Senate Immigration Reform Process Back on Track
June 26, 2007
Washington, DC - The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.
By a 64-35 vote, the Senate took the first step towards reconsideration of the Senate immigration bill. We salute those who voted to bring this issue back to the Senate floor. We thank the Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for having the guts to tackle this complex and controversial challenge.
While the first hurdle has been cleared, many more lay ahead. Every vote on every amendment, and every procedural move and counter move, will be crucial to determining whether we address this critical national issue or punt it the down road for years. We call on those who voted to bring the bill back for debate to stay strong in the coming days.
We believe the choice is clear: a status quo destined to get worse or a comprehensive fix destined to get better before enacted into law. We call on the Senate to reject poison pill amendments this week, to improve family and worker provisions to the extent possible, and to move the bill out of the Senate and to the House of Representatives by the end of this week.
If the Senate fails to advance immigration reform this week, we face the continued disaster that is the status quo of our broken immigration system and inadequate border security. If the Senate opts for inaction, American workers will continue to be faced with a steady flow of undocumented workers lacking legal immigration options, without rights, and with diminished bargaining power, a dynamic that will continue to undercut the bargaining power of American workers.
If the Senate does not rise to the occasion, American businesses who want to play by the rules will continue to be the targets of unfair competition from businesses that skirt our immigration laws. If the Senate lets the bill die, unscrupulous employers, criminal smugglers and fake document merchants will cheer.
If the Senate gets to no, taxpayers will continue to feel cheated as some of those here illegally and many of those that hire them will shirk their responsibility to pay their fair share of taxes. If the Senate bill collapses, local frustration will generate a patchwork of local and state policies that will do little other than divide communities and solve nothing. If the Senate fails, immigrants already here and those coming in the future will continue to be forced into the black market in migration, outside of the law, with few rights and much fear.
The stakes are too high to allow failure or inertia to prevail. The Senate took the first step today. We urge the Senate to take a giant step this week towards workable immigration reform. Say no to poison pills, yes to needed improvements, and yes to the quiet majority of Americans that hunger for bipartisan leadership and pragmatic problem solving.