tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 27, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT
the presiding officer: any senator in the chamber wishing to change his or her vote? if not, the ayes are 100, the nays are zero, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is made and laid on the table. the majority leader. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid on the
table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions, and the senate will resume legislative session. under the previous order, pending amendments 1552 and 1553 are withdrawn, and the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: thank you, madam president. the pending business is the committee-reported substitute amendment, with all postcloture time having expired. is that right? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. reid: i raise a point of order that the reed of rhode island amendment is no longer due to be adopted. the presiding officer: the point of order is well taken. the amendment falls. mr. reid: i raise a point of order that the cruz amendment is no longer in order. the presiding officer: the point of order is well taken. the amendment falls. mr. reid: i raise a point of order that the boxer amendment is also no longer in order. the presiding officer: the point of order is well taken. the amendment falls.
mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the next two votes be ten minutes in duration. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: madam president, during these votes, we're going to try to work out a time to finish our work today. as i mentioned earlier today, whenever the final vote is, whether it's tomorrow afternoon or if we can work something out today, whenever that is, i want everyone to be here a few minutes before the final time expires so we can start the vote. the vote will not start until senators are in their assigned seats. if they're not here, we'll have a live quorum, and all that will do is slow things up. but we're going to do that. this legislation has been worked on for many, many years. we have people who believe strongly in this legislation and people who don't. it's a very important piece of legislation. it's historic in nature. we should be here to vote, and we're going to be here to vote
in our chairs. we don't have a time worked out yet. we're going to do our best. we have to -- yes, as my friend, the ranking member said, we'd like it sooner rather than later. but we can't get that unless everybody agrees to a time. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired, and the question occurs on adoption of the committee-reported substitute as amended. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their votes? if not, the yeas are 68, the nays are 32. the committee-reported amendment, as amended, is agreed to. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 s. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense
the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 68 and the nays are 32. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the majority leader. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that at 4:00 p.m. today all postcloture time be considered expired, the bill as amended be read a third time and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended, the time until 4:00 p.m. be equally divided between the chair and the ranking member or their designees with the final 20 minutes equally divided with the majority leader, that's me, controlling the final 10 minutes.
further public works following senators have eight minutes each from the majority's time, flake, bennet, rubio, menendez, graham, durbin, mccain, and schumer. and senator landrieu has five minutes from the majority's time and all quorum calls will be -- if there is a quorum call they'll be equally divided between the two parties. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you. let me begin by thanking the majority leader for his extraordinary leadership on this bill and both sides. it's been a very tough negotiation. the gang of eight, senator flake, senator bennet, senator rubio, senator menendez, senator graham, senator durbin dush, senator mccain, and senator schumer, have worked very, very hard to bring a bill to the floor that in my view is not perfect but it's balanced, it accomplishes many of the
principles of fixing our broken immigration system, and they have worked extraordinarily hard. let me also thank senator leahy and senator grassley as the chair and ranking member of the judiciary committee that considered more than 300 amendments, voted on 121. i'm disappointed like many people are that we didn't get more votes on the floor, but i came to the floor earlier in the week and predicted that that would happen. and it's unfortunate. but it's not the first time i've seen this movie and members of the other side are disappointed and some of us are disappointed, and we're hoping that we can find a more productive way forward. that's why i've spent some time on the floor talking about a step towards a more productive way. a few of us on both sides of this debate -- some of us are voting against the bill and some
of us are voting for the bill -- have been working on a small package of amendments that have bipartisan support, no substantive objection, and we're trying to get a short, small list cleared by both sides. and we have been working on this all week. i really appreciate the patience of every member of the senate, because this has been a very tense, very emotional debate for many members. but as i have said, in an attempt -- could i have order, madam president. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. ms. landrieu: as i've said, as an attempt of -- a goodwill attempt to get the senate moving in a little bit better direction towards bipartisanship and goodwill, i am not going to ask to push this vote back, which would be my right to do, but i
will not. many members have important schedules, as do i to keep and commitments to keep, but i'm going to be circulating -- and i believe i will be circulating with senator coats, who is voting against the bill, i'm voting for the bill. we're going to be circulating in the next two hours a short list of amendments that we believe have been cleared by both judiciary and minority and majority. i'm not saying -- i'm not going to provide the list at this period because it's been reviewed in various different shapes and ways throughout the week. we're working with senator leahy, working with senator grassley. just so people understand how hopefully if they are not convinced now sincere i am about,this i want my colleagues to know i am removing my amendments from this list. there will be no landrieu amendments on this list. this is not an attempt to get landrieu amendments passed. as important as i think, i've
been very fortunate, i've at least gotten one amendment for adopted kids in the bill, i'm not complaining, it's the way it goes. but i don't want people to think that i am trying to get a unanimous consent on my amendments. so i'm taking miementdz off the list. it will not be circulated. the list that will be circulated is by leaders, both republicans and democrats, that have a -- could i have order, please. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: the list that will be circulated as democratic and sponsor -- republican sponsor, cleared by senator grassley and senator leahy. they will work with their individual members to see if the list can be cleared. there will be no votes, as is the unanimous consent. it will have to be done as we call it here, hot line and will have to have 100 of us say yes. but i'm asking my colleagues to
say yes. i'm asking them to say yes to take a step in the right direction. i'm not accusing anyone of anything. i'm not blaming the democrats or the republicans. you know, i'm just saying that i think that we should take a small step towards trying to get the senate back on track. i don't know what's going to happen after the immigration bill, if we're going to engage in any rule changing or not. i've tried to not make any inflammatory statements about that one way or another. but this is a sincere effort on the part of myself, and senator coats has been very helpful as well, to try to put forth a small package, not asking for a vote, not asking for debate, not asking for a roll call vote. it would have to be done by consent in a small package. and i am removing my amendments. so i thank the senate. i'm just again asking all of my
colleagues, it's going to take 100 of us -- if one person says no, this is going to get stopped. so if everyone, we could end on a more positive work, a lot of hard work has gone into this bill. i know there are terrible disappointments. i'm not one of them. i'm happy with the outcome. i'm just trying to get a small package that people have been working on that are not going to affect the number of this vote in any way. the vote is going to be the same. it's going to be 68-32. is that the final vote? that's what it's going to be at 4:00. it's not going to change a thing. it's just going to solve some problems that several people have on important subjects to our constituents at home. i'm taking my amendments off the list. thank you, madam president.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: madam president, i arise today as the senate is on the verge of passing immigration reform by what may well be an historic bipartisan majority. it's been my honor and privilege to have a role in moving this legislation forward. we are moving one step closer to fixing our broken immigration system. this is a system that arizonans have dealt with for far too long. the situation along our southern border has grown increasingly untenable. the tucson border sector just recently lost the dubious distinction of being the most active border patrol sector. the status quo is now a considerable volume of traffic as well as theft, vandalism, drug smuggling. it's created a situation that is evermore dangerous for arizona border residents. never was this more poignant than with the tragic 2010 death
of rob krentz, a prominent member of the ranching community, on the border. he was killed likely by, in an incident related to illegal smuggling. i last spoke to rob's brother phil just this morning, and despite claims that the border is now more secure than ever, arizona ranchers know quite the opposite. beyond the border area, arizona remains a state struggling under the weight of a sizable undocumented situation. this situation helps no one. not those who are undocumented living in the shadows, not state and local governments who are bearing the burden, not employers who are struggling to find a legal work force. it is with this backdrop that the senate moves toward approving legislation that takes dramatic steps in addressing border security, that provides a tough but fair solution for those who are here illegally, and it spurs economic growth by
modernizing our legal immigration system. obviously, this legislation is not without its critics. opponents will point to the legislative process and claim it was flawed. i would submit that while no process for considerable legislation is perfect, this bill was made available early, it was thoroughly vetted under regular order in the committee. while i share the frustration that there haven't been more amendments considered on the -- on the senate floor, this body has now spent three weeks debating the bill on the floor. we've heard that the bill affords too much discretion to the department of homeland security or to the secretary and does little for border security. the hoeven-corker amendment that was adopted by a wide bipartisan majority removes much of that discretion from the secretary when it comes to border strategy by designing a minimum level of technologies to be deployed per sector. in addition, the hoeven-corker amendment dramatically increases
the resources to provide a secure border by requiring double the number of border patrol agents and 700 miles of fence. these have to be completed before anyone adjusts status. we've heard claims that the bill weakens existing law. to the contrary, this legislation takes credible steps toward implementing an entry-exit system to tell us who has and has not left the country and makes progress toward achieving the goal of a biometric approach to the system. and at this point, it's difficult to take seriously criticism that the bill does not go far enough with border security. should point out that the very day that the hoeven-corker amendment was filed, a cnn headline read, "four bodies found in the arizona desert." four more deceased immigrants had been located near hela bend. this is an issue that plays for keeps. it's in everyone's interests that we gain control of the
border. the unprecedented level of resources this bill provides coupled with the mandatory employment verification system and guest worker plans to allow for future flows, this is much-needed and it takes the right steps to get us there. as in previous immigration debates, there are those who claim that this legislation is amnesty. to the contrary, this legislation provides for provisional status for those who are already here as a means to bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. it requires them to meet eligibility criteria, pass a background check, make good on any tax liability, and pay a fee and a fine. before anyone can apply for a green card, they'll have to pay an additional fee and a fine, pass another background check, continue paying taxes, learn english and civics and prove that they have been employed. even though, there is no less than a ten-year waiting period
before anyone can begin to apply and that can only happen if the border agents have been hired, the border strategy has been deployed, mandatory everify system is being used by all employers and 700 miles of fence are on the border, and an entry-exit system is implemented for all air and seaports of entry. much of the focus of the legislation has been on the border security and legalization provisions, but just as important are the critical steps included to modernize our legal work force. the u.s. economy has to stay on the cutting edge of innovation and global competitiveness. when the best and brightest come here to study, we need to allow them to stay. i'm pleased to say that provisions i previously pushed for as part of the stable act were included in this legislation and those with advanced degrees, the so-called stem fields -- in the so-called stem fields will be exempt from caps on green card applications. this bill moves our legal
immigration system further toward a merit-based approach, increases the cap on h-1b visas significantly, provides an avenue for foreign-born entrepreneurs, and creates better programs for both agricultural and non-agricultural temporary workers. when asked about the impact of these changes, the arizona chamber of commerce and industry president said, without missing a beat, he said, "these will provide rocket fuel for the economy." the congressional budget office, in different words, said much the same thing. over the period of the next ten years, g.d.p. is supposed to increase by 3.3% as a result of this legislation, 5.4% by 2033. this is good legislation. let me just say in the few minutes i have left, for me coming from rural arizona, there's a personal backdrop for immigration reform. much of my youth was spent on a
200-acre alf alfa field just north of snowflake, arizona, where i grew up. along with my father and six brothers, i planted hay, cut hay, hauled hay and moved sprinkler pipes, miles of sprinkler pipes. i even lost the end of my right index finger on that alf alfa field. the chores we performed changed with the season but there was one constant -- we worked alongside undocumented migrant labor, largely from mexico, who worked harder than we did under conditions much more difficult than we endured. since that time, i have harbored a feeling of admiration and respect for those who have come to risk life and limb and sacrifice so much to provide a better life for themselves and their families. as i explained earlier in my remarks, there are many who are here in an undocumented status that do not fit the sketch that i've just described.
it is our lot here in congress to fashion an agreement that deals with the myriad motives, reasons, intentions and purposes that have brought people here illegally. along those lines, mr. president, let me close by saying a few words about the path to citizenship that's part of this legislation. i recognize there are those who are here who hold the position that no one who has entered this country illegally should ever be able to become a united states citizen. my own feeling is that citizenship should be treasured and valued and possible. for those who qualify and are willing to comply with the provisions set forth in this legislation. if someone is going to be here in this country for 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years, i want them to assimilate. i want them to have the rights and, more importantly, the responsibilities that come with citizenship. such assimilation is what sets our count country apart.
