U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and an outspoken advocate for strengthening border security and employer enforcement, today released the following statement after the Senate gave overwhelming and bipartisan approval to legislation that dramatically strengthens border security, holds employers who hire undocumented immigrants accountable, punishes those who came to the country illegally, and reduces the national deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars:
"Our immigration system is badly broken, and the Senate's resounding bipartisan approval of a reform bill puts us just one vote away from fixing it. I supported this solution because it dramatically strengthens border security, punishes employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and includes stiff consequences for those who came here illegally-while ensuring they start paying into the system. This plan will also reduce our budget deficit and boost our economy. Now, it's up to the U.S. House. If they fail to pass their own bill or our bipartisan Senate bill, it will be just the latest example of the failure of the House majority to provide certainty to businesses, or to show any ability to work in a bipartisan, commonsense way to address the real challenges facing our country."
Today's legislation passed the Senate on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 68-32-with the support of conservative Republican Senators including Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The bill was strongly supported by groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Missouri Farm Bureau.
The bill's border security provisions will add 20,000 enforcement agents to the U.S.-Mexico border, while financing the construction of 700 miles of border fence as well as aerial drones to monitor the border. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who helped draft the border security provisions and who supported the overall bill, recently described the border security measures as "almost overkill." According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the legislation is projected to reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion over the next two decades.
McCaskill previously teamed up with McCain in 2010 on legislation that ultimately infused $600 million into border security without increasing the national debt. The bill was paid for by raising fees on companies that choose to outsource high-paying American jobs, and provided millions to increase border patrol and National Guard presence, judicial resources, and unmanned aerial vehicles along the border. That law provided 1,500 additional border patrol agents to help secure the border.
Today's immigration reform legislation now awaits a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.