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Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I thank the Senator from North Dakota for his outstanding leadership. One would expect that from someone who served in such a distinguished way as Governor of his State. He has done an outstanding job on this issue, and I thank him for being a greater partner.

I know we still have some work to do. The fact is that we still have to introduce this amendment, and work is underway right now, but I want to thank him, his staff, and those all around him for the way he has dug into this issue, solved the problems that I think Americans are looking at relative to security issues, and for working with us in the way he has. So I thank him very much.

I thank the Gang of 8 for the work they have done over the last multiple months to bring us to the place we are, where we have an opportunity to do something America needs; that is, solve the immigration issue we have and also ensure that in doing so we absolutely have secured the border.

One of my colleagues called this amendment--and again, it is being vetted right now. We hope to introduce it a little later today. There is a broad agreement about what the content is, and it is being vetted and will be introduced later today.

Some people have described this as a border surge. The fact is that we are investing resources in securing our border that have never been invested before--a doubling, again, of the Border Patrol and $3.2 billion worth of technology that the Chief of the Border Patrol says is the technology he needs to have 100 percent awareness and to secure our border; dealing with the exit program and dealing with E-Verify. So all these things are in place.

I thank Senator Cornyn of Texas, who began the process of focusing on border security. I realize his amendment failed earlier, but I think what he helped us do is build momentum toward an amendment that I consider to be far stronger and even better. But his efforts in looking at a border security measure helped us in this regard.

I am not the kind of person who speaks for a long time--I think people understand that--but I want to say that the Senator from North Dakota has done an outstanding job of laying out the many elements of this amendment that hopefully will be voted on in the very near future. And I do think the American people have asked us, if we pass an immigration bill off the Senate floor, to do everything we can to be sure we have secured the border. That is what people in Tennessee have asked for, that is what people in North Dakota have asked for, that is what people in Arizona have asked for, and that is what this amendment does.

This amendment has the ability, if passed, to bring a bipartisan effort behind immigration reform that would then send the bill to the House. Look, I do wish this amendment had some other measures relative to interior security, but I think the House can improve this. I think a conference can improve this. So I hope we have the opportunity down the road to see that occur.

I thank all those involved in crafting an amendment that tries to deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secures our border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the needs of a growing economy--the biggest economy in the world--and that focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully we will put this debate behind us.

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Mr. CORKER. Yes.

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Mr. CORKER. That is correct.

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Mr. CORKER. That is correct.

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Mr. CORKER. That is correct.

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Mr. CORKER. That is correct. I don't know of anybody who has proposed a tougher measure, when we look at it all combined, than the measure that hopefully will be on the floor in the very near future.

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Mr. CORKER. Absolutely.

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Mr. CORKER. I think it would be very difficult. And I thank the Senator from Arizona for raising this issue. If the issue one has is securing the border, with this immigration bill, if this amendment passes, which I hope it will, I don't know how anybody could argue that the reason they are not supporting this legislation is because we haven't addressed securing the border. We have addressed that. We have addressed that in spades in this legislation.

Again, I thank the Senator from North Dakota for his leadership on this issue and the other side of the aisle for working with us. I don't think anyone who votes against this bill could argue as their reason, if we pass this amendment--and we need to get it to the floor. We are still working out some issues, and hopefully we will be done in a few hours. But I don't know how anyone could argue that we haven't dealt with the issue that many people have been concerned about, many people in Tennessee, and that is we have--if this legislation passes in the form it is, with this amendment as we have agreed, we have secured the border.

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