Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Madam President, if I could, I had a time of 12:50 that I have actually done to accommodate the Senator from Alabama who was coming down at 1:00. My understanding is the Senator showed up 20 minutes early, which I applaud him for being prompt and early. But I do wonder what is happening. I would be glad to go back and forth.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. I think we had an agreement with those who manage the floor as to how we were to come down and talk. But I would be more than glad to give a moment or two to let the Senator finish and then go on. But I want to make sure this is going to allow me the opportunity to speak.

Actually, the Senator has been so involved, I would love for him to listen to what I might have to say and then respond because I think there have been a lot of myths out there that seem to be continuing.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. As I understand it, Senator Leahy.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. I thank the Presiding Officer.

The Senator from Alabama has done an outstanding job in talking about the many frailties that exist in the base bill. I do want to say that the vote tonight is not on the base bill; the vote tonight is on an amendment.

Many people on our side of the aisle have had concerns about border security. The way the base bill reads is the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, would decide what border security measures would be put in place, and she would implement those after 180 days. Candidly, that calls for people on both sides of the aisle to be somewhat concerned about what kind of border security measures would be implemented.

The base bill, as the Senator from Alabama just mentioned, leaves all of that discretion 100 percent to the person who leads Homeland Security. On the Senate floor we have had numbers of measures that we voted on to try to strengthen border security. All of those measures have failed. I have voted for almost every single one of those that has come up. As a matter of fact, almost every Member on our side of the aisle other than the Gang of 8 has voted for those measures.

What we have before us tonight, though, is another border security amendment. This amendment puts in place five triggers that are tangible. It says if these five triggers are not implemented, then those who are here who are undocumented and who become in temporary status do not receive their green cards. Let me go through those five measures that have to be put in place before that occurs.

First of all, there have to be 20,000 more Border Patrol agents deployed and trained and on the border. That is one of the triggers, a doubling of our Border Patrol.

Second, the additional 350 miles of fencing that Republicans have longed for has to be in place. That is very tangible.

Third, we have to have bought and deployed over $4 billion worth of technology on the border, which will give our Border Patrol 100 percent awareness. This is a list that they have been seeking for years, and before anybody can achieve their green card status this list has to be bought and deployed.

Fourth, we have to have a fully implemented exit and entrance visa program--something that, again, Republicans have pushed for for years; and fifth, we have to have a fully deployed E-Verify system. All five of those measures have to be in place before somebody can move from a temporary status to a green card status. Those are tangible triggers.

When I was in the shopping center business--before coming to the Senate, I used to build shopping centers around the country. It was very evident in the community that I was in when I was completed. Always when I completed those shopping centers I was paid. I didn't have to go through some kind of process that said: Did we meet 90 percent of the retail needs of the community? We tried to design the center so that it met the needs, but it was very tangible when I was completed, and I was paid.

What this amendment seeks to do is to put in five very tangible elements as triggers. These elements are all elements Republicans have pushed for for years. So it is my hope that this evening Republicans will join me in putting in place the toughest border security measures we have ever had in this Nation.

The Senator from Alabama has talked about the length of this amendment. The length of this amendment is 119 pages long. Because of Senate procedure, it had to be added to the base bill, which made it a little bit over 1,200 pages. But the base bill has been around since May. It has gone through committee. Most every one of us who is serious about this bill has gone through its many provisions.

The amendment we offered on Friday--which has given people 75 hours to look at it--is 119 pages long. For those who are listening in, in legislative language we write pages such that they are triple-spaced and they are very short, so 119 pages is really 25 or 30 pages in normal people's reading. I would say to the Presiding Officer that any middle school student in Tennessee or Alabama could read this amendment probably in 30 to 40 minutes. To ask Senators given an amendment on Friday that deals with five basic things and a few others, to ask them to read the amendment over the weekend--again, the equivalent of 25 or 30 pages, really--is certainly not something major to ask when you are serving in the Senate. So the length issue is something that is a total myth.

Some people have talked about the cost. Let's talk about that. First of all, the cost would only happen if the bill passes, but it is estimated that the cost of these border security measures and the other measures in the base bill would be about $46 billion. That only happens if the bill passes. I think you have seen that the CBO score on this bill is $197 billion. So if this amendment were to pass and the bill were to pass, we would have a situation where over the next 10 years we would be investing $46 billion in border security--almost all of which are measures Republicans have pushed for years--but we would have $197 billion coming back into the Treasury.

