the underlying premise of the bill was to create a legal way for people to come and work and to emigrate to the united states and then to allow law enforcement to focus
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on the criminality the drug traffickers, the human traffickers and other people engaged in illegal conduct. miss meisner appears to be saying that that makes a lot of sense when it comes to a modern 21st-century border. others have said -- other experts have said in the same -- quoted in the same article, in the "arizona republic" june 22, adam isaacson said, "there may be more room for some agents but not for 20,000." john whitley said, "we should look at what we're trying to achieve -- at the outputs instead of the inputs." in other words, what this approach does is says, we're going to look at all this equipment we can buy the technology we can deploy, the boots on the ground but we're going to turn a blind aye to the outputs or goals that we're presumably trying to achieve. mr. whitley seems to agree with that.
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he said, "we should look at what we're trying to achieve at the outputs instead of the inputs. otherwise, seven years from now we'll be sitting around and saying we don't know which bits work and which bits are wasteful." i know some of our distinguished colleagues on the other side of the aisle senator leahy, for example, the -- who's managing the bill for the majority, chairman of the judiciary committee, he said, it looks like a laundry list for defense contractors. i think i'm paraphrasing correctly. but he said, if that's that's what it's going to take to get them to vote the bill, then i'm for it, i'm going to support it. but once again the underlying bill puts symbolism over substance and they're hoping the american people won't notice. as i've said repeatedly madam president, the so-called border security triggers in the underlying bill are sheer fantasy and wishful thinking
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because they're activated by promises of more money and more promises than they are on actual results. and i am afraid the underlying schumer-hoeven-corker amendment does mog to change that. -- does nothing to change that. here's a comparison of the approach under the underlying gang of eight proposal, the corker-hoeven-schumer amendment and an amendment that i offered last week, which was tabled. so all of them -- in the first two we have a question of, is operational control of the border required? and the gang of eight bill, no; the -- this amendment, there is no requirement; under the amendment i offered last week, you would not be able to transition from transition probational
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status. it underlying all the incentives for everybody involved in this discussion whether democratic, republican conservative, liberal, whatever. it would have realigned all of the incentives to make sure we hit the target of the operational control of the border. 100% situational awareness required. neither under the gang of eight bill under this amendment. there would have been under the amendment i offered last week. a biometric exit trigger none under the gang of eight none under this amendment. here's one of the best and most obvious reasons why people don't trust promises of future performance when it comes to congress: because 17 years ago bill clinton signed in to law a requirement for a biometric entry-exit system. biometric is a big word t could mean just fingerprints, it could even an iris or facial
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recognition, but something you can't cheat on because it depends on a bodily characteristic this cannot that cannot be changed like your fingerprints. 17-year-old president clinton signed into law congress passed a biometric entry-exit system and it still haven't been implemented. while people think that illegal immigration is caused by people entering across our borders the fact of the matter is that 40% of i illegal immigration owe -- occurs because people come in legally and overstay their visa. unless they commit a crime or otherwise come in contact with law enforcement we never find them again. well here's the other problem in the underlying bill. the very same official, janet napolitano the secretary of the
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department of homeland security, even if these requirements were -- required results rather than promises of performance unfortunately, under the underlying bill and now again in this amendment we're going to vote on at 5:30 today she has the unilateral discretion and authority to waive all those requirements. this is the same person who said the border is secure, even though the general accounting office said in 2011, only 45% of the border was under operational control. she may well be the only person in america -- the only person in america -- who believes the border is under control because it did demonstrably is not. yet she is given the authority to waive the requirements that we will vote on at 5:30. and then there's this. under this underlying bill, you
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can beat your spouse or your partner, you can drive drunk and threaten the life and livelihood of american citizens, and you can still qualify for r.p.i. status and get on a pathway to citizenship. as a matter of fact, under this underlying bill, you can actually have already been deported and commit a misdemeanor and still be eligible to reenter the country and become a beneficiary of r.p.i. status and eventually on a pathway to citizenship. now, that's -- that's a terrible mistake. i don't know anybody who believes that we ought to be taking people who have shown such contempt for the rule of law and that health and safety and welfare of the american people and saying, you know what? we're -- in the generosity of 0 you are heart we're going to give you within of the greatest gifts anybody could get; that
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is an opportunity to become an american citizen. i would hope that most of us in this chamber would agree that immigrants with multiple drunk driving or domestic violence convictions should never be eligible for legalization, especially after they've already been deported cht and yet the underlying bill, the so-called gang of eight bill and the schumer-hoeven-corker amendment grant immediate legal status to criminals, including those already deported, as i said, and including those people who've been -- who've committed domestic violence, even with a deadly weapon. i still can't quite get my mind around that, but it is true. now, our standards when it comes to granting legal status to people who've come into our country in violation of our immigration laws and who -- or come in legally and overstrayed they should be crystal clear. we should differentiate between
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people who have made a mistake and are willing to pay for it, pay a fine, be put on probation and successfully complete that probarricks we should make a -- that probation, we should make a clear defense between that and people who have shown such contempt for our laws as they've engaged in aer who have drunk driving or domestic violence. they should be automatically disqualified. and i find it remarkable that we're debating this in the first place. madam president a few feign final points. we're going to be asked to vote on legislation that was crafted behind closed doors with no chance for amendments. and, as a matter of fact, i believe that once the majority leader gets cloture on this amendment that we will have virtually no other opportunities to offer any additional amendments and get votes on those amendments, after only having votes on nine amendments so far.
