IMMIGRATION REFORM -- (Senate - June 07, 2007)
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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, this vote was obviously a disappointment. I think those of us who have worked on this issue are encouraged by what both leaders have stated, that we are not giving up or forgetting this legislation, and we have every intention of ultimately finalizing and getting a bill.
Tonight we cannot look away from what is happening on the southern borders that are open to the kind of vandalism that has taken place, the exploitation which has taken place. We cannot look out at our broken immigration system and think we can let that continue. We cannot look away from so many locations across this country where people who are undocumented are being exploited--dangerously exploited--dehumanized.
We cannot look away from those who have worked in the agribusinesses of this country and had real hope we were going to take action in the Senate, where we have worked for years and years and years in order to get legislation through, which 67 Members of this Senate have cosponsored. Their dreams are dashed this evening.
We cannot look away from the 12.5 million people out across America who tonight, after finding out what has failed to happen in the Senate, know they are going home to their children, and know tonight their fear is enhanced and increased because we have failed to take action.
Sure, they broke the law, but they broke the law because they wanted to work, work, work. They wanted to provide for their families. They wanted to provide for their children. They wanted to work. And 70,000 permanent resident aliens have served in the military in Iraq, in Afghanistan. They wanted to be part of the American dream.
Well, I think as both leaders have stated, doing nothing is not an alternative. It is not an alternative. This issue is not going away. And I leave this evening actually encouraged by what both leaders have stated. Most of all, I am encouraged by the spirit which I have seen in the Senate among Republicans as well as a number of our colleagues who believe we have a real responsibility to accept the challenge of both of our leaders and find a way we can secure a fair and just immigration bill.
It is in that spirit that I hope those who have been involved in this will continue to work so we are going to have a constructive resolution. No bill at all is not a solution.
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