I have been here 6 1/2 years, and never have I had the opportunity to vote for something that costs $46 billion over a 10-year period and we received $197 billion over a 10-year period and we did not raise anybody's taxes and it promoted economic growth. To those people who are talking about the cost, I would just say show me one piece of legislation we have had the opportunity to vote for that has that kind of return. I think every private equity, every hedge funder in the United States of America would take those odds.

Finally, let me say to the Senator from Alabama, Governor Brewer from Arizona was just on the television. She read this amendment over the weekend. As I mentioned, it only takes about 30 to 40 minutes, and she took the time to read it. What she just said on national television is that this amendment is a win, a total victory for the State of Arizona. And she knows more about border security probably than any Governor and any person in the United States of America.

Let me say one more time what we are voting on tonight. We are voting on a very tough border security amendment. If you vote for this amendment, it will mean that five very tangible triggers have to be in place. Whether the money is appropriated or not, they have to be in place before you can have a green card. So if it is not appropriated, no green card. When people say that Congress may not spend the money on this, if Congress does not spend the money on it, people will not move from the temporary status into green card status. So it is totally up to us.

But the fact is that if you vote for this amendment tonight, you will be voting that all five of those provisions have to be in place--tough border security measures. They are very tangible. The entire American population can see whether they are in place. And until those are in place, people do not move to the green card status.

If you vote against this amendment--which I am getting the indication the Senator from Alabama and others may be thinking about--what you will be saying is, no, I would rather not have these five tough measures in place. I would rather let Janet Napolitano, the head of Homeland Security, decide what our border security is going to be. I don't think that makes anybody in this body particularly comfortable.

People have talked about the fact that Congress needs to weigh in on this border security measure, and we have with this amendment.

What I would say is that if you really believe in making sure we address our border security, this amendment is something you should support. If you would rather go to the status quo, if you would rather leave it to the administration--which I agree has not done the things they should do to secure the border--then don't vote for this amendment; vote for Janet Napolitano to secure the border.

I have a feeling people on this side of the aisle will see the light. And to people on the other side of the aisle who may resist this, what this amendment does is it balances out the bill. It balances it out. It says: Yes, we are going to put the kind of border security in place that will cause the American people to trust us. At the same time, in doing so we are going to put in place very tangible triggers, triggers that cannot be moved. You cannot move the goalposts because of interpretation. They are there. They are concrete. If we meet them, people will have the pathway to be the kinds of productive citizens they would like to be.

To me, this amendment satisfies people on our side of the aisle who want border security. To me, it ought to satisfy people on the other side of the aisle who acknowledge that we need to do both.

With that, I yield the floor. I would love to enter into a colloquy with the Senator from Alabama. I know there has been a lot said, but I urge every Member of this body to take the 30 to 40 minutes--not much, as a Senator on one of the biggest issues we have dealt with in the Senate--to read the amendment to see how superior it is to the base language. I applaud the folks who created the base language, but this is an effort to improve a bill.

Read the amendment and then decide: Do you really want to vote against an amendment that the Governor of Arizona, who has dealt with this issue more closely than any of us in the body, has declared as a total victory for their State? Do you want to vote against this? Do you want to vote against this really, I ask this body. I think we ought to send this amendment onto the base bill with a tremendous majority. Then we can debate the other pieces. We have an entire week. There are all kinds of votes.

I would like to see a vote on the Portman amendment. As a matter of fact, my understanding is that some of the people who disagree with this bill do not want to see a vote on the Portman amendment. They are blocking the Portman amendment. The Portman amendment will actually make this bill even better. I hope we will hear from him on the amendment. I hope we will hear from other Senators as they seek to improve this bill. But I hope we will do that after voting cloture tonight on a border security amendment that I know strengthens this bill, puts it in balance, creates trust with the American people, and creates the kind of pathway many people are seeking.

I yield the floor.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. May I respond?

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, in responding to the good Senator--the Senator with one of the best temperaments in the Senate, the Senator from Alabama, someone I enjoy working with--I respond that there is no question that our amendment is 119 pages long and that it does incorporate input from other Senators.