it is convince essentially american. it is the -- it is quintessentially american. it is the right policy. mr. president, i will be proud to cast my vote in favor of this legislation and it's my hope that it will become law. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. i want to start by thanking the able senator from arizona for his statement and for his leadership, for his incredible work on this bill. and i -- and i want to start by thanking all my colleagues that have been in this so-called gang of eight, both democrats and republicans. chuck schumer and dick durbin and bob menendez on the democratic side. but today i especially want to thank the republican members of this group, led by john mccai mccain, lindsey graham, and jeff flake, marco rubio. for their extraordinary leadership. for reasons that everybody in this chamber understands, their willingness to be at the table
and to stay at the table was an act of leadership unlike any other that i've seen in this chamber in the four years that i've served here. we would never be here today voting to fix our broken immigration system were it not for them. and so on behalf of the people i represent in colorado, thank y you. for me, this all started in colorado because everywhere i went, mr. president, i heard people talk about how the broken immigration system was affecting them. i'd here the peach growers in palisades say one thing and the cattle ranchers on the eastern plains say something else. the immigrant rights community, many of whom represented children in my old school district, or high-tech community, our ski resorts -- everybody was feeling the pain of a broken immigration system that washington was refusing to fix. and they had actuall actually gp hope that washington would fix it. and they didn't know each other cared about this issue. so we pulled them together over about a two-year period, hundreds of meetings, traveled
thousands of miles in the state to create something called the colorado compact, a statement of six principles about who colorado expected immigration reform to look at. and now that we've come to the end of this process and we've come to the end of the gang of eight meeting, the judiciary committee proceedings, the work on the floor, i can say that this bill is entirely consistent -- it's not identical, of course -- but it's entirely consistent with those principles. the first of those principles from the colorado compact was that immigration is a federal responsibility. this is not something that should be done state by state by state in this country. and the founders themselves recognized this because they put the regulation of immigration in the constitution and charged the united states congress with our obligation to deal with it. so that was the first principle. second principle was ensuring our national security. this bill meets that test as well. it is the strongest border security bill that's ever been
passed in the united states senate. it doubles the number of border agents on the southern border. we build 700 miles of fencing. it adds new technologies. we spend nearly $50 billion on border security. i believe we should have a secure border. in washington, this becomes a trade. for me it's not a trade. we should have a secure border and we should have a pathway to citizenship and this bill accomplishes both. the people in colorado that wrote this colorado compact called for more effective enforcement of our immigration law and this bill will give them that. fully operational biographic and biometric entry-exit system. more effective measures to detect fraud and abuse in our visa system. employment verification system to be used by all employers. that is all in this bill. that has not been in prior efforts that have either passed or failed in the united states congress but it is in this bill and it's a critical part to
making sure we don't end up here again. it said we should have a bill that strengthens our economy and this bill meets that test with a visa system much better aligned for our 21st century economy. a merit-based system. we have high-tech and invest visas, visas for agriculture that will make -- give our farmers and ranchers a fighting chance to hold on to their farms and to their ranches and give the people that are working in that industry much-needed relief. and great benefits for our tourism and ski industry as we well. and on top of everything else, the congressional budget office tells us that this bill doesn't increase our deficit but reduces it over the first ten years by $197 billion, over the next ten years by $700 billion. colorado said, we want a bill that's focused on families and keeping families together. this bill does that by clearing the green card back drog
ensuring -- backlog, ensuring family members are able to reunite more quickly. better protection for children in detention in the immigrant court system. and finally, we called for a commonsense approach to the 11 million and this bill does that with a tough but fair path to citizenship for the 11 million. mr. president, like so many people in this chamber, my life story is a story of immigration because i am the son of an immigrant. my mom was born in poland in 1938 while nazi tanks massed at the border. and she and her parents miraculously survived one of the worst human events in our history, the holocaust. and after going to sweden and mexico city, they were able to come to new york city in 1950. my mom was almost 12 years old. she was the only one in the family that could speak any english at all. on my first birthday, my grandparents -- this is 1965, so
15 years after they came to the country, my grandparents sent my a birthday card. this is the card that they wrote, mr. president. here's what they said. "the ancient greeks gave the world" -- in english, by the way. they said it in english. "the ancient greeks gave the world the high ideals of democracy in search of which your dear mother and we came to the hospitable shores of beautiful america in 1950. we have been happy here ever since beyond our greatest dreams and expectations with democracy, freedom and love and humanity's greatest treasures. we hope that when you grow up, you will help to develop in other parts of the world a greater understanding of these american values." they had only been in this country for 15 years. they didn't speak english when they got here. they had survived the most horrific event of the 20th century. and this was the place that gave them hope and, more than that,
it allowed them to rebuild their lives and the only country in the world where they thought they could. this bill reaffirms that we are a nation that respects the rule of law and reaffirms our history that we are a nation of immigrants. and it will keep that hope alive for millions of people both here and abroad for years to come. i urge a "yes" vote on this bill. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i'd like to ask how much time has been consumed by the proponents of the measure. the presiding officer: approximately 23 minutes. mr. durbin: how much has been consumed by the opponents of the measure? the presiding officer: no time has been consumed by the opponents. mr. durbin: i'm going to ask consent that in the -- i suggest the absence of a quorum
and ask that the time on the quorum call be charged against the opponents' time up to 23 minutes so that we can have some equalization in terms of the use of time on the floor. it's my understanding unless senator blunt is coming to the floor to speak -- i withdraw my request. the presiding officer: the request is withdrawn. the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, thank you for your time. i want to talk about the hard work that my colleagues have put in on this bill and looks like it's going to get a number of votes today. it won't be getting mine. i think it's important as we look at these issues to understand that once a bill actually gets to the president's desk, gets signed into law, we're probably not going to visit this again for a long time. i think it doesn't put border security first or really doesn't
address what i've grown more and more to think of the other border which is the hiring desk, the nonpartisan congressional budget office said the underlying senate bill would only cut illegal immigration by 25%. doesn't seem to me that's nearly good enough. i think the estimate was that if this bill didn't pass, ten million people would come into the country in the next ten years. if it does pass, 7.5 million people would come into the country in the next ten years illegally. some of them will come across the border. a lot of them come here now legally and then they just stay and i don't see anything in this bill that does what we could be doing there. i voted against proceeding to the amendment this week, the hoeven-corker amendment, because i didn't think it really focused as the cornyn amendment did that i cosponsored on
granting legal status only after we get the border secured rather than doing it before. in my view, these challenges need to be met. what do we do about the work force needs of the country, what do we do about people who came here illegally or came legally and stayed then illegally, but it's important to understand that as long as it's taken to even get to this point, once a bill passes, we're probably not going to go back and say gee, i wish we'd have done that or i wish we'd have done that. in addition, the only requirement before legalization could begin is for the secretary of the homeland security to simply submit a border security plan to the congress. there are lots of plans and a lot of them are talked about in this building, some of them work, some of them don't work. but this doesn't require any further approval or verification
of the plan. the amendment i supported that senator corker was the principal sponsor on said you'd have to meet some metrics and one of the -- you'd have to have some measures that you know you could prove and would be willing to certify. everybody seems willing to admit that 100% awareness of what goes on in the border is possible. so if 100% awareness is possible, why isn't it possible if you know 100% of what's going on and can watch the whole border, why isn't it possible to be able to certify that a certain number of people are being stopped every year and that the border is not totally and completely and absolutely secure but meets a level of operational control that the american people have a right to expect? the $46.3 billion for border security is mandatory funding, but the amendment only requires $8.3 billion of that $46 billion
to come from fees, leaving taxpayers on the hook for another $38 billion. again, without the other half of the problem, people who come to our country legally for a short period of time and then stay, being dealt with. if we don't deal with that, we really haven't dealt with the problem. 20,000 additional border agents and a $4.5 billion for additional border technology is not a strategic plan. it seems to me it's throwing a lot of money at a plan and hoping it works. i read lots of people's comments on this who say, well, we've really overdone what needed to be done here but we've underdone the things that you ult ultimately are going to have to do to fix this problem. this measure also provides a billion and a half dollars over the next two years to provide jobs for americans between the ages of 16 and 24.
while jobs for young workers is a priority, it really has nothing to do with froarnl. i think it -- immigration reform. i think it had something to do with one of the additional votes if what i read is true that this was something someone insisted be in this bill, and i think we have to understand that we do a lot more to put young americans to work if we had commonsense regulatory policies and commonsense energy policies. several editorial boards criticized amendments that i cosponsored as poison pills because it considered them too costly to enforce what we were tribal to do. one of the amendments i sponsored said we'd have 5,000 extra people at the border, and editorial board after editorial board said that's too expensive, it's a poison pill, it will kill the bill. those same people are now supportive of the bill that has
20,000 people working at the border. during the debate i cosponsored other amendments that i saw that were defeated. these amendments were in addition to senator cornyn's amendment the results amendment requiring d.h.s. to have situational awareness and control of the border. senator lee had an amendment requiring congressional approval of the border plan that would come from the department of homeland security. what would be wrong with that, congressional approval, so every year congress continues to be engaged with the funds it takes to do what needs to be done as well as the plan it takes? senator grassley had an amendment requiring that the border would have to be effectively secure for six months before the department of homeland security secretary could grant the provisional status. others have pointed out and i
agree, once you begin to grant that provisional status, i don't see any realistic way that a congress ever goes back and says we know we told you you could stay but now you have to leave. senator paul had two amendments that i supported. one was trust but verify, much like senator lee's amendment where congress would have be sure that the integrity of the border was being protected and another one that would protect the integrity of the ballot process from illegal voting. nobody is here to advocate illegal voting. why we couldn't get an amendment that did something to ensure that it wouldn't happen is surprising to me. congress has one shot to address immigration reform in the right way. unfortunately, i can't vote for this bill because i think it fails to prioritize the things that need to be prioritized and
i also don't think this bill will be a bill that can has the house of representatives. i hope the senate will now work with the house to find a better solution for long-term immigration reform and we can really meet those three criteria of how do you secure the border, how do you meet the legitimate work force needs of the country, and what do we do about people who are already here and in many cases these are people who go to church where we go to church, their kids go to school where our kids go to school. i, frankly, think those last two issues are pretty easily dealt with if the american people ever believe that the government has met its responsibility to control our borders and one way to do that is to look at the actual border. another way to do that is give employers the kinds of tools they need so we can identify who is in the united states that is eligible to work and who is not and i yield back.
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: would the chair inform me how much time has been used on each side. the presiding officer: the proponents have consumed approximately 23 minutes. and the opponents have consumed approximately nine minutes. mr. durbin: unless there are other speakers in opposition, i would -- i'm sorry. senator grassley is here. i once again withdraw and yield the floor to senator grassley. mr. grassley: i can't come to speak. i came to object to your unanimous consent. mr. durbin: here is the state of play. unless we can agree to come to the floor and debate the issue, your absence delays the time when you'll be speaking until
the end of the debate, which creates an advantage for you by staying away. what we're trying to do is to be fair and give each side a chance to speak on the bill, one side or the other. senator blunt has been here and i would welcome any senator in opposition. we have used i think the measure was 23 minutes. the presiding officer: 23 minutes. mr. durbin: and your side has used nine. i'd like to offer the opportunity for you to speak in opposition. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you for your courtesy. i think there's an insinuation in your comment that there's a strategy on our part not to speak. that's not true. it's that there's a republican meeting going on right now. i went to that meeting and said to the people in the meeting that they ought to be out here speaking and they had an opportunity to do it. and for the group, i've objected for that reason. i yield the floor.
mr. durbin: if no time is used at this point how will the time be taken off? how will it be calculated? the presiding officer: the time spent in quorum calls are equally divided between the two sides. mr. durbin: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: i understand there is a quorum call, mr. president? the presiding officer: without objection, the quorum call is vitiated. mr. menendez: thank you. mr. president, i come to the floor at the end of a long but fruitful bipartisan process. i come here thinking of what this bill will mean for families and come here thinking of my family, of my mother, who came from cuba, worked hard and made it possible for me to stand here today, one of 100 united states senators on the verge of passing an historic piece of legislation that she would have wanted me to vote for. a bipartisan compromise that will finally fix our broken immigration system and bring 11 million immigrants out of the shadows. not just the millions who have been here for years without status, but the millions more who have been waiting in line to be reunified with their families lawfully. when the moment comes to cast that vote, i'll be casting it in memory of my mother and for
every immigrant like her, who came to this country in the last century to give their families a chance to contribute to america's exceptionalism and for all those who will now have a chance to contribute to america's exceptionalism in this century. it will be a vote for the long history of immigrants in america, for the millions of immigrant families -- irish, german, french, italian, scandinavia, jewish, greek, polish, portugese and many others -- whose blood, sweat and tears ushered in america's industrial age. a vote for the immigrants of the greatest generation who brought this nation through the depression, fought a world war and ended the cold war. and it will be a vote for america's new, young, skilled, educated dreamers and entrepreneurs who will now have a chance to become citizens and help lead this nation into a brighter, more prosperous, more productive future.
it will be a vote in memory of a long list of immigrants and the children of immigrants who made this nation great. marine corporal jose antonio gutierrez not even a citizen of the united states when he became the first casualty of the iraq war. thomas edison from my home state of new jersey, the wizard of memlo park who made new jersey the home of invention in america, and there will be an immigrant who carries on that legacy who will make the next great discovery. jonas salk whose parents came here and gave him the education he needed to go on and discover the vaccine for polio and save millions of lives. and there will be a dreamer who will be the next jonas salk. colin powell, admired on both sides of the aisle, his was an immigrant family. and be assured there will be
another great military leader and statesman who will be the son or daughter of parents who will become citizens under this legislation. madeleine albright is an immigrant who became a citizen and went on to become one of the most respected and admired secretaries of state. and the list goes on. albert einstein, henry kissinger, joseph pulitzer, all immigrants who contributed to america's exceptionalism. this legislation is for all those immigrants and immigrant families who helped make america better. now, this is the culmination of a long journey for me. i have been fighting for immigration reform for 20 years between my times in the house and the senate and been blazing a pathway to citizenship that will help families stay together and give them a chance at a better life, and this bill does that. the road has been fraught with the same obstacles, same pitfalls and prejudices that have stood in the way of every
generation of immigrants who wanted nothing more than a pathway to acceptance and opportunity. but as the saying goes, the hardest steel must go through the hottest fire. what we are about to do today has been a generation-long drive for justice and tolerance. it has been and remains the civil rights issue of our community. and i believe when this legislation finally becomes law, it will make us stronger as a nation, just as the civil rights act strengthened this country. we are on the verge of historic change, and i'm proud to have been part of the gang of eight that hammered out a strong bipartisan effort. now i say to my friends in the other body, do the right thing for america and for your party. find common ground. lean away from the extremes. opt for reason and govern with us. the time has come to act in the
interest of all americans, and i hope that message will be heard loud and clear in the house. in my view, the leadership in the other body has a chance to be american heroes, a chance to bring both sides together in an alliance that will ensure passage of this bill. and i believe a vast majority of americans who want immigration reform to pass will thank them for doing the right thing. i hope that they will have the political will and courage to unite the nation and send this bill to the president's desk, a bill that will increase the gross domestic product, reduce the deficit, promote prosperity, and create jobs. this chart shows cumulative economic gains of the legislation over ten years after passage. look at the numbers. look at them. fixing the broken immigration system would increase america's gross domestic product by over
$800 billion over the first ten years. it will increase wages of all americans by $470 billion over ten years and it will increase jobs by 121,000 per year for ten years. that's 1.2 million jobs. that's the congressional budget office saying that. immigrants will start small businesses. they'll create jobs for america's workers. it's time to harness that economic power. the next chart shows us that the c.b.o. report also tells us, will reduce the deficit by $197 billion over the next decade and by an additional $700 billion more between 2024 and 2033 through changes in direct spending and revenues. we're talking about almost $500 billion in deficit spending that can be lifted off the backs of the next generation of
americans. what other single piece of legislation increases g.d.p. growth, increases wages for all americans, increases jobs and lowers the deficit? what we realize now has been confirmed by the numbers, and that's giving 11 million people a clear and defined pathway to citizenship is in effect an nick growth strategy -- an economic growth strategy and exactly the right thing to do. it will be a long road for those who have earned the right to become citizens. citizenship won't be easy. it never is. the new americans who follow the pathway we lay out will have to play by the rules. they'll have to pass background checks, pay a fine, pay their taxes. but if they do, there will be no obstacle they cannot overcome to the day when they raise their right hand and take their naturalizeation oath. too many families have waited too long for that day. too many have waited too long to
say those words that will change their lives forever. they changed my mother's life and in turn gave me the chance to stand here today and vote for a pathway to citizenship that can change the lives of millions of others. so today is a victory not for me or the gang of eight -- the presiding officer: the senator has consumed eight minutes. mr. menendez: i ask for one additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: it is not a victory for the senator. by passing comprehensive immigration reform we will have taken a step to the long journey of exceptionalism. in 2007 when we failed at our last attempt at immigration reform, i quoted the last phrase of emma lazarus' poem emblazoned on the statue of liberty which says i lift my lamp beside the golden door. i said the lamp since we failed was somewhat dimmer but we will shine again, that human spirit
cannot be shackled forever, that the drum beat for security, economic vitality and most importantly, justice will only grow stronger until we pass this legislation. and my friends, today when we pass this comprehensive immigration reform yo, the light will shine brighter and it will shine forever. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: we have talked a lot about how the immigration bill would or would not prevent illegal immigration in the future. this is a huge concern because we don't want to be back here in 25 years proposing the same short-term solutions to the problems. i want to take a few minutes about the national security implications of the bill. there are valid concerns that the bill will put public safety and homeland at risk. i'll walk through some of the issues and point out how we
tried in committee to change the bill in this effort and, of course, we failed. first, the bill contains a dangerous national security loophole that would render the united states government unable to share information with foreign governments about immigrants who have had their status revoked. an amendment to preserve the ability of law enforcement to access critical national security and public safety information and at the same time authorize the secretary of state to share limited information with the foreign government while protecting legitimate privacy interests. that amendment was rejected. second, the bill provides the secretary of state with authority to limit in-person interviews of visa applicants abroad, and the secretary of homeland security is not required to interview anyone that applies for registered provisional immigrant status.
