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Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I come to the floor to strongly urge my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to oppose cloture on the so-called DREAM Act. That will be one of our votes in a few minutes. All these votes are important. That is the most important.
The reasons we should oppose cloture are simple and basic. They all go to this past election. They all ask the question: Have we been listening at all to the American people? The American people have been speaking loudly and clearly on issues that pertain to the DREAM Act. I point to three in particular.
No. 1, the DREAM Act is a major amnesty provision. There are no two ways about it. It grants at least 2.1 million illegals amnesty. It puts them on a path toward citizenship, which will also allow them to have their family members put in legal status. That means when we count all those people, there are probably two to three times that initial 2.1 million people who will be granted some form of amnesty. When we are not securing our borders adequately, when we are not putting a system in place to enforce workplace security, that is absolutely wrong.
No. 2, we are in the middle of a serious recession. The American people are hurting. Things such as slots at public colleges and universities, things such as financial aid for those positions are very scarce and very sought after, more than ever before, because of the horrible state of the economy. These young illegals who would be granted amnesty would be put in direct competition with American citizens for those scarce resources. Are we listening to the American people about the struggles they are going through right now in this desperate economy? If we do that, the answer would clearly be no.
Third, what about spending and debt? The American people have been speaking to us loudly and clearly about that. Yet the DREAM Act would increase spending and deficit and debt. Would we be listening to the American people about that, were we to pass the DREAM Act? Absolutely not. The DREAM Act has at least $5 billion of unpaid-for spending in it, by all reasonable estimates. If we grant amnesty to 2.1 million people and then down the road we double or triple that when counting family members, of course, there is cost to that in terms of Federal Government benefits and programs and spending. Reasonable estimates say that is at least $5 billion of cost, unpaid for, increasing spending, increasing deficit, increasing debt. If we did that by passing the DREAM Act, would we be listening to the American people? Absolutely not.
Let's come to the Senate Chamber and perform our first and most solemn duty, which is to listen to the American people, listen to the citizens of the States, and truly represent them in this important body. Let's listen to them when they say no amnesty. Let's listen to them when they say how difficult their lives are in this horrible economy. Let's listen to them when they say control spending and deficit and debt. Don't increase it yet again.
I propose we listen to them. I will listen to them and vote no on cloture on the DREAM Act.
I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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