What I would say is that the Senator was a great jurist from the State of Alabama. He worked on all kinds of legal documents, I am sure, before he came to serve in such a distinguished way in this body. I know that he understands well--because I know he has had to do it many times--that when you have an amendment that touches many parts of a bill or you have a contract that has changes that touch many parts of the contract, what people do to cause people to understand how it is written better--and actually it has to be a rule of construction here in the Senate--is add those 119 pages throughout the text of a bill that has been around since May that the Senator from Alabama was able to go through in detail as a member of the Judiciary Committee and offer all kinds of amendments. He has seen that base text now for a long, long time. He went through it more--I know more than most here in the Senate.

So, yes, we added an amendment. It does have other concerns. That is what you do when you try to write a piece of legislation that solves the problem. It is 119 pages, and it was added to the base text. That is true. I would have to say on any measure for somebody who cares about border security, it is much stronger than the base language.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I could not agree more with the Senator from Alabama. As I mentioned in my comments, I hope this body--I hope Senators on my side of the aisle--will not block Senator Rob Portman's amendment on E-Verify, which greatly strengthens the bill. But, yes, I agree with the Senator. I hope we have a plethora of amendments offered this week, debated this week, and voted on this week.

I would say to the good Senator from Alabama, with whom I really cherish serving, I have not blocked one single amendment from being voted on. I do not know if the Senator from Alabama has blocked any. But the fact is, I say let's let it roll. I would love to see another 50 or 80 amendments this week if time will allow, so let's let it roll. I am all for that. I agree 100 percent.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I wonder if the Senator would let me respond in a generous way.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. First of all, I respect the leadership the Senator from Alabama has given on the Budget Committee, and I know he knows all of these things well. I have offered a very detailed piece of legislation to deal with Medicare, and he knows the average American today is paying one-third of the cost of Medicare over their lifetime. In other words, they pay only one-third of the cost of their Medicare Program.

So the fact that we have people who began paying taxes--I mean one of the things the Senator is mentioning is if we pass this bill, those who are here today who have been undocumented and not paying taxes, will be paying taxes. I would think the Senator from Alabama would think that is an outstanding idea.

Most of them are younger, and the fact is they are going to help the baby boomers and senior population in America we have because Americans today are only paying one-third of the cost of Medicare. I know the Senator from Maine is very knowledgeable on this subject. The Medicare fund is going to be insolvent in 2024.

Senator Sessions is exactly right--by forcing these folks who are in the shadows today to come out of the shadows for 10 years and pay taxes and not receive, by the way, Federal benefits--no means-tested Federal benefits--until we do the five things that are in our bill.

By the way, the Senator should know that the money for this is appropriated now. If this bill passes, the money is appropriated. It is not subject to appropriations down the road.

I will say one last thing, and I will yield the floor. I appreciate the Senator from Alabama letting me do this.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. As I understand, this is under Senator Leahy's time.

The cloture vote tonight is not as was described a minute ago. The cloture vote tonight is only on this amendment. It is not on the bill. So for someone to say they are losing some kind of cloture rights down the road, it is not true. The cloture vote we are having tonight is on an amendment that has five strong border security measures that every Republican has talked about for years. It doesn't mean we vote for the bill. We are talking about the amendment. The moneys are appropriated. The cloture vote is only on the amendment. I just wanted to clear that up.

The CBO--which the great Senator from Alabama works with daily and quotes daily--has said if this bill passes, it will help tremendously with this deficit we know is weighing our country down today.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I thank the Chair, and I thank the Senator from Alabama for his comments.

I want to rhetorically ask any of those who might share the views of Senator Sessions, if you will, on this amendment, that would this amendment--I would ask this question: If one doesn't like the status quo, would this amendment, even if it weren't fully achieved--and I know the language states it has to be achieved before one achieves green card status; it is very specific in that regard--I would ask: Does the Senator from Alabama and do other Senators not believe that if this amendment passes, we would be much farther down the road toward our goals than if this amendment doesn't pass? I would ask that question rhetorically.

What we do a lot of times on the floor is we seek to improve a piece of legislation. I know the Senator from Alabama is not going to vote for this bill regardless of what the security measures are, in all likelihood. But I would ask if he and others who share his views, which are critical of this overall legislation, would they not support an amendment that certainly is a vast improvement over the status quo?