we learned a valuable lesson after september the 11th, 2001, because the hijackers were not interviewed and applications were rubber-stamped. an amendment to require individuals who may be a threat to national security to submit to an in-person interview with consular officers when applying for visa was voted down. third, there were gaping holes in the student visa process, yet the committee rejected attempts to delay the expansion of student visa program until the tracking system in place was improved. fourth, the amendment makes it almost impossible to revoke a person's visa when they're on u.s. soil. an amendment to clarify the authority of the secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state to refuse or revoke visas when in the
national interest, as was the case with the christmas tree bomber, that amendment was rejected. fifth, the bill does not address the concerns brought to the surface by recent events like the boston terrorist bombing. we are profoundly troubled with the lack of concern about lessons that can be learned from the failings of the immigration process which may have contributed to recent events like the boston terrorist bombing. we need to understand and we need to address these failures before proceeding with some of the provisions in this bill, especially the asylum and student visa expansion measures. putting revised procedures in place before gaining understanding of what does not work in our current system is not good stewardship of the trust of the american people
and -- and the trust that those people have placed in us as their representatives in congress. our nation's security is at risk and we cannot ignore it. we need to understand what is wrong with the system to prevent events like the boston bombing from happening again. however, an amendment to delay an expansion of asylum and student visa programs until there has been a coordinated review detailing the intelligence and immigration failures of the boston marathon terrorist attack was also voted down in committee. our national security must be a paramount concern with any immigration reform. eliminating weaknesses in our system, including along the border and in the interior, would make our nation much saf safer. regrettably, this bill falls far short of this goal.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: my father had a rough childhood. his mother died when he was just -- i'm sorry, are we in a quorum call? i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: my father had a rough childhood. his mother died four days shy of his ninth birthday. the small catering company his parents ran together collapsed and so he was forced to leave school and go to work. we work virtual will you i --
virtually every day the rest of his life. my mother, her father was disabled by polio and he struggled to provide for his seven daughters. my parents met at a small store where my mother was a cash a cashier m.i.a. father the security guard. he lived and slept in the storage room of that store. like all young couples, they had dreams. my mother wanted to be an actress and my father tried hard to get ahead. after work, we take correspondence courses to become a tv and radio repairman but it was hard. because he barely knew how to read. they did everything they could to make a better life. but living in an increasingly unstable country with limited education and no connections, they just couldn't. so they saved as much as they could and on may 27 of 1956 they boarded an airplane to miami. they came to america and in search of a better life. now, like most recent arrivals
life in america wasn't easy, either. my father had someone actually phonetically write on a small piece of paper the words "i am looking for work." he memorized those words. those were literally the first words he learned to speak in english. he took day jobs wherever we could find them, they went to work at a factory building aluminum chairs. my dad started working as a bar boy, eventually becoming a bartender. he saved money and tried to open up some businesses and when that didn't work they tried los angeles, they tried las vegas but that didn't work they they found himself back in miami beach behind the bar. the truth is they were discouraged and homesick for cuba, too. in the early days of castro's rule before he came out as a marxist they even entertained going back permanently. of course, communism took root in havana and that became impossible, too. i'm sure they wondered if it
ever would get better and then the miracle we know as america began to change their lives. by 1967 they had saved enough money to buy a house. it was within walking distance of the original bowl where on sundays they used to make extra money by letting people park on their lawn. my older sister was in ballet, my broo was the star quarterback at miami high. interest wasn't just their lives that changed. it was also their hearts. they still spoke spanish at home and they kept all the customs they brought with them from cuba, but with each passing year, this country became their own. my mother rlz how on that terrible november day in 1963 she wept at the news that her president had been slain. she remembers that imagine dal night in 1969 -- magical night in 1969 when an american walked on the moon and she realized that now nothing was impossible. well before they ever became
citizens in their hearts they had already become americans. it reminds us sometimes that we focus so much on how immigrants could change america, that we forget that america has always changed immigrants even more. this is not just my story. this is our story. it reminds us of the words etched on the marble in the senate, "e pluribus unum," out of many, one. no one should dispute like every sovereign nation on this planet, we have a right to control who comes in. but unlike other countries, we are not afraid of people coming in here from other places. instead, inspired by our judeo-christian principles we have seen the stranger and invited them in. and our nation has been blessed for it. in ways that remind us of these
ancient words, god divided the sea and led them through and made the waters stand up like a wall. by day, he led them with a cloud, by night with a light of fire. he split the rocks in the desert. he gave them plentiful to drink from deep. he made streams flow out from the rock and made waters run down like rivers and he commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. he rained down manna for their food and gave them bread from heaven. our history is filled with dramatic evidence that god's hand is upon our land and who among us would dispute that we americans are a blessed people? in the harbor of our most famous city, there's a statue of a woman holding a lamp. at the base of that stat due there's a poem and it reads keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled
masses yearning to breathe free. the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these to the homeless, tempest tossed to me, i lift my lamp beside the golden door. for over 200 years now they have come in search of liberty and freedom for sure. but often just in search of a job to feed their kids and a chance at a better life. from ireland and poland, from germany and france, from mexico and cuba, they have come. they have come because in the land of their birth, their dreams were bigger than their opportunities. here they brought their language and their customs, their religions and their music, and somehow they've made them ours as well. from a collection of people from
everywhere, we became one people. the most exceptional nation in all of human history. and even with all our challenges, we remain that shining city on a hill. we are still the hope of the world. go to our factories and our fields, go to the kitchens and construction sites, go to the cafeterias in this very capitol and there you will find that the miracle of america is still alive. for here in america those who once had no hope will give their kids the chance at a life they always wanted for themselves. here in america generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass. and that's why i support this reform. not just because i believe in immigrants, but because i believe in america even more. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: are we in quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, i appreciate the excellent remarks from the heart of my good friend, marco rubio. he is a great addition to the senate, and i would say the heart of america is good. the heart of this country is
good. for 30 years, they've been pleading with congress to keep a generous immigration policy afoot in america, but at the same time they've been pleading with us to end the legality -- illegality. and that has continued to for years now. it just has. the people have pleaded with us to do something about it. year after year after year, congress has refused. the president has refused. and that is why we now have 11 million people in the country illegally. and i think the heart of america is good, and they're willing to deal compassionately and not try to deport 11 million people. they want to do the right thing about this. but by a 4-1 margin they have said they want to see this congress do what members of congress have repeatedly promised and never delivered on, create a lawful system, a
system we can be proud of, a system that serves the national interests. as i explained this morning, rather than working with law enforcement groups and prosecutors and considering the needs of everyday citizens, the sponsors of this bill have spent months in negotiation with special interests and lobbyists to produce a bill that will not work. that's the problem we have before us today. that will create even more lawlessness in the future. i want my colleagues to hear what our nation's immigration officers, men and women on the front lines, have to say about this legislation. shouldn't we listen to them? they asked to be able to participate in these secret negotiations, and they were rebuffed. i asked that they be allowed to participate and they were rebuffed. a bill that senator schumer --
let's hear what they say about the bill. the bill that senator schumer said in committee was tough as nails, and the tv ads been running say the toughest bill in history. maybe the history of the world. well, is that correct? i have to ask. i think not. this was a joint statement issued today by the councils representing immigration and customs enforcement officers, the i.c.e. officers and the united states immigration officers, a joint statement, two associations representing these thousands, tens of thousands of officers. they say this -- quote -- "-- shouldn't we listen to what they're saying? -- quote -- "i.c.e. officers and uscis adjudication officers have pleaded with lawmakers not to adopt this bill. the schumer-rubio-corker-hoeven
proposal will make americans less safe and it will ensure more illegal immigration, especially visa overstays in the future. it provides legalization for thousands of dangerous criminals while making it more difficult for our officers to identify public safety and security threats. the legis -- the legislation was guided from the beginning by anti-enforcement special interests. and should it become law, will have the desired effect of these groups blocking immigration enforcement. this is an anti-public safety bill and an anti-law enforcement bill. we urge all lawmakers to oppose the final cloture vote on thursday and to oppose the bill which we will be voting on soon. close quote. then they say this -- quote -- "and we call on all americans to pick up the phone and call their
members of congress." so who do we trust on this question of whether or not we have a bill that will work? our good political senators who work hard but have been out on the front lines doing the work or the people we pay who try to do the work every day putting their lives at risk? there's something else i'd like to talk about today, just touch on. i think it's one of the least discussed parts of the conversation. we'll have others talking in more detail, i'm sure, about enforcement failures of the legislation. but in many ways this could be the most important. i know our friends in the media certainly haven't given a lot of coverage to it, but i hope we will think about it more. and that's future flow of immigration for america, or the legal immigration part of the bill, the bill that controls the legal flow in the future.
c.b.o. tells us that our congressional -- our congressional budget office, tells us the bill's large increase in mostly lower skilled legal workers will push down wages and increase unemployment. push down wages and increase unemployment. that needs to be talked about. it must be understood fully. hundreds of people are hurting today. there was an article recently in "the new york times," i think 700 people camped out for five days to get a few jobs as elevator repairmen. they spent in the rain, they camped out, they waited in line hoping to get one of those jobs. there was an article involving philadelphia where individuals who had prior felony convictions -- maybe not all felonies -- who wanted work, and they set up an opportunity for them to apply to find a job. they expected 1,000.
2,000 showed up, and they interviewed a number of them, and the stories they gave were heartbreaking. don't we need to consider the impact these policies could have on working americans? it's a sensitive topic but a crucial one. here's what david cameron, the prime minister of the u.k., british prime minister said recently -- quote -- "there are those who say you cannot have a sensible debate because it's somehow wrong to express concerns about immigration. now, i think this is nonsense. yes, of course it needs to be approached in a sensitive and rational manner, but i've always understood the concerns. the genuine concerns of hardworking people, including many in our migrant communities who worry about uncontrolled immigration. they worry about the pressure it puts on public services, the
rapid pace of change in some of our communities, and of course the concerns deeply felt that some people might be able to come and take advantage of our generosity by making -- without making a proper contribution to our country." mr. cameron goes on to say, "it is our failure in the past through reform welfare and training that meant that we left too many of our young people in a system where they didn't have proper skills, they didn't have proper incentives to work, and instead we saw large numbers of people coming from overseas to fill vacancies in our economy. put simply, our job is to educate and train our youth not to rely on immigration, to fill the skill gaps." does that resonate with any of our people today? have we thought through this as to how we should handle these matters? let's look at our own situation
right here in america. 21 million americans are unable to find full-time work. one in three without a high school diploma are unemployed. 47 million americans are on food stamps. labor force participation is the lowest since the 1970's. the percentage of americans actually working is lower and been continually falling since the 1970's -- not been falling since the 1970's, but it goes back to that date when women were just beginning to enter the workforce. one in three youth in our nation's capital are living in poverty. it appears we are in an era of a new normal. economists have been talking about this. a new normal where we see lower growth in developed economies than we normally would see. there's morrow -- more robotics out there and businesses are
looking to contain the growth of employment, and low job creation has been the result. our own congressional budget office -- madam president, i would ask i be notified after 20 minutes. the presiding officer: the senator will be notified. mr. sessions: i thank the chair. our own congressional budget office did a protection as they do every year. they did this in january. they found in the second five years of our ten year window, 2018 through 2023, we would only create, they said, 75,000 jobs. i know some will say we're going to bring in workers and that's going to create jobs. we'll talk about what economists really say about that. what does this legislation do? i think this legislation has not given thought to the plight of these unemployed americans.
colleagues, the legislation that's before us today adds four times more guest workers. these are people who come only to work and not just seasonal workers. they come for years at a time with their families, but they come specifically to take a job, four times more than in the 2007 bill that failed and many to on the grounds it would hurt workers. it triples the grants of permanent status awarded to legal immigrants over the next decade relative to current law. that's the result of the legalization process here. experts who looked, and other factors. experts have come to the same conclusion. there would be at least 30 million people who would be given legal status over the next decade whereas normally we would give ten million people legal status. yet to this day the sponsors of
the legislation have refused to tell us how many come in to the country. what we do know is that the plan is not a merit-based plan but mostly a lower-skilled, many will hurt our poor and working-class citizens the most. we have data that shows that. this will be a hammer blow to poor and working-class americans. as the civil rights commission members, two of them wrote us, they had hearings on this. they said it's going to devastate poor workers. they say we don't have a shortage of lower-skilled workers. we have a glut of lower-skilled workers. that's a direct quote from their letter. so let's compare our current situation when the legislation was introduced in 2007. today five million more americans are unemployed than in 2007. 20 million more americans are on food stamps. and unemployment among teenagers is 54% higher than in 2007.
meanwhile, median household income -- get this. median household income is 8.9% lower than than in 1999. that's huge. professor borjas at harvard, himself an immigrant, he studies immigration and economics, has said a large part of that decline is driven by the large immigration flow that comes into our country. this would increase it dramatically. we want to have immigration. we're not going to stop immigration. we're going to maintain a generous immigration flow. but the people need to know this bill increases it dramatically. c.b.o. did a report on the legislation. this is what they found unequivocally. the legal immigration surge in this bill will reduce average wages for a decade. reduce average wages for a
decade. our own c.b.o. said it. there's a chart in their report. i had it on the floor earlier. and wages will remain lower for many years after that than if the bill had never passed. what about unemployment? a number of people out of work, it will increase according to c.b.o.. and per capita, g.n.p. will be lower for the next quarter of a century. yes, you're going to have an increase in g.d.p., and our colleagues are quick to say that, because of a large new group of people. but that increase per person in america is not -- doesn't occur. it reduces the per capita g.n.p.. and these are extremely conservative estimates. dr. borjas, in his report suggests the situation would be worse than this. well, to whom do we owe our
allegiance in to the groups that want more people in the high-tech world or agriculture world or meatpacking world or other businesses? or to the american citizens who work hard, pay their taxes, fight our wars and obey our laws? who is speaking up for their legitimate interest. the time has long passed as prime minister cameron has said for a national discussion of legal immigration policies. we all believe in it. no one proposes ending immigration. it's a deep part of our tradition as a nation. but a nation not only has a right but a duty to establish a responsible flow that promotes asimulation of those who come here, promotes self-sufficiency and rising wages and helps identify people who can flourish. the last thing we want to do is to invite people to come to america to work and find out
there are no jobs for them here or that they're putting americans out of work in order to get a job. that doesn't make sense. we have not had the kind of discussion of this we need. but the data indicates objectively speaking that this will be a detriment to working americans. a great nation needs a policy that promotes its legitimate national interest, that considers a tough time workers are having today as a result of high unemployment and falling wages. a policy that rejects ideas that will pull down even further the wages of hurting workers. that could, as senator sanders has said, create a permanent underclass in america. it's a dangerous thing. we need to do it right. the legislation before us is a dramatic step. i urge my colleagues to reject the bill and to work on a positive reform plan that serves
the national interest of all americans, immigrant and native-born. sadly, this legislation does advance the interest of those who wrote it, many of them with very special interests. but at the expense of the general public. the vote we're about to have is for final passage. the promises of an open and fair process have been as hollow as the promises that this bill would be the toughest ever and will end the lawlessness in the future forever. it just won't happen. our law officers have told us this. this legislation a amnesty first. the legality occurs first. it plainly lacks the kind of mechanisms that are necessary to create a law enforcement system that will work. there is a lack of commitment to that. you can see it throughout the
bill. it's not written by people who are out there every day and who know the problems with enforcement. if it were, they would have fixed so many of these problems that are fully shown throughout the bill. yes, money has been promised with the recent amendment for the border. but that's in the distant future. but what about the rest of the bill? the everify workplace enforcement system is terribly flawed. it's been delayed. it could be put to work right now. we don't need to wait five years as this bill does. it's in place. why it would be delayed that long is beyond me. unless you're not very intentionally interested in getting started in making sure that after people are legalized, others can't come in and take the job who enter illegally, the
entry-exit visa system in this bill, this s. 744, 1,000 page bill, is much weaker than current law. current law says you must have a biometric entry-exit system at sea, air and land ports. this bill says you only have to have an electronic system at air and seaports, making the system incomplete and unable to identify who stays and who is returned home on time. interior enforcement is much weaker. read the passionate letters from my law enforcement officers, as i have read this morning, pleading with us not to pass the bill because they say it will hurt enforcement and weaken national security. the method of processing those given legal status will not work. the citizenship and immigration service who managed this, as one of the big objectives to the bill, they say there is no way they can accomplish what will be asked of them if this bill were to pass.