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that's an outrage. we're going to be asked to vote on legislation filled with special interest goodies with earmarks and pet spending projects and we still don't have an official cost estimate by the congressional budget office. we're being asked to vote for legislation that will continue the three-decade pattern of broken promises on border security. in short we're being asked to vote for more of the same. now, i know my good friend from tennessee, for example senator corker who's been one of the best new additions to the united states senate -- he's got remarkable knowledge and experience and great enthusiasm, and he asked me, he said, what more do you want than 20,000 border control agents and a commitment to spend all these billions of dollars on new equipment? what more could you possibly want? and my answer to that is, well, we'd like to know that the
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promises we're making in terms of border security, interior enforcement and visa overstays are going to be kept. because otherwise all we will have is 11 million people granted probationary status with the potential eventually to earn legal permanent rein denicy and american citizenship. and those people who might be willing to consider that sort of arrangement, if they had a guarantee that we would not be back here doing this same thing again in five years or ten years, are going to have nothing but a bunch of broken proms to show for it. for me it is a very sad episode in a very important senate debate that has huge ramifications for the future of our country. at the start of this debate i had high hopes that the gang of eight were serious about keeping their promises and delivering real bipartisan immigration reform that could pass the house of representatives. but now i see that it's just the same old beltway sofng and
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dance. what a -- the same old beltway song and dance. what a shame. what a lost opportunity that is. now i believe that all eyes and the attention will turn to the house of representatives where i hope the house of representatives will take a more careful step-by-step approach in addressing our broken immigration system. a understand my hope is is that ultimately we'll goat a conference committee that will fix the underlying approach and problems in this amendment and bill and will allow us to successfully allow us to address our broken immigration system that serves no one's best interest. i am not one be, madam president, that believes that "no" should be the final answer when it comes to our broken immigration system. i actually believe we need to fix it and we need an immigration system that reflects our values and reflects the needs of our growing economy and a globally competitive environment. but this bill is not it. the promises that are so readily
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made today there'll be no way to enforce those promises in the future. notwithstanding the best intentions of the people who offered this amendment many of us won't be here ten years from now. we know that no congress can bind a future congress, no president can bind a future president, ans if we're depending for the next three and a half years for nap appear nap the secretary of the -- for janet napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, and president obama to enforce the mechanisms in this bill, i am a afraid we are going to be sorely disappointed cht and can we say -- how can we possibly know what the next president angz future congresses will ultimately do? that's why it's so critical if we're going to keep faith with the american people that we have a mechanism in this bill which will force all of us across the political spectrum to do everything we possibly can to make sure those promises are kept. and it is not in this amendment. madam president i yield the floor.
