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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I rise in support of Senator Ensign's amendment. I very much appreciate him offering it on behalf of the American people. I also appreciate the efforts of all my colleagues who I know have worked in good faith to try to create a better immigration system that works for Americans and our heritage of welcoming immigrants.

As we have gone through this process, I think it has been a good, civil, and constructive debate, but some of us are just coming down on different sides.

My hope was as we went through this debate that we would recognize the urgent sense that Americans have what we need to secure our borders and that we need to stop illegal immigration before we expand legal immigration or increase benefits to those who are here illegally.

I had hoped that when Senator Isakson offered his amendment that included comprehensive reform but created a commonsense sequence, that we in America would see that we need to control our borders before we add additional legal immigrants. But when that amendment failed, I think it discouraged a lot of us, that perhaps everyone wasn't working in a way that would be constructive for America's future.

We also saw when Senator Ensign offered an amendment that had some commonsense ideas if someone had come here illegally and stolen someone's Social Security number, certainly they should not be rewarded by receiving Social Security benefits for the time they were using a stolen Social Security number. I think most of us thought that commonsense amendment would have been adopted overwhelmingly. Unfortunately, it failed, which discouraged many of us who wanted to work as part of a team toward comprehensive reform.

Now we see with this amendment a recognition that we don't need to continue to add reward on top of reward for those who have been working here illegally. While we need to struggle to find a system that works for America, we should not use taxpayer dollars, American taxpayer dollars to give tax credits to folks who have been working here illegally. This does not make sense.

Again, I encourage my colleagues to consider this because it is not only unjust to Americans, I think it is unfair to immigrants. This bill is ultimately going to create such a level of resentment for our immigrants. Once Americans see that this bill creates rewards for those who have come here illegally, not just Social Security benefits but tax credits, citizenships, wages that in many cases are better than Americans', guaranteed wages, Americans are going to see this as unfair and resent the immigrants, and I think it will hurt our heritage of immigration in this country.

I appreciate Senator Ensign offering this amendment.


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