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DeMint Opposes Amnesty, Supports Border Security

Location: Washington, DC

DeMint Opposes Amnesty, Supports Border Security

Says compromise rewards illegal immigrants with citizenship, voting rights

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) voted against the "compromise" immigration reform proposal sponsored by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and in favor of the Securing America's Borders Act sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). The motions to limit debate on the two measures, which required 60 votes for passage, were both rejected.

Amnesty Compromise

"I fully support legal immigration and a temporary guest worker program, but I cannot endorse a proposal that rewards illegal immigrants with immediate legal status and a clear path to citizenship and voting rights," said Senator DeMint. "That's amnesty and it will only weaken border security. This would encourage future illegal immigration by rewarding those who have violated America's laws."

Some of the key problems in the "compromise" proposal:

• Approximately 12 million illegal immigrants would be placed on a different, easier path to a green card and citizenship;

• Felons, repeat criminals and illegal immigrants who ignored orders of deportation would remain eligible for legalization;

• Information sharing restrictions could prevent the Department of Homeland Security from investigating fraud;

• Illegal immigrants who do depart and re-enter would be given a priority for green cards over those who waited to enter legally.

"The so-called compromise bill would strangely offer a greater reward for those who have broken the law for the longest amount of time," said Senator DeMint. "It would also create an even larger industry of document forgery by increasing the demand for false documents. And worst of all, it would allow felons and repeat offenders to gain citizenship."

The Hagel-Martinez "compromise" proposal failed on a 38-60 vote, with every Republicans voting against the measure.

Secure America's Border Act

The Secure America's Border Act failed on a 36-62 vote, with nearly every Democrat voting against the measure.

"Making our borders secure is the one thing that every American can support, and passing it alone would be a significant step forward," said Senator DeMint. "The fact we could not agree on this basic step is proof that Senate Democrats are not serious about homeland security. This proposal would enhance border security and interior enforcement, employer accountability, and addresses temporary workers and the current illegal population."

Some of the key benefits of Secure America's Border Act:

• Adds nearly 15,000 more officers over the next few years in a sustained and focused effort to buttress the 20,000 already deployed to work on border issues.

• Requires new investments in unmanned aerial vehicles, cameras, and sensors, and a comprehensive national border security strategy.

• Establishes the long-term project of building a virtual barrier to cover every mile of our 1,951-mile long border with Mexico. This will make America safer and reduce the number of people endangering themselves trying to enter the country illegally.

• Makes it easier for the Department of Homeland Security to catch people who violate our immigration laws. It enhances the collection of biometric data about who enters the country, and allows the homeland security department to set up additional border checkpoints.

• Creates tough new penalties for human smugglers and document forgers.

• Imposes expedited removal from the United States for terrorists, dangerous gang members, and others with serious criminal connections.

Senator DeMint believes border security is an important national security priority and he will continue to work for meaningful reform that does not reward illegal behavior but welcomes people who want to come and work in the United States through the legal process.

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