Friday, April 30, 2010

Senators Introduce Proposal for Immigration Reform, Call for Bipartisan Negotiations

On Thursday evening, Senators Reid (NV), Schumer (NY), Menendez (NJ), Durbin (IL), and Feinstein (CA) introduced a draft framework for immigration reform. The five senators appealed to their Republican colleagues to join them in negotiations to craft a bipartisan bill that could be brought to the floor for a vote.

I'd like to share with you one clip of the eloquent words spoken by Senator Menendez:
"We understand the history of not only this country, but the history of the world. When one group of people become a suspect class, when one group of people are blamed for all the ills of the nation, history has taught us that that has a sad ending. We cannot let that happen here in the greatest country on the face of the earth. It is not who we are as a people. It is not who we are as a nation... That's what is at stake here. This is not a partisan question. This is about the national security of the United States. It is about the national economy of this country. And it is ultimately the preservation of the Constitution - because when I can become a second-class citizen, there is a road in which you can become a second-class citizen. And that is not something we can accept."
You can watch the introduction of the framework on C-SPAN here.

In response, President Obama released a statement highlighting the urgent need for reform:
"What has become increasingly clear is that we can no longer wait to fix our broken immigration system, which Democrats and Republicans alike agree doesn’t work. It’s unacceptable to have 11 million people in the United States who are living here illegally and outside of the system... The next critical step is to iron out the details of a bill. We welcome that discussion, and my Administration will play an active role in engaging partners on both sides of the aisle to work toward a bipartisan solution that is based on the fundamental concept of accountability that the American people expect and deserve."
Senator Leahy (VT), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, offered a comment on the proposal:
"I remain committed to meaningful comprehensive immigration reform... I hope the outline released today will encourage discussions across the aisle, and that they will lead to a bipartisan legislative proposal. All Americans are concerned with updating our immigration laws, fulfilling our labor needs, and addressing the escalating violence along our southern border. I hope we can come together to address these pressing matters."
Senator Graham (SC), who recently halted his efforts to work with Senator Schumer on draft legislation, released a statement with Senator Kyl (AZ) in opposition to the framework:
"Since 2007, threats have increased, some border technology has failed, and the American people have lost confidence in the federal government's ability to secure our borders. So it is our belief that Congress should focus on border security first and that will eventually allow Congress to seriously consider bipartisan immigration reform, instead of politically-motivated ‘conceptual papers.'"
FCNL's statement on the framework is forthcoming.

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