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DeMint to Oppose Immigration Bill

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

DeMint to Oppose Immigration Bill

"While I have had very serious concerns about this bill from the beginning, I have been hopeful we could improve it through debate and amendments. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened, and it's actually gotten worse. We've had numerous commonsense amendments that have been rejected, and this proves to me that the Senate isn't serious about responsible reform," said Senator DeMint. "This still unfairly burdens taxpayers, doesn't ensure secure borders, and guarantees amnesty. We tried a last ditch effort to at least make these security triggers serious, but it failed. I'm thankful that a bipartisan majority agrees this legislation is fundamentally flawed and voted to filibuster it today. It's time to scrap this mess of a bill."

Important amendments rejected by the Senate:

• Eliminate Amnesty - Vitter-DeMint amendment #1157 - The amendment would strike Title VI (Z visas) from the substitute; Not Agreed to, 29-66.

• Put Border Security First - Coburn-DeMint amendment #1311 - The amendment would require Congress to vote to certify all border security and interior enforcement triggers have been met before amnesty can be granted to illegal immigrants; Not Agreed to, 42-54.

• End Sanctuary Cities - Coleman amendment #1158 - The amendment would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) so that local law enforcement is not prohibited (in "sanctuary cities") from acquiring information about the immigration status of a person they have probable cause to believe is not lawfully in the U.S.; Not Agreed to, 48-49.

• Reduce Voter Fraud with Photo ID - McConnell amendment #1170 - The amendment would implement a recommendation of the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform to require photo identification at voting booths and assist in funding the production of free identification cards for voters; Not Agreed to, 41-52.

• Close Criminal Loopholes - Cornyn amendment #1184 - This amendment would redefine aggravated felony, good moral character, and grounds of inadmissibility and removal (all triggers for certain immigration benefits). The amendment would add to the definition of aggravated felony to (1) clarify that it would include imprisonment for an offence based on recidivism, and (2) include more alien smuggling crimes, (3) include entry into the U.S. at an improper location, certain misrepresentations, false marriages for immigration benefits, and setting up a false business for immigration benefits, certain firearms offenses, failure to register as a sex offender, certain crimes related to criminal street gangs, crimes of violence, driving while intoxicated. It would redefine good moral character to include any person who was at any time inadmissible for having terrorist links (or other national security grounds), as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security at his unreviewable discretion. Good moral character is required for an alien to naturalize. The grounds for inadmissibility would be expanded to include aliens who have been convicted of (or admits having committed) (1) certain firearms offenses, (2) failure to register as a sex offender, (3) crime of domestic violence, stalking, or crimes against children, (4) aggravated felons, and (5) violating a protection order; Not Agreed to, 46-51.

• Eliminate Special Pathway to Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants - Allard amendment #1189 - The amendment would remove the supplemental points given to Z visa holders (i.e., the unauthorized population in the U.S. who register under the provisions of the substitute bill) under the new merit-based green card allocation system (created under the substitute); Not Agreed to, 31-62.

• Reduce Burden of Immigrant Health Care on Taxpayers - DeMint amendment #1197 - This amendment would require Z visa holders to maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage to remain in legal immigration status. The minimum health care coverage applied is defined in the Internal Revenue Code, section 223(c) as a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), which have deductibles of $1,000 or more for single coverage; Not Agreed to, 43-55.

• Implement System to Track Visa Overstays - Vitter amendment #1339 - This amendment would add to the trigger for primary parts of the bill, a requirement that the US VISIT system be fully implemented. Without the U.S. VISIT exit portion, the U.S. has no method to ensure that workers (or their visiting families) do not overstay their visas. In 1996, Congress required the Administration to set up a system that recorded the exit and entry of persons traveling to the United States. Though the exit portion of the US VISIT was required to be implemented by the end of 2005, it is still not complete; Not Agreed to 48-49.

• Encourage High-Skilled Immigration - Ensign amendment #1374 - This amendment would encourage highly-skilled immigrants under the new merit based system; Not Agreed to 42-55.

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