they say it would lead to lawlessness and they will be unable to identify dangerous people who should not be in the country. i thank the chair. i will be wrapping up. far from having fines pay for the cost of this amnesty, as the sponsors promised is a huge budget buster. huge budget buster now. the obamacare provision that was supposed to ensure that concerns who were given legal status didn't get subsidized health care now provides an incentive for workers -- businesses not to hire american workers because they will have to pay the obamacare premiums but would hire foreign workers, the legalized -- illegal workers who are now given legal status, they would be having multithousand-dollar advantages in hiring them over american
workers. so the legislation will not work. let's continue to work through all these problems together. i do feel that this -- that our bill's sponsors are clearly correct to say that we need to fix this broken system. a bill that will respond to the pleas of the american people for a lawful immigration system that serves our national interests and in which we can take pride is what i will support. how can we vote for a bill that our own congressional budget office says will reduce average wages in america for 12 years? we have got in this group of american workers thousands, millions of immigrant workers, millions of minorities and african-americans and others at low wages, and this legislation at a time they are hurting very badly now will reduce average wages for 12 years, will
increase unemployment and will reduce per-capita g.d.p. for over 25 years. this is policy we have got to ask serious questions about. all this at a time of high unemployment, long-term falling wages, surging welfare and disability and dependency. it's not a healthy trend in america. we have got to ask these questions. our real focus, as prime minister cameron has said, should be to work hard to train our people, our unemployed, our young people for jobs that pay a decent wage, have a health care and a retirement plan. this legislation will not end the lawlessness as our professional officers have repeatedly told us. it will not do so. it will give legality, amnesty if you want to call it that, virtually immediately, and as a promise of enforcement in the
future, but our officers say it will not happen, it's not going to happen now. and i believe they are correct. i had the honor to be a federal prosecutor for quite a long time, and i know law officers and i know their difficulties and i totally agree with them. this was a letter that was written today from the i.c.e. officer head, mr. chris crane, a true patriot, he has worked so hard to do this. he said the problem -- one of the problems with the bill is a failure to enforce the nation's immigration laws on the interior of the united states. it's not just a border issue. it cannot and will not end as a result of increased border security. it must be resolved through increased interior enforcement. 40% of all illegal immigrants
currently in america did not illegally cross the border but entered instead legally with a visa and did not leave when that visa expired. 40,000 border patrol agents provided in your legislation will never come into contact with these people. do you hear that, colleagues? these border patrol agents are not never coming in contact with the people who are in the interior who came on a visa and chose not to return. he goes on to say systems like everify and biometric entry-exit still missing from the bill may identify millions of illegal immigrants and status violators, but i.c.e. officers will not exist to locate and apprehend them. rendering the system useless. the majority of foreign nationals identified by these systems will remain in the united states.
500,000 i.c.e. fugitives are currently in the united states, 500,000. two million criminal aliens at large in the united states. 900,000 criminal aliens are arrested by local police each year. and they go on to note there are only 5,000 i.c.e. officers in america, and this administration sues state and local governments who try to help the i.c.e. officers get their job done. and then the joint statement today from the i.c.e. and uscis officers association say this -- quote -- "i.c.e. officers and uscis adjudication officers have pleaded with congress not to adopt this bill but to work on real effective reforms for the american people. this bill they say is a quote
antipublic safety bill and an antilaw enforcement bill. we urge all lawmakers to oppose the final cloture vote today and oppose the bill." madam president, this legislation will not end the lawlessness. i wish it were different, but that's the facts. it does not create a merit-based future flow as has been promised, and it leaves us in a very difficult position. so i feel like that there is no choice for us today, let's vote no on the legislation. it's not going to end the efforts. we're going to have to continue to wrestle with this. the good news is that the house at least initially what i have seen in their work indicates that they're giving a far more prudent approach to it. the first bill that they have produced, i tried to offer as an amendment but did not get brought up, really has an effective effort at improving
interior law enforcement. that's the kind of thing we need to be doing. then we can win the confidence of the american people and we can move past this very difficult time in our history. i thank the chair and reserve the balance of the time on this side. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you. if i may? well, thank you very much. to my good friend from alabama, you have been consistent, you have conducted yourself incredibly well, you're a man of passion, and i agree with david cameron and jeff sessions, let's have a debate about immigration, but i'm in the camp let's stop talking about it and doing something. so this bill in my view is a giant step forward in many ways. number one for the senate. we're at 10% or 12% in approval rating in the congress.
my question is who are the 10% or 12% and what bill do they like? i'm in the body and i don't disapprove of what we have been doing, but i see this as a significant step toward the united states senate being able to work together in a bipartisan fashion to do something that matters. is this bill perfect? no. is it like senator sessions described? no. it is a good solution to a hard problem that can always be made better, but to the american people, you have got to be frustrated by your congress not being able to do the hard things or sometimes even the simple things. this should give you a little bit of hope that for the first time since 2007, the united states senate in a bipartisan fashion is about to pass legislation on an important topic that's emotionally tough but needs to be dealt with. to the critics, i appreciate the debate this time around. it's been so much better, but some of the criticism i'm going
to address, senator rubio spoke in the most eloquent fashion about his family's history and about who we are as americans, but everybody has a story. marco's story is an exceptional story. i'm the first person in my family to go to college. neither one of my parents graduated high school. my dad and mom ran a restaurant, a liquor store and a pool room, and i learned everything i need to know about politics in the pool room. a great place to learn about people. but one of the critics of this bill, one of the organizations said that the average illegal immigrant has a tenth grade education. well, all i can tell you is you have got a united states senator who came from parents that didn't have a tenth grade education. to those who believe that how long you go to school determines your character, how many money is in the bank determines your worth, they really don't
understand america. only in america can you do what senator rubio has done, and my parents have long since passed. when i was 21, my mom died. 17 years younger than my dad, we thought he would go first, but life is just not so understandable and predictable. she went first and 15 months later, he passes. my sister was 12. an aunt and uncle helped raise my sister. they never made over $30,000 in their life. they worked in the textile plants, and she has turned out great in spite of having an overbearing brother. but i'm in the united states senate today why? because i live in a country where anything is possible, and there are a lot of self-made people in america. i'm not one of them. if it were not for my family and friends, i would not be here today. to those who say that among this illegal immigrant population they are just not well educated, you have no idea how offensive
that is to a guy like me. so you can take your criticism and we'll just end it at that. 80 million baby boomers are going to retire in the next 40 years. to my good friend from alabama who feels like we have too much legal immigration, you know, i'm taking strom thurmond's place. he got married and started having kids when he was 67. unless all of us start doing that, we have got a problem because in 1955, there were 16 workers for every social security retiree. today there is three. in 20 years, there is going to be two, unless there is a baby boom that i don't see coming. not part of the problem. i'm not married and don't have any kids. unless there is a baby boom that i don't see, we better hope we can improve our legal
immigration system. so to my good friend from alabama, i couldn't disagree with you more. we're going to need a lot more legal immigration than is in this bill. i wish we could do more. so who is going to take care of the baby boomers when we retire? who is going to replace the workers in our economy if we don't have better legal immigration? what did the c.b.o. say about this bill? if you pass this bill, over the next 20 years, you will reduce the deficit by $890 billion. well, how can that be? that means it's good for the economy. how can you reduce the deficit $890 billion if you don't create economic activity? to the american worker, the biggest threat to you is is illl immigration. tell me how it's better for america to continue amnesty, which is doing nothing, paying people under the table, with no regulation.
how does that help the american worker to compete against some person who is being paid under the table? this bill stops that. it brings people out of the shadows on our terms, not theirs. you get to stay here if we decide you can stay. we're regaining our sovereignty that's been lost. how do you get 11 million illegal immigrants in this country? your system is broken from top to bottom. every nation, including america, has the right to control its borders and control who gets a job, and this bill does that, and i am glad to have my name on it, and doing nothing is the worst thing for the american worker. so we're going to stop paying people under the table. we're going to give you access to labor today if you can't find it. have you ever been to a meat-packing plant? well, you go and find out who is working in that plant. mostly hispanics, people from other parts of the world. not because native-born americans are lazy. we have higher hopes. there are parts of our economy, like it or not, that are
dependent upon immigrant labor, and our population is declining and our needs for legal immigration is growing. this bill does that. as it affects the economy, it will increase our g.d.p. by 3.5% over time. because it is good for america to have legal immigration. as to the 11 million, you will be brought out of the shadows and you will stay on our terms. if you committed a felony or multiple misdemeanors, you're not eligible, but here is what we're going to allow. go through a criminal background check, pay a fine, get right with the law, and you will have legal status. here is what you will get to do. you will get to pay taxes like the rest of us and get to know the i.r.s. welcome to america. we're going to create order out of chaos. we're going to get people
working and paying in rather than taking out under the table. and what and what we're going to do above all else, ladies and gentlemen, is we're going to prove to ourselves that we can work together for the common good. i have never been more proud to be involved in an issue than i have trying to fix illegal immigration because it's a national security threat, it's an economic threat, it's a cultural threat. as to my politics, i'm doing great among hispanics in south carolina. the bad news -- the bad news, there are not very many that vote in the republican primary. the good news for me is i think i have tried to work with my colleagues, the gang of eight, our staff to start a process that will pay great dividends. to senator grassley and leahy, thank you to the democratic and republican members.
thank you so much. i have never been more proud to be in the senate than i am today. to my critics, i respect your criticism. thank you for helping debate. to the american people, we're beginning -- slowly but surely -- in your senate, the greatest deliberative body in history -- to come together to do important things. and to the 11 million, you will have a second chance. take advantage of it, embrace the fact that you're being given a second chance. to the american people, our best days lie ahead. and what makes us special -- and i will close with this -- is that being french means you're frej. being german means you're german. being american means nothing about where you come from. being american is an idea that so many people embrace.
ladies and gentlemen, being an american is something everybody wants to be part of, apparently. unfortunately, we can't allow everybody in in a chaotic position -- situation. so i want to thank senator durbin, who's protected the american worker. but i want to tell my colleagues in the senate that this is a day i've been hoping and waiting for. thank you all so very much. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, first let me thank senator graham, senator mccain, senator rubio, senator flake, on our side senator schumer, senator menendez, and my friend, senator bennet. the seven of us came together to create a bill and in the end we did a lot more. we created a bond of friendship and trust and a life experience that none of us will ever forget. now, each of us brought our special pleadings to this
negotiation. i argued for protection of refugees, american workers, access to immigration courts and counsel, reforming the flawed h-1b program, a path to citizenship that was a challenge but fair. but my colleagues knew from the start that there was one issue that was more important to me than any other. madam president, it was 12 years ago -- 12 years ago -- when i first introduced the dream act. i did it for this young woman, teresa lee. they were about to deport her from chicago back to korea. she was 18 years old. she didn't know any other country but the united states. she'd been accepted at the manhattan conservatory of music. she was an outstanding pianist, and she was about to be
deported. i thought that was wrong. and i introduced the dream act to help her, and it turns out hundreds of thousands just like her. incidentally, this story ends well. she finished her education, she is now working on a ph.d. in musicification shmuse music, ann carnegie hall. and she married an american and she is an american. would america have been a better place if she were deported? of course not. over the years the flight of teresa lee and this bill, the dream act, became a cause, a national campaign. in the beginning, teenagers used to come up to me in chicago filled with emotion in the dark of night, meet me at my car with tears in their eyes and say, i'm a dreamer. can you help me? over time their numbers grew and so did their courage. they stood up, as they have so many times in so many places,
and said, i'm willing to fight to be part of america's future. it wasn't easy for them. a few years ago i had a press conference right here in the capitol. i invited the dreamers to come and tell their stories. a hate-filled congressman from colorado called the immigration authorities and said "arrest those kids." well, they weren't arrested. the and they left that press conference even -- and they left that press conference even more determined to see the dream act become a reality. time and again we called the bill to the senate floor and it failed. we just couldn't break the filibuster. two and a half years ago the galleries were filled with dreamers and caps and gowns and we called the bill for a vote, and we lost. 55 votes and we couldn't break the filibuster. one of the saddest meetings i've ever had took place afterwards. i went downstairs and met with these dreamers after the bill failed. their heads were drown and they were crying -- their heads were down and they were crying and
they said, what can we do? i said, i'm never giving up on you; don't give up on me. today i have a message for them -- for gabby, for toulu and all the dreamers in l gallery here and all around the country, your courage inspired us, your determination kept us going, and your faith in the only country you've ever called home has been rewarded. this bill before us has the strongest dream act ever writt written. i listened to my colleagues come to the floor and speak about immigration. those of us who support this bill haven't talk add lot about the details of the bill. we've talked about what it means to us personally in our personal lives. what immigration means to america. so in full disclosure, i have to till, madam president, that the first dreamer in my life was brought to america at the age of 2. she was the child of lithuanian
immigrants and grew up in poverty but was determined to become a citizen. her dream came true when she was naturalized at the age of 24. that was my mother, and i dedicate this vote today to her memory. for anyone in this chamber who believes this is just another vote, go to a naturalization ceremony, watch those new citizens with those flags in their hands, as they take that oath to be part of this country. you cannot help but feel the emotion that coarses through them at the moment. i'm proud to represent the great state of illinois. i am proud to be one of 1,947 americans who have ever had this honor to stand on the floor as a member of the united states senate. we're elected to make this nation better many the eight of us came together across the aisle. we cussed one another, we cheered one another and we wrote
a bill together. now, my fellow colleagues, it is your turn. reach across the aisle and show the american people this senate can still rise to the challenge. show this skeptical nation their faith in our founding fathers will be honored by our generation of senators. i yield the floor. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, i'd like to thank senator durbin for his compelling remarks and his deep and abiding concern for many years concerning the so-called dreamers. i'd like to thank all of my other six colleagues -- five colleagues for their involvement. and i'd also like to thank senator corker and senator hoeven for their involvement, i'd like to thank my colleague, senator flake, for his outstanding work and i'd like to also mention senator lindsey graham who gave his unique per
perspective, as well as my colleague from colorado, senator bennet, and also senator schumer, who has played such an important and valuable leadership role. and the word "friend" is tossed around this body quite often -- perhaps not with as much sincerity as we'd like -- but these seven individuals are my friends. but, more importantly, they are friends of america. they are friends who realize we are sent here by our constituents to achieve results. and i don't know at this particular time of greater issue that we should be involved in. we've heard a lot of personal stories here today, and i am deeply moved by all of them. and there's another human story -- in fact, there are millions of them. and i'd like to tell you a few of them. over the last week, the arizona newspapers have reported that eight bodies were found in the arizona desert. the arizona desert today, my friends, is in triple-digit
temperatures. on june 21, the "arizona republic" reported that "four men may have been dead three days before their bodies were found in the arizona desert by u.s. border patrol agents. two men had mexican identifications and the other two didn't have identification. on june 24, the associated press reported "maricopa county sheriff deputies have found another body in the desert, just days after four bodies were discovered in the same area. no identification was found on the body and there were no signs of trauma or foul play. june 27 -- june 27 -- today -- the arizona daily star reported that -- quote -- "three decomposing bodies were found by tucson sector border patrol agents in the desert over the weekend." the yuma sown reported yesterday, "there have been 12 people rescued from the desert
by yuma sector agents. six others were not located and died in the wilderness." the list goes on and on. since 200 rveght 2007, more tha5 immigrants have died trying to cross our southwest border. these are people who wanted to dhom this country, not because they wanted to do anything but realizerealize the american dre. that's what they risked their lives and in fact gave their lives for. and, yes, they did so illegally. and they're willing to pay a penalty for crossing our border illegally. but shouldn't we give them the same chance that we've given generation after generation of immigrants who have come to this country, wave after wave of irish and italians and jews and poles, and now people from all over the world? shouldn't we do that? isn't it in us to bring 11
million people out of the shadows that are now being exploited and have none of the protections of citizenship? well, how do we address some of these? this legislation does secure the border, and i can tell you from 30 years of being on the border, this bill secures the border and anyone who says it doesn't, does not understand our security needs because i have been there and i have seen the technology, the technology that was developed in iraq and afghanistan which will give us vuferls. yes, there is a bill with 20,000 additional new border patrol agents. but the fact is that the technology that's there now will give us the ability for 100% situational awareness and ability to intercept. i guarantee it to my friends, because i saw it work. and that technology is in being. there's700 miles of fencing.