I think the Senator has pointed out it is very unlikely that Homeland Security is going to do the things we would all wish for them to do. But in this amendment we have five of the things that for years Republicans have hoped to achieve, and the administration clearly states we cannot move from this temporary status into green card status until these things are tangibly done. Again, it is much better than a trigger that has some superfluous thing where nobody knows what it means, and Democrats are worried we are going to move the goalpost in one direction and the Republicans are going to move the goalpost in another. Instead, we have something here that is very tangible.

Every American who is observing will know whether we have 20,000 more Border Patrol agents deployed and trained first. Every American will know whether we have an exit-entry visa program fully deployed. Every American--every employer, for sure--throughout our country will know whether we have an E-Verify system that is fully deployed. Every American, whether we have 350 miles of fencing--which I would say to the Senator from Alabama, there is no chance in the world--no chance--that any additional border security measures are going to be created that way unless this amendment passes. Then I would say: Think about the $4.5 billion in technology that will cause us to have situational awareness on the border that is a part of this bill.

Congress constantly talks about the fact that we punt too much to the executive branch. I know many people on my side of the aisle do not want to punt, if you will, the border security plan to the head of Homeland Security, whomever that might be. They want to weigh in. So this amendment gives everyone in this body the ability to weigh in and for the other side of the aisle to ensure we have tangible measures that cannot be moved.

Again, I realize that no matter what this bill says--no matter what it says--as long as the title of it relates to immigration reform, there are going to be people in this body who won't support it. There are measures I don't even want to--I don't want to get myself in trouble by stating the kind of measures that if they were in this bill people would say, No, it has to be even tougher. The fact is we in this body, generally speaking, have worked together to try to come up with a piece of legislation that meets the balance. This amendment, to me, adds that component that meets the balance.

I know some people on my side of the aisle would criticize because they would say, Well, you worked with the other side of the aisle to make this happen. I think that is what we all came here to do. I know the Presiding Officer, who is an Independent, came here to do it, because without working with Republicans and Democrats he couldn't get anything done. So what we have done over the last couple of weeks now is work very closely on both sides of the aisle to come up with a measure that hits that balance. It doesn't move the goalpost because we all know it is tangible.

As I mentioned, I used to build shopping centers all around the country, retail projects in 18 States, and when I finished the project, people could see it. I didn't have to go out and get a survey in the community: Did I meet 90 percent of the retailing needs of this community? And if it was a grocery center they might have said: Well, you did on the grocery side but you didn't on the florist or some other piece. I built something that was tangible and called for and it was paid for.

Let's face it. The reason we have had this trouble is we have been debating a trigger for months that everybody knows can be monkeyed with. If a person sees a Cheetos bag in a crevice some place in Arizona or someplace
else, somebody could say, Well, there were 10 people eating out of that Cheetos bag so we are going to change the denominator. That is what this debate has been about and everybody knows that. This side of the aisle doesn't trust that side because they are afraid we are going to add 10 more folks with that Cheetos bag and we are going to change the denominator, and this side over here is saying we don't trust it because we want to see results. This amendment gives results. It gives results. Every American can see the results.

Again, I cannot imagine how anybody on this side of the aisle who is serious about border security could want the text that is in the base bill that doesn't stipulate anything--it stipulates nothing--I don't know how they could want the text that is in the base bill over the text that is in this amendment, which clearly lays out those five things we have discussed over and over. They include 20,000 trained and deployed border agents; 350 miles of additional fencing on top of the 350 that is there. Republicans have tried for years to get 700 miles. We add the $4.5 billion in technology. The chief of the border control area, Chief Fisher, has been in our offices for years wanting this equipment to do what he needs to do, and it is in this bill. There is an entry-exit visa program. We have 40 percent overstays on our visa program. That is terrible. But it has to be fully deployed before a person moves to green card status. And, again, E-Verify, which, let's face it: Why are people coming across the border? They are coming across the border to take care of their families. They want to work hard. That is what we want our kids to do. They are walking across the border to work hard and to do all kinds of things, including to create companies. They are entrepreneurs. But they also raise our kids, they serve us meals, they bring our crops in, they build our homes, they build our buildings. They want to participate in the American dream. And what this bill--not our amendment--lays out is a path for them to be able to do that. It is a tough path. They get at the back of the line. They pay taxes for 10 years and receive no means-tested Federal benefits and, somehow, we have people opposing that, even though these triggers have to be in place.

All I can say is this is a great Nation. This is a Nation that has laws, and we are laying out in this amendment the way those laws have to be.

