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Public Statements

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act Of 2007--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT OF 2007--Continued -- (Senate - May 22, 2007)

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Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, unfortunately, I had to miss today's vote on the Dorgan amendment to strike the new Y visa worker program in the bill. As currently designed, the temporary worker program in this bill is designed to fail.

The program in the bill proposes to create a new 400,000 person annual temporary worker program that could grow to 600,000 without congressional approval. It expands the existing seasonal guestworker programs from 66,000 up to 100,000 in the first year and 200,000 after that. At the end of their temporary status, almost all of these workers would have to go home. That means at the end of the first 3 years, we would have at least 1.2 million of these new guestworkers in the country with only 30,000 having any real hope of getting to stay.

As we have learned with misguided immigration policies in the past, it is nai 4ve to think that people who do not have a way to stay legally will just abide by the system and leave. They won't. The current group of undocumented immigrants will be replaced by a new group of second-class workers who will place downward pressure on American wages and working conditions. And when their time is up, they will go into the shadows where our current system exploits the undocumented today.

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