U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today released the following statement after voting for a procedural motion to allow debate on new immigration policy:
"It's clear today's immigration policy isn't working," Johanns said. "Problems with border security, job eligibility verification systems and our visa policies will only continue if we don't have this conversation.
"The current bill was written by eight Senators, which means the other 92 Senators should have an opportunity to offer their ideas. We need an open and honest debate about how best to improve our immigration policy, and this debate should include opportunities to propose and vote on amendments from both sides of the aisle.
"I voted for meaningful debate on this important issue. I did not vote for this bill. I believe the current proposal would have to undergo significant changes before I could support it. This could only happen if my colleagues and I are given the opportunity to vote on needed changes."
The procedural motion to begin debate passed Tuesday by a vote of 84-15.
Johanns believes sensible immigration policy should:
* Significantly and measurably improve border security,
* Prioritize immigrants seeking to legally gain American citizenship over those who broke the law,
* Enforce workplace eligibility requirements,
* Prohibit tax refunds for illegal immigrants in excess of taxes paid, and
* Disclose to taxpayers the full cost of immigration reform.