700 miles. and, my friends, we will also have additional border patrol as we know. what is the dethis bill? the key to this bill is not only the fencing on the border and the border patrol, but it's the 40% of the people who are here illegally who came here and overstayed their visas. they didn't cross the southwest border. so what do we do about that? we dry up the magnet, and that's the everify program, which makes sure that every person who wants to come to this country illegally will know that that person cannot get a job here. and we will have within five years an everify system that i am confident and more importantly so are the people who are really knowledgeable that that will be a fool-proof system with 95% effectiveness. this legislation will not only give us a secure border, but it will address the key element
because people who now want to come here illegally will know that they cannot, and employers will know that if they hire someone who is here illegally, they will pay a severe penalty for doing soavment weaver got to dry up the magnet. so today there's 11 million people. they're in violation. and they don't have the protection of our laws. i'd like to mention again about the people who are coming across our borders much there is a king called coyotes? they're drug tar tell people. most evil people on earth. they take these people and they bring them across the border and many times the reason why we find these bodies in the desert, they say, we're leaving you. tucson is right over the hill. ask thousands have died in the desert. and you know what they do sometimes when they get them all up to phoenix? they keep them in drophouses, jam them together and they hold them for ransom under the most unspeakable conditions. and do you know what else they do? they abuse the people that they bring up.
and i won't go into the details of -- of how they do that. it's an unacceptable situation. $50,000 mexican -- 50,000 mexican citizens have been killed by the drug cartels. last year, hundreds of migrants were missing and killed, in mexico, more than 20,000 were kidnapped and many are regularly beaten. the mexican government doesn't know exactly how to handle this situation and it's all complicated by drugs, which we are creating the demand for. madam president, i -- i've had the great opportunity in my life to have many experiences and one i'll never forget was in -- july 4 of 2007. senator lindsey graham, senator joe lieberman, my beloved friend and i, were in baghdad for 4th of july. general pa tree's had requeste d we speak at a reenlisting ceremony where 300 were
reenlisting to stay and fight. there was another group of 80-some who were green cardholders who because they joined the military had an accelerated path to citizenship. i was honored to be there, i was honored to speak to them. in the front row, there was four empty seats, four empty seats with boots on them, men and women -- men who were green cardholders who had lost their lives in combat in the previous 48 hours. men who had been willing to risk their lives and serve our country in order to be citizens of this country. i've never been so deeply moved. madam president, let's give these 11 million people the chance to do the same. i yield. [applause] mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i know that the gang of eight members who were responsible for the basic framework of this legislation have done tremendous
work and have advanced our -- the substance and tone of our discussion immeasurably since 2007, which is the last time we had a major immigration bill on the floor. and i think the american people now understand that the status quo is simply unacceptable. we have a broken immigration system which, in the words of my friend from florida, marco rubio, is effectively de facto amnesty. because we have a system that is lawless and it's uncontrolled and it operates neither in the best interests of our country economically nor represents our values. the american people are famously generous and compassionate. as a society, we believe in second chances. all of us have benefited from second chances in life and i believe the american people believe that those who have come here to america in violation of
our immigration laws, that if they're willing to step up, pay a fine, register and live in compliance with our laws, that they should get a second chance, too. as a matter of fact, polling shows that the american people support a permanent legalization program for 11 million immigrants living in the united states but only -- only -- if they are convinced that the congress has made sure that they will never, ever have to do this again. in other words, i believe that the american people believe that the borders were controlled, if they believed we had a biometric entry-exit system which would track visitors who enter the country and who never leave, which is 40% of immigration, if they believed we actually had an effective everify or employment verification system that would determine at the work site that when someone shows up
to work, that they are legally qualified to work in america -- i believe that if we had those three legs to the stool in pla place, that the american people would do once again the generous thing, the compassionate thing and give second chances to the 11 million people who are here. but the problem with this bill -- and i say this more out of sadness than anything else -- the promises of this bill have simply not been kept. we were told six months ago that the pathway to citizenship was contingent upon border security and these other enforcement measures being taken place, when when it wasn't, i introduced an amendment which would condition the transfer from probationary status to legal permanent residency on a certification that the objectives on operational security of the border had been met. i believe that by doing so, we
would realign all the incentives for the political parties, for independents, for conservatives, for liberals, everybody would be focused like a laser on how do we get this done, how do we hit that mark. and i believe if we had had a mechanism in this bill which did not depend on congress keeping future promises of performance, i believe that we could regain the trust and confidence of the american people such that we could get to a successful outcome. unfortunately, as you know, the proposal i made to do exactly that has been rejected and, in fact, the assistant democratic leader has made the point, recently in june, that permanent legalization has now been delinked from border security. but i believe the problems of this legislation go well beyond the border. the solution my colleagues have offered is, when i offered 5,000 border patrol, i was told that
even though the gang of eight bill offered zero border patrol, i was told that that was a budget buster, it was simply unaffordable. 5,000 new border patrol. but now we find 20,000 additional border patrol provided for in this bill. and now we've been told that we have essentially a surge of law enforcement to the border and a huge investment in new technology and boots on the ground. but you know, the only thing missing is a plan to make sure that those people are actually effectively deployed and that technology will actually be deployed in a way that secures the border. so, you know, i know the surge worked in afghanistan but i'm not so sure we need a militar military-type surge in south texas and particularly in the absence of any plan to make sure people are going to be effectively utilized. what's more, madam president, i would say i don't believe that
the promises made in this bill will ever be kept. i don't believe we'll ever have an extra 20,000 border patrol agents. i don't believe the huge investment in technology will ever be made because it depends not just on this congress and this administration but future congresses and future administrations. so you have in h essence the american people being asked to grant the gift of a pathway to citizenship, to demonstrate the typical american belief in second chances and demonstrate their compassion, but in essence they've been tricked once again to trade that in exchange for hollow promises of future acti action. and i just think it's an unacceptable deal. the problems with this legislation also extend beyond that. this bill grants immediate legal status to people with multiple misdemeanors and convictions for driving while intoxicated and spousal abuse.
as a matter of fact, you can have been deported out of the country for having committed a crime and yet be eligible for reentry into the country and eligible for probationary status under this bill. i think that's shocking. i understand why we would want to give people who are economic miemigrants an opportunity to gt right with the law and to get on with their lives, but why in the world would we want to extend that generosity to people who've shown nothing but contempt for the rule of law? well, this bill also hinders law enforcement by making confidential the information contained in applications for probationary status that are rejected. this happened back in 1986 and i remember a quote in the -- i believe it was from the senior senator from new york after that time to the effect that that was one of the biggest sources of fraud in the amnesty of 1986. and my hope would be we would not repeat that mistake again by
keeping that information confidential and away from law enforcement authorities in effort to root out fraud and make sure that only people who legally qualify for this generosity are able to do so. the other problem with this bill is it simply is a budget buster. i was told that 5,000 border patrol agents that would be paid for out of the $8.3 billion trust fund created by this bill was too much. but now we have $30 billion more in additional spending being promised. and the argument is that somehow this is free money and it doesn't cost a penny because under the c.b.o. score, there will actual be a reduction in deficits. but the problem is, that's double counting the money. it's the money that's coming into the treasury because of people who are now on -- who are now registered who are paying into social security and the like. but it takes that money to spend on these other programs and doesn't appreciate or recognize
the fact that money is also going to need to be available to pay future benefits for these same people. that's double counting. that's phony bookkeeping and we ought to reject it. the truth is, this bill adds to the budget debt of an additional roughly $14 billion, as presently written, at a time when our debt is at $17 trilli $17 trillion. it strikes me as the wrong thing to do to say we're going to add further to that debt and to jeopardize our fiscal health for the country as a whole going forward. so, madam president, i would just close with this. it gives me great pain to say that i think this is an opportunity that we have failed to take advantage of. i think we could have done better and we should have done better and this bill is unworthy of my support and unworthy of the support of a number of members. but my hope is that the house of representatives takes up this issue and we can somehow find
our way to a conference committee with the house and produce a bill that eventually we can put on the president's desk. it will not be like this bill. i'm confident of that. the house has far different views. but what we do have that we didn't have in 2007 is i think a true bipartisan consensus that the status quo is unacceptable. we've got to do better. unfortunately, this bill doesn't keep the promises that were made originally, and for that i truly regret it. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: madam president, we're now approaching the final hour of this debate on how to fix our broken immigration system, a debate we've been having for three weeks here on the senate floor, for seven months among the gang of eight, and for decades in this nation. i want to profoundly thank my colleagues in the gang of eight. i'll have more to say about each of them after we vote and all of my staff who did such a great job.
madam president, when i look out my window from my home in brooklyn, i see the torch of lady liberty shining brightly, and i can see and feel the promise of america, the covenant of america. you see, there's an unwritten covenant between america and those who emigrate here. it says, if you come here with a dream, with a will to work hard, follow the rules and contribute, we'll give you a chance to become an american and in the process to make america a better place than it was before you got here. in choosing this country, whether it's my friend, marco rubio's parents from cuba or my grandparents and great-grandparents who fled persecution from europe, immigrants bring an appreciation for the choices and opportunities that are unique to america. they often love america even more than native born americans, and we sometimes take that appreciation for grand. -- for granted. it's therefore, not a surprise, madam president, that c.b.o.
says this bill will grow our economy by 3.3% over the next ten years and 5.4% over the next 20. c.b.o. has simply enumerated a concept that many of us already knew -- immigrants have always been the greatest engine of economic growth, innovation and renewal that this country has ever known. there is no greater economic engine than the long hours immigrants work with no complaint for the chance to achieve economic stability and prosperity for themselves and their families. according to c.b.o., it's a far greater engine for economic growth than any spending program that democrats might traditionally propose or any tax cut republicans might traditionally propose. whether it's highly-skilled immigrants inventing new technologies or lower-skilled immigrants toiling in our fields or all those inbetween, immigrants have been an
essential component to our american success story. to reject this basic truth in this vote today would be a direct rebuke to the lady who shines so brightly in new york's harbor. but just like today, our history has had many other instances where the fate of the american covenant with our immigrants has been tested, and in the end it has always survived -- stronger than it was before. it it survived because all of us know if america is to remain the greatest nation in the world, a beacon of hope and freedom for all to aspire to we must always live up to the covenant that is represented by the great lady in the harbor and this bill is our best chance and maybe our last chance to maintain that covenant through the next generation of americans and to maintain the greatness of america. this bill includes input from almost every member of this body. i can't think of two more vocal critics of the bill than the
senators from alabama and iowa but even they have amended this bill in multiple places to make it better. that's what makes this bill strong. that's what makes this bill good. it has garnered support from the most diverse coalition of groups any groups that ever seen. the u.s. chamber of commerce, afl-cio, the faith community, including evangelicals and catholics, the high-tech community, america's farmers and farm workers, the law enforcement community, the immigrant rights community. now, what does this bill do? simply put, it does three simple things. it will prevent future waves of illegal immigration. it will provide a tremendous boost for the american economy by rationalizing future legal immigration. and it will fairly and conclusively address the status of people currently here illegally. let's look at the actual facts of what this bill does to end illegal immigration.
