COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT OF 2006 -- (Senate - May 23, 2006)
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Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, currently, 10 to 12 million workers are in this country illegally living in the shadows. Of those, approximately 2 4 percent or 2.5 to 3 million undocumented immigrants are living in California.
Many of these people are lon gtime residents, hard workers, and with American-born children. They are the parents of children in your school. They are members of your community who m you know and respect.
Any comprehensive immigration reform bill must address the plight of undocumented workers currently in the country. Unfortunately, the current provision in the bill is not rational and could leave millions of individuals without relief and forced to hide.
Under the three-tier process created by the Hagel-Martinez compromise, undocumented immigrants here less than 2 years are subject to deportation, and those here from 2 to 5 years must return to their country and seek reentry under a guest/worker program.
It is estimated that these tiers would apply to nearly 5 million people--that means approximately a million residents of California would either face voluntary departure or deportation.
Families would be broken apart and industries disrupted as workers are forced to leave or go into hiding. California cannot afford and most of its residents do not support the convoluted Hagel-Martinez approach.
That is why I was pleased that my colleague, Senator Feinstein, has proposed a much more practical and humane approach in her orange card program.
Under the program, all undocumented immigrants who are in the United Stat s as of January 1, 2006, would be eligible to get on a path to leg ality. They would be required to pass criminal and national security background checks, demonstrate an understanding of English and U.S. history a nd Government, have paid their back taxes and pay a $2,000 fine.
Moreover, orange card holders would have a continuing obligation to work, pay their taxes, and not to engage in criminal activity.
The Feins tein orange card program establishes a realistic approach to dealing with the 10 to 12 million undocumented workers currently in the country. In conjunction with her AgJOBS amendment, Senator Feinstein has addressed two of the most important aspects of th e comprehensive immigration reform bill.
I urge my colleagues to vote for the Feinstein amendment. It is a workable solution to a difficult problem.
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