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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

IMMIGRATION -- (Senate - June 29, 2007)

Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I would like to make one other point in morning business and talk about, very briefly, on the events of the day yesterday. Yesterday was a very sad day for America, in two instances, when an ideological extreme group set back our country on immigration.

On immigration, we had lots of prattling, lots of scare tactics. As a result, the immigration bill is paralyzed. That means something. It means that illegal immigrants will continue to flow into America. The number is 12 million; in 5 years, it will be 20 million.

We will have done nothing. It will mean our legal immigration policies will be backward, and thousands of people who should be in this country, because of their skills and because we need them, will not be allowed to enter. We will lose competitive advantage. We hear it all the time, companies wanting to locate in America because they love our system but, because they can't get employees, going to Europe or Asia.

On the immigration bill, a great nation is able to deal with its problems. A great nation leads and overcomes narrow, partisan, and sometimes nasty division to move forward. A great nation fails when it becomes paralyzed. I hope, I pray that what happened yesterday on the immigration bill is not portentous of the future. I hope and pray what happened yesterday on the immigration bill does not portend that we will be tied in a knot on every single issue of major import--education, health care, energy, immigration--and not able to move forward.

The double whammy: Yesterday, the Supreme Court, a new majority--the two new members of the Supreme Court who had impressed upon us their fidelity to stare decisis, to the rule of law, judicial modesty--with one stroke of the pen threw out decades of progress on civil rights in a reading just about everyone who participated in Brown v. Board who is still alive commented on and said that the reading flies in the face of Brown v. Board, despite the fact that the Chief Justice said by allowing segregated schools to continue, he was helping implement Brown v. Board. That is doublespeak, if there ever was. The Nation was set back again.

What is happening? What happened here on the Senate floor yesterday and what happened across the street at the Supreme Court indicates that a narrow ideological minority is setting this country back, paralyzing this country. We live in a vast, changing global world where we need to move forward. We seem paralyzed because of a small ideological minority.

I hope the American people will understand what has happened. I hope the American people will voice their protest. I hope the Supreme Court will come to its senses and not continue on this path of rollback on civil rights. I hope the Senate will come to its senses and come together on a fair immigration bill that deals with our Nation's problems. I pray for the future of this country.


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