if the bill passes, anyone who wants to try and cross the border illegally will have to get over an 18-foot steel pedestrian fence, past border patrol agents standing every thousand feet apart from brownsville to san diego. future waves of illegal immigration will be passed if this bill is passed and that's not a wish, not a hope, it's a fact. people have argued we should not pass this bill because past efforts have failed to prevent illegal immigration. but let's not be so defeatist that we throw our hands up and declare we're incapable of learning from our past mistakes. under this logic, under their logic, the famous expression would be changed. when you fall off a bicycle, make sure you never ride a bicycle again. finally, i don't countenance the way the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our midst got here but they are here now and deporting all of them is unpractical,
unrealistic and wrong to consider. our bill will tell these individuals if they're willing to keep their end of the covenant, their road may be harder and longer than everyone else's road, a ten-year probationary period, no benefits or assistance of any kind, but it, too, can end with given the chance to earn american citizenship if they work hard and pay taxes and play by the rules. so the bill is the right thing to do from top to bottom. it has more deficit reduction than our best deficit ruing packages. it will stimulate the economy more than any stimulus bill. and it will make our border more secure than it has ever been in our history. so now there are simply no more legitimate excuses to vote against this bill. opponents of the bill have given three stated excuses for opposing the bill each of which has been resoundingly refuted. they say the process is unfair but it's the most open process we've seen in a long time. they said it was going to bust the budget and take away
american jobs, c.b.o. refuted that. finally they said the bill won't secure the border but we have the toughest border security in any immigration bill ever written. here is what a-vote against this bill says. it says it would be nice to reduce the debt but not if it helps immigrants. it would be nice to grow the economy but not if it helps immigrants. it would be nice to end illegal immigration but not if it helps immigrants. those are the three stated reasons. the only reason left to vote against this bill is the unstated reason, opposition to a path to citizenship for the 11 million. make no mistake about it, the support generated -- the support this bill has generated here in the senate will make it impossible to ignore. i believe the support this bill will receive today in the senate will propel it to pass the house and be placed for signature on the president's desk by the end
of the year. that's because in our hearts, we know that immigrants have always been part of the fabric of america. while there have always been people who have rejected immigrants from the no-nothings to the executionists, we've always seen the better angels of our nature prevail in the end. at times like these when our better ainge else are tested to reject -- angels are tested, to reject this bill would declare that america no longer seeks to be the shining city on the hill that attracts and is admired by people around the globe. pass this bill, and let's keep the american covenant alive. pass this bill and let the bright torch of lady liberty continue to shine brightly as a beacon to those around the globe for generations to come. i yield the floor.
mr. sessions: i thank the chair. as i've looked at the legislation and we've wrestled with what goes in it, i would just share with my colleagues my perspective having been in charge of enforcing federal laws in the interior of the country, we need to understand a couple of things. the border is very important. there's been wide-open illegality at our borders for years. san diego a number of years ago were having drugs, crime, violence, and they built a fence and prosperity rose on both sides of the fence, crime went down. and it just had to be done and they've been very happy with it. and that helps a lot, and it's not at all impossible for us to get our border under control today. it's not -- requires that much more than current capacity, but what we need is an absolute
commitment from the president and the director of homeland security to get that done. and we've lacked that. so -- but i want to move beyond just the requirements of the border. there are other areas that are critical to having a lawful system of immigration. those include entry-exit visas and that includes a workplace enforcement. under current law, congress has passed -- and actually there have been six laws to this effect in the last ten years -- these laws require that there be an entry-exit biometric visa system at all land, sea, and airports. the 9/11 commission recommended that. the 9/11 commission when they had a review of what had been done toward accomplishing their recommendations, they went back to it and warned that we had not completed it. it's current law that requires a biometric entry-exit system.
people who come into our country today are fingerprinted. but when they leave the country, they're not checked. so we don't know when they got their visa and they entered the country whether or not they ever left. the arguments have been made it would cost billions and billions of dollars, but a pilot project which i just discovered recently -- i didn't know was there -- dealt with a pilot project at atlanta and one of the other airports. in atlanta, they did this: a person goes through the airport to depart from the united states, they go by a hand-held fingerprint reading machine, police officers have them on their cars, they can stop a drunk driver and check their fingerprints right on the side of the road. you put your finger on that, they go out of the gate, and you know whether or not they've
gathered the country. -- departed the country. so this is a significant technological advancement. it works, and in atlanta when they did that, they caught over a hundred people on the watch list, people who had felony warrants out for them. people on the terrorist watch list. and they knew -- and we have a record of the people who left the country. that is critical to our system. we've almost gotten there, but there has been a failure to see it happen because some people don't want it to happen. that is not in this legislation. this bill eliminates the requirement of a biometric system, and it eliminates the requirement we have an exit system at the border. it's only air and sea. that's a major diminishment of an absolutely critical part of our system. it's going to be even more critical, why will it be more critical? because we'll have a doubling of
the number of people who come to our country on visas. and we're going to have an increased problem of visa overstays. the congressional budget office warned of that in the report. it's obvious, the citizenship and immigration services and the i.c.e. officers have warned it repeatedly to us in their letters. so this has got to be a part of our system. it just has to be. and the fact that it's not in there indicates that the people who drafted the bill had no real interest in seeing enforcement be enhanced but actually wanted to allow the enforcement to be weakened. that's a nonstarter. this has been in the law for over ten years. and so the i.c.e. officers have told us, look, 40% itself people now that are here illegally came by visa overstays, but that's going to increase dramatically for a lot of reasons and one of them is we're going to double the number of people that come by visas
under this bill. so they've warned us that you can't have -- warned us that this concern about a de facto amnesty will continue because we have no people on the interior of the united states to enforce the law. you're going to 40,000 border patrol agents but only 5,000 people inside the interior of the entire united states of america. and this president as part of his systematic plan to stop enforcement as sued states and broken the 286-g agreements with states that allow them to participate and help the i.c.e. officers do their job. states can't prosecute people, states can't deport people. but states can, as part of their job when a police officer arrests somebody for a crime or drunk driving and they identify them as being illegally in the country, they can take them to the i.c.e. officer and help them do their job, and there are
agreements to this effect. what has happened? this administration has eliminated those agreements and canceled the program. i helped write the program. lots of states were participating happily in it. and were not being forced to do anything they didn't want to do, but it allowed them to be more effective in doing their jobs. so the problem is when you see that missing in this 1,200-page bill but you see provision after provision after provision that focuses on other issues, focuses on issues important to special interests who helped write the bill, you begin to get suspicious about what's happening. and that's why the i.c.e. officers and the citizenship and immigration service were so concerned about not being able to participate in the program effectively and to share their
views. but it's clear, they didn't want their views. so president obama, although it's been maintained pretty carefully that he wasn't involved in writing the legislation, appears he quite clearly was, they're not happy with the i.c.e. officers. the i.c.e. officers have actually sued secretary napolitano for stopping them from enforcing the law that they have sworn to enforce. they say they're being required to violate their oath and their commitment to the law by policies from politicians in the homeland security department. they've written it in letter after letter after letter after letter, openly saying the politicians in the department are overriding the law, directing us and undermining our ability to do what we're sworn to do. and they have a lawsuit pending about it. i never heard of that, that
officers would do that. and then we've got the confusion over the everify system. senator portman improved the bill dramatically with his amendment or would have. he was not able to get it up for a vote. but the everify system is in place today and it's utilized by governments and by contractors who do work for the government. and i think people who want to voluntarily use it can use it. and and you give a social security number to your boss or your employer-to-be and he runs it and checks. and what they find is that many illegal workers are using the same social security number as the other people, and the computer and the social security department catches that, and it tells the employer there are six different people using this social security number. you shouldn't hire this person until it's been checked out. so that's a way this everify
system works. it takes about three minutes. it has a 99% correct rate. and but the forces out there have blocked the legislation for everify, even this minimum standard that's operating today, we had to fight, fight, fight to even get an extension. i had to hold up legislation to guarantee that they would at least extend the current system because there are forces out there that put up big money that do not like this price. they do not like it. they want to end it, and they are afraid that it will be expanded. but any plan that pretends to be serious about workplace enforcement has to utilize the everify. well, this bill, instead of just making the system -- expanding it, which wouldn't take much
effort, the computers are capable of handling the numbers, instead of just doing that, then they have -- they have done it in a way that delays it for five years. so this to me indicates that there is not an intensity of interest after the amnesty has been given, after people have been given legal status, they will be given a social security number. they won't be hurt by having to have their number checked. they will have a legitimate social security number, and they will be legally able to take any job out there. but the people who come in later, the people who didn't qualify, the people who otherwise were criminals and don't -- shouldn't be getting a job and don't qualify for the provisional status, they won't be identified for years under this system. it indicates a lack of seriousness in the commitment. so i would -- i see senator
grassley is here. i would conclude, madam president, by saying there are -- i would just wrap up by saying that creating a lawful system of immigration requires more than border enforcement. border enforcement is important, but you have to have interior enforcement, you have to have workplace enforcement, you have to have entry-exit visa enforcement. this is absolutely critical, and as i have been stressing that we haven't talked enough about here is the bill also sets out of its 1,200 pages the future flow of workers into america. and our colleagues have said it's a merit-based system, and we have a points system. unfortunately, that's not
substantially correct. it looks to us like less than 15% of the people will enter into our country under their plan by a merit-based system. canada does that. they are very happy with it. i think about 60% of their people do. so the more education you have, the more job skills you have, the more fluency you have in the language, you get more points. under this merit -- this merit-based system that has about 15% of the people covered by a point system, the fact that you're a brother is equal to ten points. if you have got a four-year college degree, that's only equal to five. it takes a master's degree to get ten points, to equal to the family connection points. so the points system is still heavily skewed to things other than actual job skills, education level and ability to be productive and flourish in
our society. we want to bring people to our country who are going to be able to flourish, do well, be able to find a job, not be unemployed. or if the only skill they have is one that americans applying for in big numbers and they would take a job from an american, unemploying an american. so we have got to create a system that serves the national interests and identify the kind of workers that the country needs and can absorb as a part of our overall million or so people that we admit each year lawfully into america. that makes sense to me, and also the guest worker programs are exceedingly complex. there is w programs, there is e- programs, there is different kinds of programs throughout this bill. the net result is the number of people that come not to be permanent citizens, not to be immigrants but to come as guest workers will double under this
legislation. and that makes it harder for the legal immigrant, who is now new in america, trying to find work, to get a job if they are having to compete with guest workers. those are the kind of things we need to be thinking about as we go forward. i want to express my appreciation to the ranking member of the judiciary committee, senator chuck grassley. he has been a student of this problem since 1986. he's shared with us his perspective on it, and he has a deep conviction that if we go through this process again, it needs to be done in a way that we can be proud of a few years later, not be embarrassed about as we were after 1986. we would create a system that allows lawful flow to occur but stops illegal flow in the future, and that's the problem that i think this legislation has, among others. senator grassley, thank you for
your efforts and good work. i have enjoyed working with you. and senator leahy, who conducted a tough series of hearings, but he let us have votes, and we had a lot of votes in judiciary committee, and he asked did anybody else have another amendment when we finished, and we got it done. that hadn't happened on the floor today. we have only had nine votes and three of those were motions to table, very important amendments that deserve more consideration than that. i thank the chair, would yield the floor. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i would like to make an inquiry about time. we were supposed to start final -- the last 20 minutes. is it okay if i start now with my final remarks? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: my colleagues have often heard me speak of my
opposition to the legislation that's before us. they haven't heard me speak about my opposition to immigration reform. as i have said so many times on this floor and in committee or even to the press. there is -- i haven't heard a single senator say that the status quo ought to be maintained. now, there is a lot of opinions about what should be done, so as we have seen over the last few weeks, immigration is an emotional issue that engenders strong feelings from both sides of the aisle. saying it for a second time. everyone wants reform, but everyone has their own ideas and different solutions. coming in to the debate, i think my position has been very, very clear, and i made it very clear because i have the experience of
the 1986 legislation, and that was legislation legalizing, and it didn't solve the problem. we screwed up in 1986 by not securing the border first, even though we had the intention that that would happen. today, we're right back at the same place, talking about the same problems, proposing the same solutions. unfortunately, the process hasn't allowed us to fundamentally improve the bill. we have been able to vote -- we haven't been able to vote up or down on commonsense amendments. there has been 550 amendments filed. we have taken up about a dozen. despite the fact that the american people want the border secured before we provide a path to legalization, there appears to be a majority of this body
that believe legalization must come first, and next monday and tuesday, i will be holding 11 town meetings in washington -- in iowa, and i know what i am going to hear from my people, that, yeah, we need immigration legislation, but first we need to enforce the laws that are already on the books before you consider anything new. despite what the gang of eight wrote in their framework for immigration reform, legalization is not -- emphasis upon not contingent upon our success in securing our borders and addressing visa overstays. the bill won't ensure that a future congress isn't back here 25 years dealing with the very same problems. we need a bill that ensures results. we need a bill that puts security before legalization,
not the other way around. we're a nation based upon the rule of law. we have a right to protect our sovereignty and a duty to protect the homeland. any border security measures we pass must be real and more importantly be immediate, not ten years down the road. we also need meaningful interior enforcement, including allowing immigration officers to do their job and work with state and local officials. enforcement of the immigration laws has been lax, and increasingly selective in the last few years, because federal immigration enforcement officers have been handicapped from doing their job, the states have tried to step in, but every time the states tried to step in under the tenth amendment to protect their citizens when the federal government wouldn't do it, they
have been denied the opportunity to control their own borders. the unfortunate reality is that the bill does almost nothing to strengthen interior enforcement efforts. it does nothing to encourage cooperation between federal, state and local governments. the federal government will continue to look the other way, look the other way as millions of new people enter this country undocumented. meanwhile, the bill gives the states no new authority to act when the federal government refuses. one of the major reasons why immigration is a subject of significant public interest is the failure of the federal government to enforce existing laws. 11 million people have unlawfully entered the country or overstayed their visas because the federal government did not deter them or take
action to remove them. the bill significantly weakens current criminal laws and will hinder the ability of law enforcement to protect americans from criminal undocumented aliens. in addition to weakening current law, the bill does very little to deter criminal behavior in the future. it ignores sanctuary cities and increases the threshold required for actions of what constitutes a crime, and regrettably the bill is weak on foreign national criminal street gang members. an amendment that i tried to offer but we couldn't get the other side to want to vote on whether or not gang members ought to be denied benefits of this immigration law. furthermore, the bill falls short in protecting american workers who need and want jobs in this country, while i support
allowing businesses to bring in foreign workers, they should only do so when qualified americans are -- are not available. i have long argued that we must enhance and expend opportunities for people who wish to work legally in the country, yet as we do that, we cannot forget the american worker. we need to fight for them as well. finally, i emphasize with people -- i emphasize with people who come into this country to have a better life, we're proud of our country. those of us born here don't appreciate how great this country is. when i talk to naturalization ceremonies in my state, i tell the new citizens you're new here, you came from another land where you know things are a lot different than they are here. when you hear americans belly ache about our great country, i
hope you'll tell these americans that were born here, including this american, that this is the best country in the world. and how it's different from your own country that you came here for a better life. we're a compassionate people and we're also the best country in the world, but we're a great country because we've always abided by the rule of law. the rule of law is what makes opportunities that we have possible. so i'm going to vote against this bill today. that's no surprise to anybody. but i have hopes for a better product to come out of a conference committee. i hope i can vote for a bill to go to the president of the united states. my hope is that we will send a bill to the president that will make america stronger, make our borders more secure and make our immigration system more effective. that's what americans deserve and what we have a responsibility to deliver. i yield the floor.
mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. leader. mr. reid: i'm telling all senators if they're not in their seats when the time arrives i'm going to have a live quorum. we're going to have everybody here when the vote starts. i know people are anxious to leave, but they better be here or i'm going to have a live quorum and it will take a lot longer. the presiding officer: yes, mr. leader. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask -- the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. leahy: -- the attention of the senator from iowa. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. leahy: would senator from iowa yield me five minutes? mr. grassley: i would yield you six minutes. i'm glad tough have it. i want to thank you.