I hope people will look at this amendment for what it is. It is an opportunity for both sides of the aisle to succeed, for Republicans to have those tough border control measures people want.

I was in a restaurant Saturday night in my neighborhood, a place I go often, a place that serves great hamburgers. When I walked in, what do people say? They want border security. So we have an amendment that puts in place what is, as Governor Brewer of Arizona has said, ``a victory for Arizona.'' It is a victory for Arizona. On the other side of the aisle, what people have pushed for is a clear path. They want to know that we are not going to wait 10 years and then move the goalpost. Let's have tangible goals people can see.

I hope everybody will get behind this amendment--people on our side because of border control and people on both sides because it achieves the balance, if passed, that a piece of legislation such as this ought to have.

I want to say again I have enjoyed working on this amendment and this piece of legislation over the last 10 days more than anything I have done in the Senate. We have an opportunity to do something great for this Nation--great for this Nation--and the passage of the cloture vote this night on this amendment is something that takes us a step closer. Even if a Member opposes the underlying bill, those people who hear concerns all over the country about border security should support this. This is better than in the base bill.

This is a 119-page amendment. People know the way we write legislative language. It is triple-spaced, big letters. We have a lot of seniors in this body. We write in big letters. About 3 or 4 pages of legislative language is the average page for most Americans and what they read on a daily basis. A middle school class person in Tennessee could read this amendment in 30 to 45 minutes--30 to 45 minutes. It has been available for 75 hours. It has tangible goals we have all sought.

Voting for cloture tonight does not end debate on the base bill. That is not true. It ends debate on this amendment. There are still cloture votes into the future that close off the debate, if you will, for those people listening in, that close off debate on the overall bill. So nobody has given up rights. Why not strengthen the bill even if a Member opposes it? If a person is for the bill, why not vote for a measure that might add people to this piece of legislation and send it over to the House of Representatives where they will create their own bill--and there are improvements they can make--why not do that?

I urge a ``yes'' vote tonight. I hope people will actually read this language and see what it does to the underlying bill.

I thank the Presiding Officer for his time this afternoon.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the amendment at hand. My understanding is Senator Leahy has allowed me to use some of his time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CORKER. I will be brief. I spoke at length earlier today on this amendment. I wish to speak especially to my side of the aisle as it relates to this amendment.

There is a lot of confusion over what is happening tonight, and I just want to make sure everybody understands. No. 1, we have a cloture vote this evening on the amendment. It is a border security amendment. It is not the
cloture vote on the bill. There still will be the opportunity for additional amendments to be considered. So people can sense--I do want to say the very people who seem to be wanting amendments are the same people who are opposing amendments, so I hope that will get worked out on the floor. But tonight's vote is simply a cloture vote on an amendment that was offered on Friday, and that is all it is. So there will be another cloture vote. No one is giving up rights relative to this bill.

Secondly, this amendment we are voting on is 119 pages long. Because of the rules of construction in the Senate, this 119-page amendment was added to the base text. A lot of people understand that is just the way we do things here, when an amendment touches various pieces of a bill. But this amendment is 119 pages long. It has been added to the base bill which makes the bill itself over 1,200 pages.

Members of this body have had access to the base bill since May. It has been through committee. It has been amended. People have been able to look at it.

I say to people viewing in, 119 pages in legislative language is triple-spaced, on small pages, and generally is about 25 to 30 pages in regular reading. I would just say that a middle or high school person in Tennessee could read this amendment in about 30 to 45 minutes. I am assuming staff can walk people through much more quickly if they wish or one could go into much more detail. But the point is it is not as if something has been dropped on people that is from outer space. This is 119 pages. It is easy to read. All of us could read it in a very short amount of time. I am sure people would want to spend more time than that.

So let me go back to what this amendment does. In the base bill right now it states the head of Homeland Security would lay out a plan 180 days after passage of this legislation. Then, 10 years from now, this same person--it might be a different person, but the head of Homeland Security--would decide whether that plan has been implemented.

Many people on my side of the aisle viewed that as a little abstract and wanted to improve it. There have been numbers of measures authored on the floor. I voted for almost every single one of them to strengthen the border. It has been something Republicans have championed for years.

So this amendment would take away that base language saying the Secretary of Homeland Security would make a plan and decide and would put in place five very important measures.