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mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: thank you. i appreciate my colleague from texas and his earnest desire to solve the problems in front of us. i would say at the outset, the recognition over the last eight and a half, nine years of become in the senate is that we have a problem wind to solve and -- that we need to solve and i don't think anybody disagrees with that. i think there's two important points that the american people expect us to pay attention to. one is what reagan described as the shiny city on a hill and that people coming here make us better. there's no question about that. and that what he described was -- what he wanted was in 1986
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was not all walls like single payer people wants and not all doors, like some people wanted, but a wall with doors. so there's two basic facts that confront us. one is that the rule of law is the glue that holds us together, and when we hear talk about the american people having confidence on whether or not we're going to enforce the rule of larks whether it is on immigration or any other thing the very fact is that that fabric that is holding this nation together is being stretched very thin right now. the last thing we should do in an immigration bill is to stretch that fabric further in terms of the confidence of the american people in terms of the rule of law. and this bill and this amendment is full of holes as far as the
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rule of law is considered all throughout. my colleague from texas outlined some of that. he also outlined the capability of waiving the waiving the border fence waiving the requirements for r.p.i. status. it's all written but it's written so that the secretary of homeland security can waive almost every portion of it. so that's not the rule of law. that's the rule of rulerrers. and whatever the rulers decide. one of my great disappointments in the senate is that we too often don't follow regular order. so this bill was put together,ence with through the judiciary committee. but not once did it come through homeland security. homeland security where border patrol where i.c.e., or usis, or all the implementation of
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anything that's in this bill will take place -- oh, and by the way all the knowledge all the experience of all the members on that committee for the last 10 or 12 years with the exception of senator mccain was not utilized and put in this bill together. so what we have is some very good effort and well-intentioned effort by a lot of people. let me just outline where they got it wrong. and i will ask permission in a little bit -- actually, i will a skee it right now. the national association of former border patrol officers, a letter denying the fact that we need 20,000 additional border patrol. here's the people who know. how stupid is this? what we're doing is we're throwing money hoping it'll stick on a wall and hoping we can convince our colleagues that we've got a border security plan when in fact there's no border security plan in the united
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states today. and how do i know? because two weeks ago i had breakfast with secretary napolitano and i asked her. she said she would send a sector-by-sector border plan for the united states. i got a two-page letter that had nothing on it. this isn't a new border plan. this isn't a specific border plan. the country doesn't have one right tpou. so we've put together outside of the regular order well-intentioned people trying to solve a problem to ensure the american people that in fact we're going to secure our borders. now, i will readily admit to you that if i lived in the poverty of some of the central american nations that i would make every effort on my part to get here legally or illegally. because the opportunity is here. that opportunity to improve yourself that opportunity to work hard, that opportunity to live in a nation that has a
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justice system where the rule of law reigns supreme. the very irony of the fact that if i were from one of the central american countries and came here, the very irony of it would be the fact that i'm going to break the law that's going -- that is the very nurturing thing that gives the opportunity for me to advance for me and my family. i'd ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the letter of the national association of former border patrol officers. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: now what has senator cornyn outlined that does not fit with common sense? he said that people who commit three misdemeanors, whether it
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be child abuse or spousal abuse or drunk driving shouldn't be given an r.p.i. status. yet, under this bill you can do that. those that are not familiar with courts of law it's on the date. if you got two on one date, that only counts as one. theoretically you can have 10 or 12 misdemeanors and still qualify for r.p.i. status. how does that fit with the rule of law? how does that fit with the glue that holds us together? what that does is flaunt the rule of law. the other thing that i think is very problematic in this bill is we have 20,000 border patrol agents but no increase in i.c.e. agents no increase in uscis which are the very people that are going to have to handle the 11 million people who are going to progress to r.p.i. status. where's the money to handle 11 million people, additional
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people for i.c.e. and uscis? it's not in there. if in fact we want the rule of law to work, then we want the people who qualify under this bill for r.p.i. status to do so under the rule of law which means you have to investigate and do a background check and make sure that the documentation establishing them being here before december 31 of 2011, that in fact they do have residence here that they have worked here. and that has to be worked on. that can't just be a blanket because the opportunists to take advantage of that system, if in fact there is no i.c.e. agents and no uscis agents to actually handle that means that everything that's been set up in this bill will just happen without an investigation without knowledge that it's a
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true and in fact people qualify for r.p.i. status. the other side of the bill that senator cornyn made a point about, which i would like to expand upon, is the fact that we are not going to have an entry and exit visa system because 80% of the people go through the land ports in this bill exempts some land ports totally from that. you heard senator cornyn talk about 40%, maybe 50% of the people who are here illegally today came here legally. they came here legally with a visa. they qualified for a visa and they've overstayed their visa. well if in fact we have no internal enforcement no i.c.e. agents to enforce the visa overstays, we won't change that. the c.b.o. even said you're
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going to have 7.5 million new illegals come across undocumented come across under this bill. and if you have no internal enforcement, there's no way to drive that number down. and yet this bill puts the resources in the wrong place. you control a border by controlling the border based on what the situation is on the border depending on location, geography, topography and access. so throwing 41,000 border patrol agents across our southern border might work, but it's a tremendous waste of resources. it might be a jobs program. but the fact is it takes a combination of technology, fencing, border patrol and the right combination for wherever
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we're talking about to be effective in operational control of the border. but we're -- that's not even a part of the bill. it's not part of the bill to have operational control of the border with 90% effective rate. and one of the reasons that we can't get there, which is one of the reasons -- one of the things that americans would like to see as promised in this bill is because our control of the border today is somewhere between 40% and 65%. that's the opposite of what the secretary of homeland security will tell you. but that's what the studies outside of government say when they go to interview those undocumented workers that are here today. and they did a very thorough analysis of that and said we're somewhere between 40% and 65%. so the basis of allowing
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undocumented workers and those that are in our country who can contribute greatly to our country, the basis of putting them on some type of status to move towards a green card status and ultimately citizenship has to be based on some real facts. now, why would somebody not agree to 90% control of the border? the only reason they would not agree to it is they don't think it's achievable. and the only reason it's not achievable because we don't have the political will to do it. it is technically achievable. you can't get to 100%, but you can easily, with good leadership good sector-by-sector planning, good internal enforcement and great legal immigration so you decrease the illegal, we could get there.