you had a fair and open process on our committee. there wasn't a single member that didn't get a chance to offer his amendments. that's the way the process ought to work, and you made it work that way. the presiding officer: the senator has 6 minutes. mr. leahy: madam president, i thank the distinguished senator from iowa for his comments. he also deserves credit. we worked very closely on this with the schedule and everything else to make sure all people are heard. madam president, our america's story is a story of immigration. it's not only our history, it is our future. over the last few weeks many of us have spoken about our own families' immigration stories. we all have such stories. i heard the distinguished democratic whip, senator durbin, speak of the very moving story of his family and we've talked
about our parents and grandparents seeking better lives for us. we can all relate to the most compelling, innate urge to sacrifice for the ones we love. we inspired by our forebearers who wanted better lives for us and for themselves and found those opportunities here in america. they taught us the fundamental values of family and hard work and fairness. and with this legislation, we honor those american values. we honor their search for freedom, for prosperity and for the promise that america set out to so many for so long. madam president, i am proud to be a member of the united states senate. today is a good day for the senate. more importantly it is a good day for the country. today with the help of many senators we'll address a complex problem that is hurting our families and stifling our economy, threatening our
security. several months ago four democrats and four republicans began negotiating and drafting reform legislation, immigration reform legislation. they produced a carefully balanced, fair and humane proposal that at its core is intended to make many improvements to border security and, most importantly, help millions of people who dream the same dreams our ancestors did. i'm proud of the role the judiciary committee has played in this process, and i thank the senators of both parties who have praised that role. in late april the full participation of all 18 members of the senate judiciary committee, with unprecedented transparency, with fairness to all offered amendments had the chance to debate them, we held public markups to consider that legislation. over 37 hours during the course of three weeks we engaged in vigorous debate in full view of the american public. we considered 212 amendments from democrats and republicans.
we approved 136 amendments in a room filled with spectators on both sides of the issue. the amendments approved in committee 47 were republican amendments and all but 3 were adopted in a bipartisan vote. even the staunchest opponents of this legislation praised that fairness. the world has never seen such a vibrant, cohesive, economically exuberant experiment as our country and every one of us as americans should be proud of that. but a key ingredient of our successful formula has been and will continue to be immigrants anxious to be part of the american experience. they've helped us to be a nation in constant renewal, welcoming and using this constant influx of fresh talent and energy. just as my grandparents and my wife marcelle's grandparents
made vermont and america better, they have made us better. and so today is another historic day in the senate. the senate will soon complete its work and remedies for a difficult and complex set of issues that's alluded -- aleaded us for years. we passed immigration reform legislation in 2006 under the leadership of the distinguished senator's predecessor, the distinguished presiding officer's predecessor, senator ted kennedy. after the senate worked, the house of representatives declined to take up the senate bill. i hope that won't happen again. this issue is far too important to ignore or allow it to languish. we shouldn't play politics with what is quintessentially an american issue. at this moment i'd like to think of my dear friend senator ted kennedy is smiling down on this chamber. see him right over -- sitting right over there, he would be overjoyed to see us pass this legislation, an issue he cared about deeply. i'd like to think our old friend would be proud of what we're
doing. in a very few minutes the senate will vote to pass a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system. it will reunite families, it will bring millions of people out of the shadows into our legal system. it will spur job growth and reduce our deficit. it will make us safer. so i'd urge all senators join with us to ensure a bright future for this great nation we all love by passing comprehensive immigration reform and doing so you make us an even greater nation than we are. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: who yields time? the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you, madam president. i appreciate both leaders giving some time for this. several of us have been working all week on a package of amendments that were bipartisan and cleared by both senator grassley and senator hatch's staff. we appreciate their work so much. we're unfortunately not able to get unanimous consent. we tried. i want to thank them very, very much for their effort. they stuck with us all the way to the end. hopefully this bill begins to build a bipartisan coalition of senators that want to really solve problems for our country. our coalition that worked on this, which are both people for the bill and against the bill, were not able to get it cleared. we're not discouraged. we're going to continue to work. and i want to thank senator
hatch and senator grassley. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. leader. mr. reid: if we could have order. the presiding officer: order. the senate will be in order. take your conversations outside, please. the senate will be in order. mr. reid: madam president, we're here today to talk about people, not pages of legislation . this bill represents human beings, real people. yes, immigrants. i'm going to talk about two of
them today. over 20 years ago a man crossed the rio grande river in a rubber raft. she was four years old. she was a baby. madam president, it's hard -- there's really a lot of stuff going on here. the presiding officer: the national will be in order. mr. reid: i know everyone wants to leave. but i'd appreciate it if everybody would be quiet. astrid crossed the rio grande river with her mom. she had a little dress on, patent leather shoes. she was four years old. she doesn't remember mexico, the country where she was born, but she does remember the day she left mexico.
she cried. she cried because the only thing she could take with her was her batmismal cross and a cross. her mother cried because she knew although the river was narrow it was dangerous. swift and dangerous. but mother and daughter survived, ducked under a border fence, began their new lives in america. a decade passed before astrid realized she had come to america illegally without proper immigration papers. her parents cautiously, slowly explained this to their daughter. astrid's eighth grade class was going to leave las vegas to take a trip to the nation's capital. astrid couldn't go. she didn't go. her parents were afraid to let her travel for fear she would be
arrested. she was undocumented. flying without proper identification meant running the risk of being detained or deported. a few years later when astrid's friends learned to drive, she was once again separated from her friends. she couldn't learn to drive. she didn't have even the right to study for the driver's test because she wasn't eligible. when astrid's classmates headed off to schools across the country, she stayed home. she couldn't leave. so she went to school at a local community college. astrid has accepted every challenge, every setback with grace, knowing the obstacles could never outweigh the advantages of growing up in the united states, her home. then four years ago astrid's grandmother died. neither astrid nor her father
could go to mexico because her dad was also undocumented. they weren't able to go to the funeral. if she left the united states, you see, she couldn't come back. she couldn't come back to the only country she had ever called home. then there came a time, it came slowly, mr. president, very cautiously, but finally astrid knew it was time to raise her voice. in effect, she had had enough. it was time for her to come out of the shadows, share her story with her friends and with others. but a lot of her friends were just like her, and she could -- and they could share stories with each other. so it was time for her, her classmates and many in her community to learn who astrid silver really was. so she spoke up. she told her story. she decided to find a public
place where i would be, a public event, and give me the first of many heartfelt letters. mr. president, i only have a few of them. a few of them didn't make it to my office. but i appreciated each and every one of those letters. astrid became very quickly a dreamer. one of the lrs i remember so well. she said in the letter, words to this effect, "i've never stolen even a piece of gum, but i feel like a criminal, though i know i'm not a criminal." soy appreciate every one of those letters she sent me because each was a reminder of what is at stake in this debate, a debate that involves our neighbors, friends, and, yes, relatives. each note, each letter indicates that to me. this bipartisan legislation the
senate is poised to pass in just a few minutes doesn't just secure our borders or just mend our broken legal i am ietion system, but -- immigration system, but this legislation is what astrid has advocated, what the dreams have advocated. this what she and millions have hoped for and, yes, mr. president, prayed for. the bill paves the way for people just like astrid, people who are american in all but paper whereby. it allows them to become full participants in our society. immigrants founded this country and built it into the superpower it is today. mr. president, immigrants just like israel goldfarb, he left russia. he was jewish, was being purse cuted, he and his family. so he came to america as a boy. now you this man was my wife's dad. now, mr. president, i often
think of him for a lot of reasons. he died as a real young man. and perhaps a lot of people think that he didn't contribute much to our society. he had one child, my wonderful wife. and now we have 16 grandchildren so he contributed that. five children, 16 grandchildren. mr. president, on his deathbed, as i said as a young map, he mae gave me his ring. i've worn this ring for many, many years. take it off at night, put it on every day. this watch i have --
mr. president, my watch stopped running a couple of months ago and the jeweler said i.t. broken, i.t. worn out, i.t. 50 years old. it's an old-fashioned watch. you have to wind it every morning. but they fixed it. i got the watch back. it is good for another 50 years. mr. president, i could buy a different watch, but i'm not one it buy a different watch. these are who i am, and they remind me every day of this man who came to america as israel goldfarb and, like all of his family, changed his name to earl gould. my wife was a soft more in high school when i met her her. she is landra gould. this bipartisan legislation that we're poised to pass in just a little while doesn't just secure our border borders and mend ourn
legal immigration system. this legislation has been advocated and p it paves the way for people like astrid. frankly, people like my father-in-law, may he rest in peace. it acknowledges the contributions of generations of immigrants who founded this country. this historic legislation recognizes that today's immigrants came for the right reason, the same reason that generations before them, the same as israel goldfarb -- to achieve a dream we take for nts grayed, the right to live in a land that's free. ted kennedy said it best, from jamestown to the pilgrims to the irish to today's workers, people have come to this country in search of opportunity. they've sought nothing more than a chance to work hard and bring a better life to themselves and their families. they came to our country with their hearts and minds full of
hope. that's what he said. the bipartisan legislation before the united states senate today respects and fulfills that hope -- the hope, the prayer of astrid and millions just like her. it will help 11 million people tired of looking over their shoulders and fearing deportation to get right with the law and start down the pathway to citizenship. the path is going to be really hard -- penalties, fines, work, pay taxes, stay out of trouble, learn english. but they're willing to do that, every one of them. it will mean going to the back of the line. it's tough, i repeat, but it's fair, and above all, it's very practical. it makes unprecedented investments in our borders. it cracks down on crooked employers like senator mccain talked about earlier today, who exploit and abuse immigrant workers. and it reforms our legal immigration system.
this legislation will be good for america's national security as well as its economic securi security. mr. president, this will reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars. how's that for economic security? six years ago, the last time we considered a sweeping immigration overhaul, led by senators mccain and, yes, that good man who became secretary of interior, ken salazar. that didn't work. prospects were -- for a bipartisan solution were very dim. on the last day of the immigration bill, it fell because of a procedural rule. ted kennedy urged those of us who believed deeply in this cause to keep the faith. here's what he said. "we'll be back and we will prevail. america always finds a way to solve its problems," ted said. "expand its frontiers and move closer to its ideals.
it is not always easy but it is the american way." that's what ted kennedy said. because of the gang of eight, these courageous senators -- four democrats, four democrats, four republicans -- schumer, durbin, menendez and, of course, the quiet one who did so much, senator bennet. i admire john mccain. he and i came to the congress together more than 31 years ago. we came to the senate together. have we fought with each other? oh, yeah. but we care a great deal about each other. mr. president, john mccain, no matter what happens, i will be his friend and he will be my friend. i admire what he's done. he was truly a leader, as he has been for so long in this country. lindsey graham.
mr. president, he's up for reelection. is this a badge of courage? it sure is. marco rubio, jeff flake. i admire every one of them. and i'm not going to forget about bob corker. i'm not going to forget about mentioning governor hoeven. they allowed us to get votes with this. i will always admire these two, again, courageous men who stepped forward, stepped out of the crowd and did something that was right. so, mr. president, they're wonderful, all of them. you see, senator kennedy knew the day would come when a group of senators, divided by party but united by love of country, would see the fight to the finish and that's what we did. that's what these ten men allowed us to do.
and i'm not going to ever forget about the man seated right behind me, senator leahy. his markup will go down in history. it was the way that we are here today. he's my friend. i will always admire how he handles everything he does but especially what he did on this bill. so the day is today. and while i'm sad that senator kennedy isn't here to see history made, i know that he is looking at us proudly and loudly. remember that voice? but, you know, mr. president, he's not alone. i have no doubt that my father, my father-in-law is here in spirit. astrid silva is here today i'm sure she's in the gallery someplace, and she'll be looking down from where she's seated when the united states senate votes to expand this country's frontiers and moves it closer to
its ideals. but she's not here alone. she's here representing millions of others just like her, people who've hoped and prayed for this day. mr. president, their prayers have been answered. but these prayers, their praye prayers, their hopes have not gotten us to the finish line yet. the finish line is very close to here. down this very long hallway to the house of representatives. mr. president, i'm reminded, in closing, of a poem, a psalm. here's what it says. "i can see a new day, a new day soon to be. when the storm clouds are all passed and the sun shines in a world that is free. i can see a new man, a new man standing tall with his head hi high, and his heart proud and afraid of nothing at all. i can see a new day, a new day soon to be, when the storm
clouds are all passed and the sun shines on a world that is free." colleagues, i am confident the house of representatives will pass this legislation because i can see a new man standing tall with his head high, his heart proud, and afraid of nothing at all. the presiding officer: the clerk will reathe vice president: the clerk will he'd the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 80, s. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. the vice president: the question occurs on passage of s. 744, as amended. a senator: ask for the yeas and nays. the vice president: is there a sufficient second? there is a sufficient sect. the clerk will call th --there . the clerk will call the roll.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president -- the presiding officer: if the senator will suspend, the senate will be in order. mr. reed: i would ask to dispense with the calling of the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reed: i'm prepared to make a request for a consent. i believe the republican leader will respond and then at his conclusion --. mr. mcconnell: could we have the senate quiet down. the presiding officer: please take your conversation outside the chamber. the senate will be in order. mr. reed: i'm prepared 30 make a unanimous consent request. the republican leader will respond and at the conclusion of his response i'd like to be recognized to make additional comments. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. 1238 the keep student loans affordable act, the text is at the desk, the bill be read three times and patched and a motion to reconsider made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object.
the presiding officer: objection is heard. the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the senate proceed to the consideration of the bill introduced earlier today by senators manchin, king, alexander, coburn, burr, and carper, further, that there be one hour of debate equally divided in the usual form, no amendments be in order to the measure, the bill be subject to any applicable budget point of order, and that following the use or yielding back of time, and disposition of any waivers if necessary, the bill be read a third time, and the senate proceed to vote on the passage of the bill. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reed: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: let me thank the republican leader for cooperating. we are attempting to move forward legislation with respect to student loans. we have reached or will shortly reach july 1. at that point the student loan rate for subsidized stafford
loans doubles to 6.8%. the legislation i proposed would be a one-year extension of the rate allowing students, low- and middle-income students to benefit from a low interest rate. our core principles in advancing this one-year extension of present slaw that we believe and i think this is a -- shared by all of my colleagues, that talented students deserve access to college education, they need affordable loans and pell grants and other financial aid. and we also believe that interest rates should not be set any higher than necessary to protect the taxpayer and break even on the program. it shouldn't be a profit center for the federal government, which it is today. and we also believe very strongly that when students take these loans out, particularly the subsidized loans they deserve predictability. they should know how much they'll have to repay. if you are going to go for an
adjustable rate, there has to be a cap, recently cap. my understanding is in the history of the federal student loan program there has either been an adjustable rate with a cap or a fixed rate. we've never let students solely at the mercy of the market. we provide subsidized loans to students because we believe we have to invest in america. in their talent, in their ability not only to advance their own lives but also to contribute to the greater life of america. it should not be a program that is designed to generate revenue, and the reality is today, wittingly or unwittingly, this program and indeed, the proposals that have been put on the table, are generating huge amounts of profit for the federal government. it's been estimated about $50 billion i think to date this year. we should be investing in the potential of young americans,
not looking at them as profit centers to help us adjust the deficit. and i know there's been great efforts on the part of my colleagues, sincere efforts, thoughtful efforts by many, my colleagues, senator alexander, senator manchin, senator king, senator harkin, the chairman of the committee, senator warner, senator hagan, senator dpreang franken, senator stabenow, there's been a great deal of effort but we're not there yet and i think we need, frankly, at least one more year so that we can sit down and do this correctly. if you look at the proposals that are out there, there's a short-run attractiveness because the rates have been configured so that they look pretty low. but if you follow the rates out, within two or three or four years, they're above the law that goes in effect on july 1. they're above the 6.8% rate. and it's almost as if we're
looking back a few years ago, not about student loans, but about mortgages. a lot of people that were sitting on 5% fixed-rate mortgages, someone walked in and said have i got a deal for you. i can give you two years at 3%. now, it goes up but don't worry. you can readjust it down the road and refinance it. well, we found out because in many circumstances come 2008, 2009, there was no getting out. in fact, a lot of people discovered they would have been better off sticking with the fixed loan. that's an analogy. that's not exactly on point but if you look at all these proposals, the arc of the increase in interest rates is going up and, by the way, it hasn't fully incorporated what the federal reserve has already said publicly. chairman bernanke said very clear they're ending quantitative easing.