The first would be deploying and training 20,000 Border Patrol agents. That is doubling the number of Border Patrol agents we have in the country, something Republicans have wanted for a long time.

Secondly, the amendment authorizes $4.5 billion on technology to create the kind of technology that gives us situational awareness on the border--something, again, Republicans have wanted for a long time.

It adds 350 miles of fencing to the 350 miles we now have, creating 700 miles. We have had amendments to that effect that almost every Republican voted for. That is a part of this amendment.

It puts in place an entry-exit visa program. Again, people know 40 percent of the immigration issues we have in this country are because of visa overstays. This attempts to solve that by putting in place a very measurable trigger.

In addition to that, E-Verify has to be fully in place.

Again, all five of these have to be in place before people transition from a temporary status to a green card status.

So if you vote for this amendment tonight, you are voting to have those five tangible, measurable issues in place.

Let me talk about this. We have had a big debate over the trigger. By the way, for what it is worth, I understand the concerns on the other side of the aisle about a trigger that is subjective. In essence, what happens down on the border right now is the Border Patrol agent sees a Cheetos bag, literally, and has to decide whether 10 people ate out of that Cheetos bag and left it there or 1. Let's make a subjective guess. So the other side of the aisle said: We do not want anything subjective like that.

Our side has wanted some tangible triggers. I used to build shopping centers around the country--retail projects in 18 States. When I completed the project, the whole community could see it was done and I got paid. I would not have wanted a trigger that said: Did we meet 90 percent of the retail needs of the community? I built what was laid out. That is what this amendment does. It lays out five measurable triggers that people who have wanted border security for years have pressed for.

I am almost finished.

The cost of it. A lot of people have said: The cost of this is $46 billion over a 10-year period. It is expensive. Some of them are one-time costs. But as it relates to the overall bill--not the amendment--the bill states--by the way, these measures do not go in place unless the bill passes. But there is $197 billion in return over that 10 years.

I wish to say to everybody in this body, I have never had the opportunity as a Senator--I have been here 6 1/2 years--to potentially be in a place to vote for something that spends $46 billion over 10 years and generates $197 billion back to the Treasury over 10 years without raising anybody's taxes. I have never had that opportunity. I would imagine every private equity company, every hedge fund in America would want to participate in that kind of ratio.

I am going to close with this: The choice tonight is to vote cloture on an amendment--not on the bill, an amendment--that has been on the floor for 75 hours--everybody has had the opportunity to look at it--that takes away the idea that the Homeland Security person will put out a plan 180 days after we pass this bill and, instead, puts in place tangible, measurable criteria, things that every American can see in place before persons transfer from a temporary status to a green card status.

For what it is worth, Governor Brewer, who is the Governor of Arizona, who probably knows more about border security than anybody in this body, today came out and said if we could pass this amendment as part of the immigration bill, it would be a tremendous victory for Arizona, a place that probably has more issues of border security than any State in the country.

So I will just ask my Republican colleagues, why would anyone even consider voting against an amendment that puts in place very stringent border requirements in place of one where we have no idea what is going to take place?

Republicans have asked that Congress weigh in. I do not know how Congress could weigh in any more than spelling out what is going to happen.

To my friends on the other side of the aisle, I would say to you, to me, this is something that allows us to know that once this process occurs, there is a tangible line in the sand we can measure, to know we cannot move the goalposts--we cannot move the goalposts--and at the end of the day we end up with a balanced bill.

I will close with this. I know I said I would close a minute ago. I will say one more thing. I look at what we are trying to accomplish in this bill and I look at the people who have come across our border to work--to work. I know many of them have created companies and have been entrepreneurs and contributed in all kinds of ways. Many of them have just walked across to support their families. They raise our kids in many cases. They pick our crops. They serve us in restaurants. They build our homes. They build our buildings. They do many other things. To me, what people on both sides of the aisle have done in trying to agree to this motion tonight is to put in place something that is tangible, something that cannot be changed down the road.

If this amendment is passed--even though there may be people who vote against the overall bill--voting for this amendment strengthens the bill. It says, if we pass it, we have a bill, in my opinion, that meets the test of the American people. We are securing the border, but we are allowing those people at the back of the line to have some pathway to continue to live the American dream, the same things we want for our sons and daughters all across our country.

I yield the floor and thank the Presiding Officer for the time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top