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now why is that not part of this bill? it's because the rule of law does not reign supreme in the u.s. senate. let me make a couple of other points. one of the big holes in this bill in section 1202 grants the secretary, it says the following: the secretary shall initiate removal proceedings in accordance of chapter 4 title 2 of the immigration national gnashty act 8u.s.c. 1221, confirmed immigration relief has been granted or pending or close to 90% of the immigrants who were admitted to the united states as nonimmigrants, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." all that means she can waive the requirements under the bill.
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she can waive the fence. all throughout this bill we're letting a nonelected individual with power to undermine every aspect of any tooth in this bill. you know, when the immigration debate started my hope was that we would do the principle that most americans want us to do, which is we need to solve the problem of the undocumented in this country. we need to bring them out of the shadows. but the price to do that is cogent and realistic control of our borders. and let me make a point. if in fact you don't have cogent and realistic control of your borders and do everything else in this bill and everything works as the authors want it to
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work guess who's going to be coming across the border? the very people we actually don't want here. the drug runners the human smugglers, the criminals the terrorists. so when i say 90% operational control of the border and i'm in oklahoma, people look at me and they are askance. they say well, that means 10% of the people are still coming. and guess what makes up that 10%. the worst of what tries to get in to this country. so it's not just about getting a border security plan to secure the border. it is about limiting the access of criminals terrorists and the worst from coming in to our country. this bill is going to allow that to continue.
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it's not going to stop that. it will continue. and the only way -- and i think senator cornyn's point, what you need is to take this out of the political arena. we need to make it so that the pressure is that we do what's best for america. and one of the things that's best for america is having a lot more people come here and contribute to our melting pot. there's no question about that. but we have to have it to where it cannot be manipulated by whoever is in charge for political benefit. and that's why the cornyn plan really is novel in terms of actually solving the problem. i'm not going to be here much longer less than three and a half years. but i can already predict what's going to happen if this piece of legislation comes through.
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my daughters and their husbands 15 years from now are going to be listening to the same debate on the senate floor. the biggest deficit that the senate has in my mind, is failure to put teeth into things they know will actually fix the problems in this country. this bill has no teeth. this bill has $48 billion thrown up against the wall to buy the votes to say we're going to have a secure border when in fact we're not. it doesn't mean we can't get a secure border. i worked for two weeks with my staff. i told senator schumer from new york i'd love to try to do that, but in two weeks you can't do it. what you've done, you haven't done it either. and you've done it from a deficit of knowledge rather than using knowledge. you didn't use any of the significant historical staff on the committee of jurisdiction to
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help write this legislation. the institutional knowledge is not in it. it will not succeed. i don't know ultimately how a vote on this amendment but i'm certainly not going to sroed proceed to this until we've had a chance, nor than 72 hours to work through and be able to ascertain and also share the flaws in the approach. for a third that amount of money you could easily secure the border. we're going to spend $48 billion, and in there is another jobs program adding to the 102 we have now at $1.53. g.a.o. has already said we need to redo our jobs program. we have. we have an earmark for another youth jobs program and we won't even fix the youth jobs programs
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we have now. madam chair woman -- madam president, i've been handed a note that others want to speak and so i will yield the floor at this time. mr. schumer: madam chair, what is the status in terms of time that's left for each side? the presiding officer: the proponents of the measure retain 25 minutes. opponents have 7 minutes. mr. schumer: thank you. thank you madam president. and i just want to rise in strong support of the corker-hoeven amendment. i have listened carefully to those who are opposed, who have come to the floor today and friday, and i've come to one conclusion. they just won't take "yes" for an answer. they just won't take "yes" for an answer. most of the criticism that's
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come at this amendment is it does too much for the border. even some of my colleagues who are opposed say it does too much even though they propose similar things themselves. my good friend from texas says we don't need more border agents but had proposed some himself. my good friend from texas also said well, we really need technology but there was no technology in his bill. and my dear friend, senator coburn who i very much like and admire first says we need money for i.c.e. agents, not border patrol but i.c.e. is funded to deport about 400,000 people a year. well most of the 11 million will become citizens and not be deported. we have more than enough i.c.e. agents to deal with the much smaller number who are going to be here illegally certainly in the beginning and i think throughout the bill. dr. coburn said we don't


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