that means one thing. interest rates go up. and they might go up a lot faster than we even expect right now. and i think another important point which is really critical is that the proposals we've seen so far not have had a cap on them, an adequate cap. and there's been some discussion, well, we don't need a cap because if you consolidate a loan, there's a cap built into the consolidation program. well, first of all, there's a problem with that. in that except for the subsidized stafford loans, the other federally supported loans start accruing interest even while you're still in school, and so you're building up a big, big, big mountain of debt and when you consolidate, what you're doing essentially is stretching out the payments which is making a longer term, which adds more interest. it's like the difference between a short-term loan and a long-term loan. you end up paying a lot more
interest on your house than you do on a two- or three-year loan on a car. for many reasons, technical and otherwise, we believe particularly as we're several days away from july 1, we need to go ahead and give this body the time to deliberate. frankly, we just passed a historic piece of legislation. that was not done in the waning hours of the session, it wasn't done without hearings, it wasn't done with a lot of back and forth, it wasn't done with a lot of attention on the floor yet we're proposing fundamental changes to our federal student loan program in the waning hours before a recess. 36 democrats have joined me along with senator hagan, principally, to extend this lending rate for one more year. we have in the past been able to come together, in fact, we
adopted the 3.4% interest rate, fixed rate, in 2007, the vote in this senate was 79-12. republicans and democrats saying, you know, a good deal for students, a low interest rate. and i think we still have to look for a much better deal than has been suggested by some of the proposals. so we are also fiscally responsible because we are paying for this, roughly about $4 billion, there is a tax provision which i think should be closed on its own face, but it would allow us to pay for this extension for one year. and i will remind my colleagues that a year ago, we did precisely the same thing. some would say we haven't used the year well enough, but if you think about the debate we had on background checks and firearms, if you think about this historic gate debate on
graition -- debate on immigration, many of the other serious debates we have had, i think we have been engaged on this floor, decisively, but now it's time, again, to move to this education issue. this affordability issue. so, mr. president, i am disappointed, i'm sure my colleagues who are suggesting an alternative proposal are disappointed but i'm disappointed that we cannot at least tell students today we've got your back, you are going to be safe for another year, 3.4% interest, and in that time we really have to fix this, and not just simply changing around interest rates. but also what about paying down the debt that's outstanding? a huge problem. a trillion-dollar problem. what about the incentives for lowering the cost of college. what about other structural changes that we have to make,
and they will unlikely be made if we somehow sort of leave here with a fix that ultimately in a very short period of time raises rates beyond the 6.8% and also takes really sort of the pressure that -- the legitimate pressure for us not just to take and treat one part of the problem but comprehensively deal with the issue of the cost of higher education for families throughout. now, with that, mr. president, i've been asked to propose the unanimous consent, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business till 7:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: if i may respond, to my dear friend from rhode island who i have the utmost respect for, we just have a respectful difference as far as how to approach this problem and we're working through it.
we really, truly are working and we will work through it. we had a charge a year ago to fix it. so we started working on that. the president in timely fashion gave us a piece of legislation that had a longer-term fix, ten years. we took that and worked off of that, original proposal given to us by the administration and by the president and we start working in a bipartisan manner to make this work. and with that being said we looked at the 3.4% and i will say, mr. president, that a majority of our colleagues both democrats and republicans did not understand that the 3.4% only affected those that were subsidized loans. that's the smallest amount of loans we have out there. i think the majority of our colleagues, the majority of the people, the majority of the press thought that we fixed the 3.4% for everybody that had a student loan. that wasn't the case. so we wanted to go back and make sure we do something, we do it
for everybody because the person who has income limits and qualified for the subsidized loan, the first year they get that loan is $2,500. the second year is $3,500. the third year is $4,500, and the last year is $5,500. that's the max. they can't get through that so they borrow on the nonsubsidized. guess what they've been paying? the 6.8. guess what students that have what we call the plus loans? they have been paying 7.9% but we're not hearing anything about that. put it in perspective as dollars, if we have one-year extension as my dear colleagues have suggested to try to fix the problem again, that will be about a $2 billion savings of interest payments that would be put on the backs of students. that's a tremendous amount of money. guess what happens if the proposal, the bipartisan, oepblt
oepblt -- the only bipartisan proposal, if we pass our bipartisan proposal, it saves $8.8 billion and everybody participates, even the subsidized loan, the students that struggle the hardest, that need most of the help, they get most of the help not only on their subsidized, but they get it on their unsubsidized. we've looked at everything possible so we have a piece of legislation which we think not only fixes but basically repairs a broken system. you know, you look at where we are today and we looked at sequestering and looked at on and on and on. i've been here not quite three years, mr. president, and i've watched us kick the can down the street to where my toe is hurting. my toe is hurting. we've kicked this can so much. and it's starting to kickback. we need to start giving the people of this great country the
confidence that we can work as a functional body, as respectful as possible between democrats, republicans and independents, coming together putting our country first, putting our students first. not playing politics. and let me tell you what we have agreed on. we agreed that democrat and republican in this bipartisan bill, that not one dollar should go to debt reduction. we don't believe that the students trying to get an education to better their quality of life, improve their quality of life, their economic condition and the economic condition of our great country should have to be burdened with the debt and reducing the debt of this nation. we can do that by them being productive citizens. we agreed on that. that's something that wasn't agreed on before because there were people talking about they wanted surpluses to go to deficit reduction. we've taken surpluses out and reduced the rate as low as humanly possible. it's been scored. it's been scored. we're bringing rates down. if you look at the top rate of
7.9%, that's going to come to 6.21 if you have a plus loan. if you have a loan which is a graduate stafford loan, that is going to come from a 6.8% to 5.21%. and if you look at all the undergraduates before -- if it's a subsidized loan and nonsubsidized, undergraduate, they all go to 3.6%. that's a tremendous savings. that's the $8.8 billion. that's what we're asking for. i respectfully -- and i mean that, respectfully -- disagree with my colleagues that have signed on to a one-year extension believing that we're going to be able to come up with an agreement or a compromise that is better than what we have before us because we've worked this out with senator carper, senator carper from democratic, senator king from maine, myself
from west virginia, senator alexander of tennessee. those are four former governors. we know we had to work together because we had to make things happen immediately. at the end of the year everything had to balance out. then we are senator burr and senator coburn who have been here and understand finances as well as any people in this body. so i respectfully ask as we go away -- and i want the students and all the people that have loans right now not to worry. july 1 will come. we'll come back here probably by i think the 9th or tenth of july. that will be the first order of business we both ask for. both of our bills will be on first order of business. i assure you we will come up with a compromise agreement that we can work out that will give the relief that the students, those who are desiring an education, those who want to better their lives will have that opportunity and be able to have some stability and not have the increased rate passed on because we'll make this retroactive. so with that, i would yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: i don't have a great deal to add to senator manchin's comments except to add that everyone in this body wants to do best by our students. everyone understands the importance of education. everyone understands how expensive it is. everyone understands the problem of the debt burden on our students, and we're all trying to search for a solution, a solution that can garner bipartisan support, can pass the senate, pass the house and go to the president. the proposal that we've put forward before the body today is based upon in many ways the proposal made by the president in his budget. it's similar to a provision that has already passed the house. and i think a couple of points should be made. one is there's a lot of talk about a floating rate. and i think people think of
mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages and the rate changes from year to year. under our proposal, once a student takes out a loan in a given year at whatever the rate is that year, that rate is fixed for the life of the loan. the following year, if interest rates -- and we're talking about the ten-year treasury bill of the united states government, one of the lowest interest rates there is, if that goes up, it would go up. if it goes down, for the next year's loan, not for the loan already taken out. i think we've learned in the current circumstance the folly of congress trying to set interest rates. because inadvertently by setting 6.8% and 3.4% five or six years ago that looked like a great deal. today it's generating billions of dollars to the treasury on the backs of our students. so our solution, i think, is a commonsense solution, and that is to base the interest rate for
the students at the lowest available rate to virtually anybody in our society, which would be the ten-year treasury bill plus 1.85% which protects the treasury from the costs of administering the program and the risks inherent in the program. and that way we'll have certainty in the program and the lowest interest rate that would generally be available in the society. now, if we started with a blank sheet of paper and said we want the federal government to provide loans to students, i believe we would end up where this plan has ended up. it's where the president ended up. it's where the house has ended up. and i think we have an opportunity. now the question is should we extend for a year and take more time? i'm new here, but i stood here during the debates on the sequester where both parties put forward their proposals, neither party got the votes, and we
ended up with the sequester. we did exactly the same thing with student loans about a month ago. each party put forward their proposal. neither party got their votes. and here we are just about at the deadline, and the rates are going to double for those subsidized stafford loans. i don't know what we're going to know a year from now that we don't know now, and i believe that the time is now to try to come to a resolution that meets everybody's requirements. mr. president, we're not that far apart. the differences separating us in this body are not that far apart. and i believe that we have an opportunity here not only to solve this problem fairly to our students, but to demonstrate to the country that we're able to make decisions and not simply delay them for another year or two years. so that's why i rise today to support the bill that senator manchin and i and others have put together. senator burr, senator alexander,
who i think is one of the most respected members of this body particularly on education matters, and senator coburn. we've got a strong bill, and i think as people see the details understand it better, understand the terms, understand the effects which would be to save students in america over the next three or four years something like $50 billion, which if we don't resolve this problem is going to come into the treasury on the backs of our students. i don't think that's the result that we want. so i think we've got a responsible proposal. it's a bipartisan one. and i believe it deserves full and fair consideration. i'm sure that all these proposals will have a lot of discussion once we're back in session a week from now, a week and a half from now. i hope we can come to a resolution because the students of america deserve to know two things: that congress has their back on student loans and that their congress is in fact able to make decisions and handle
issues and move forward. thank you, mr. president. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i see the senator from new york and the senator from colorado on the floor. i don't know if they seek recognition. i know this has been a terrific day for them as two of the principal architects of the immigration bill that we just passed and has been a landmark achievement. i'm prepared to speak for about 15 minutes on my climate bill, but i'm going to be here for awhile and if the senator from new york would tpraoefr proceed, then -- prefer to proceed, i will allow him to proceed. that will also allow me to relieve the presiding officer who i understand needs to go upstairs for a moment. i will yield to senator schumer with the hope that upon the conclusion of his remarks i will be recognized. mr. schumer: i want to thank my colleague from rhode island. as usual, he is gracious and he is thoughtful as well as being an outstanding legislator with a
great deal of passion. i know that he wants to go to the floor and speak on the issue that he is ready to speak about. but, again, his grace and kindness are always present, and i appreciate it. mr. president, i return to the floor to just say some words of thanks. we had limited time before and i wanted to speak to the nub of the issue. so i wanted to thank some people. the first person i thought i'd mention is how much a dream this comprehensive bill has been to so many people. at the top of the list of course is ted kennedy, one of the greatest human beings i have ever met in my life. he had the subcommittee on immigration before me. this wouldn't have happened without his guidance and leadership. did we make changes from what he did? obviously. but did his basic feeling and structure and knowledge that it had to be pw-p all carry -- it had to be bipartisan carry forward on this bill? absolutely. we know that ted is smiling as he's looking down on us today
and we know he'll continue to inspire not only those of us in the senate but also the country as we move forward. but i wanted to spend a few minutes -- and i very much appreciate my colleague from rhode island yielding -- to thank my staff. you know, we are lucky on our staff under the leadership of mike lynch, our chief of staff, we are a team. it's an amazing team. everyone covers each other. everyone looks out for each other. when sometimes i'm upset and i say who did what, nobody did anything wrong. they're all watching each other's back. and that's the lesson that lynch has taught all of them. and it's a great lesson. we're close-knit. we socialize, we have fun. they truly like each other. and this wouldn't have happened certainly without them, certainly without them. and that's what i wanted to do. i want to praise each of my colleagues. i've done that repeatedly on the
gang of eight before i talk about my staff. i mentioned this outside but i want to mention it on the floor. every one of them -- you can say exactly the same thing for each of the eight in the gang, it wouldn't have happened without their presence. it was an amazing team. and each contributed something in his own way. each contributed a great deal in his own way. and at impasses different people rose to the fore and lifted us out of those impasses. it was an amazing group. i'm not going to get into each individual right now, but i do want to thank the gang of eight. we have bonded. we have become friends. and we've accomplished something, hopefully, that will carry forward and become law. today's few minutes i want to thank my staff. my staff like all americans are the children or great-grandchildren or great great great great-great-grandchildren of immigrants. they have shared their stories through this process.
i know this was deeply personal for each of them. and every week the entire staff, just about the entire staff got together for an immigration meeting. and everybody contributed. so i want to take some time to thank them all. they worked so hard to fix this system. it was not only a dream of so many in this senate, it was a dream of theirs. and one thing for sure can be said. without them, we wouldn't be here. without them, we wouldn't be here. and in fact, the other seven -- and i think every one of them grew to respect our staff as we respected their staffs. that's another great thing that happened here, is the bonding. i want to mention some of the individuals here. first, my chief counsel stephanie martz. she poured her heart and soul into the bill. she's got young kids. she's got soccer games. she's got a very busy schedule.
but for this bill, she missed bed times due to late-night meetings or conference calls. how many times on a saturday did i talk to her when she was at some athletic event for one of her kids, and you could hear the cheering and the running up and down in the background? but stephanie has a unique ability to help build coalitions. when one group or another was upset -- and believe me, that probably happened every five minutes in this legislation -- there was stephanie, soothing them, calming them but telling them the truth so they trusted her. an indispensable part of our ability to get this done. through the rough patches, she never gave up on our team, and i know that kyle and nora and pip are going to be happy to have mommy back and maybe there will be another ice hockey tournament in rochester next year whenever legislation we're
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