Amendment Text: S.Amdt.1507 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (06/20/2013)

This Amendment appears on page S4755 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Pages S4730-S4786]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will resume consideration of S. 744, which the clerk will 
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 744) to provide for comprehensive immigration 
     reform, and for other purposes.


       Leahy/Hatch amendment No. 1183, to encourage and facilitate 
     international participation in the performing arts.
       Boxer/Landrieu amendment No. 1240, to require training for 
     National Guard and Coast Guard officers and agents in 
     training programs on border protection, immigration law 
     enforcement, and how to address vulnerable populations, such 
     as children and victims of crime.
       Cruz amendment No. 1320, to replace title I of the bill 
     with specific border security requirements, which shall be 
     met before the Secretary of Homeland Security may process 
     applications for registered immigrant status or blue card 
     status and to avoid Department of Homeland Security budget 
       Cornyn amendment No. 1251, Requiring Enforcement, Security 
     and safety while Upgrading Lawful Trade and travel 
     Simultaneously (RESULTS).
       Leahy (for Reed) amendment No. 1224, to clarify the 
     physical present requirements for merit-based immigrant visa 

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the time 
until noon will be equally divided between the majority and the 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Republican whip.

                           Amendment No. 1251

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 
45 minutes between now and the time our vote is scheduled this morning 
on my amendment.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. CORNYN. I won't be taking all of that time right now. I will 
reserve some time and hopefully other colleagues will come down to the 
floor and engage in a discussion.
  As you know, the past few days I have been talking about the 
importance of border security in this immigration bill. To remind 
anybody who happens to be listening, I come from a State, Texas, that 
has the longest common border with the country of Mexico, 1,200 miles.
  While many of our colleagues or some of our colleagues come from 
States such as California where in San Diego they have the fence there 
that they view as restricting illegal immigration and entry into the 
country, Tucson, Arizona, has a little different situation because much 
of the land is Federal land. In Texas, our 1,200-mile common border 
with Mexico is largely private property on the Texas side. It also is 
enormously diverse. You can go out to West Texas near Alpine where Big 
Bend National Park is where you will see huge cliffs that go some 1,000 
feet down to the Rio Grande River. While some have said we need a fence 
across the entire border, I daresay that putting a fence on a 1,000-
foot cliff is not going to enhance border security much. What I have 
argued for from the beginning is the need for a comprehensive border 
security plan and for Congress to make a sincere and enforceable 
commitment to follow through on that plan.
  I do believe, in the 6 years since the last time we debated 
immigration reform in 2007, there is an emerging consensus in the 
country. Many people are mad, and they deserve to be mad, about the 
Federal Government's failure to live up to its promises when it comes 
to our broken immigration system.
  We can go back to 1986 when Ronald Reagan, the father of modern 
conservatism in the Republican Party, signed an amnesty for 3 million 
people. His rationale was we are going to enforce our immigration 
system so this will be the first and last time any President will have 
to sign an amnesty.
  We know the enforcement component didn't work, that promise was not 
kept, causing a lot of deeply seated skepticism in the American people 
as to whether Congress and Washington can be depended upon to keep 
their commitments when it comes to enforcing our laws and securing our 
  My amendment that we will be voting on perhaps as early as noon today 
is designed to turn border security rhetoric into reality. More 
specifically, what it adds is a trigger. We have been talking about 
triggers to the Gang of 8 bill, the underlying bill, but it would 
require the Federal Government to have 100-percent situational 
awareness of our border, the southwestern border. We can do that from 
Border Patrol, radar, ground sensors, and using all of the magnificent 
technology the Defense Department and our military have produced--
amazing American innovators--that our military has used effectively in 
places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
  I don't believe there is any doubt, and I know our Gang of 8, the 
people who wrote the underlying bill, believe that 100-percent 
situational awareness of our border is possible and attainable if we 
have the political will to make it happen and if our law enforcement 
authorities are provided the appropriate resources to do it. And 100-
percent situational awareness is one of the requirements.
  The second is operational control. Right now we don't have control of 
our southwestern border. The latest Government Accountability Office 
estimate is only about 45 percent of our southwestern border is under 
operational control.
  For example, a few weeks ago I was in South Texas in Brooks County in 
deep Rio Grande Valley, the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Border 
Patrol, visiting with them. On 1 day they detained 700 people coming 
across the southwestern border in the Rio Grande sector and 400 of them 
came from countries other than Mexico. Some of the rescue beacons they 
have down there for people who are in distress--immigrants coming from 
Central America, coming from around the world through our southwestern 
border into the United States--the rescue beacons they have down there 
that I saw with my own eyes, where if people get in big trouble and 
they realize they may lose their life unless they call the Border 
Patrol in to help them, are in English, Spanish and, get this, Chinese. 
Chinese. This is in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
  I asked the local law enforcement authorities, why Chinese? They 
said: Well, for a while, we got a whole lot of Chinese immigrants 
coming across the border, being smuggled across into the United States.
  I said: What is the going rate you have to pay the coyotes, as they 
call them, the smugglers?
  They said: About $30,000.
  For $30,000 somebody from China can get somebody to smuggle them into 
the United States, which is the reason why those rescue beacons were in 
English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  Indeed, the Border Patrol statistics reveal we have people who have 
come across the border in the last year from 100 different countries 
around the world. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity, as a 
member of the Armed Services Committee, to ask the Director of National 
Intelligence James Clapper and the head of the Defense Intelligence 
Agency whether this porous border was a national security issue. Both 
of them said it was, which is pretty obvious.
  We know if people from 100 different countries can penetrate our 
southwestern border because of a lack of appropriate security there, if 
they have the money and they are determined enough, they can come from 
anywhere in the world, including countries that are state sponsors of 
terrorism. Operational control of the border is very important.

[[Page S4731]]

  Third, my amendment offers a real trigger that requires a nationwide 
biometric entry-exit system. That sounds a little obscure. Basically, 
what happens when you come to the United States from another country is 
you are required to give fingerprints. That is a biometric identifier 
because you can't use phony documents or a fuzzy picture to claim to be 
somebody you are not and get into the country illegally.
  The importance of the biometric entry-exit system was noted 
particularly by the 9/11 Commission, because several of the people who 
were involved in the plot to kill 3,000 Americans on September 11, 
2001, entered the country legally, but they never left. Hence, the 
importance of a biometric entry-exit system to document not just when 
people come to America as tourists or students or whatever, but that 
they actually leave when their visa is expired.
  Right now, 40 percent of illegal immigration is a product of a 
failure to have an effective entry-exit system because people come 
legally and they simply stay and melt into the great American 
landscape. Unless they come into contact with our law enforcement 
officials, commit a crime--driving while intoxicated, domestic 
violence, or the like--they are never going to be caught.
  Fourth, my amendment requires nationwide E-Verify. E-Verify is the 
name given to a system with which all Federal offices have to comply. 
For example, when somebody wants to be hired in my Senate office, 
either in Texas or up here in DC, we are required by law to run their 
name through the E-Verify system to verify this person is legally 
eligible to work in the United States. That is an important part of the 
provisions in my amendment that provide real triggers.
  Let me talk a moment about triggers, because you are going to hear a 
lot of discussion about a trigger. A trigger is more than a promise. We 
know there is a litany--indeed, there is a trail of broken promises--
when it comes to our immigration system that dates back to at least 
  What a trigger means is there is an enforceable mechanism that will 
prevent people from transitioning, in the case of my amendment, from 
probationary status to legal permanent residency until the objectives 
set out in the underlying bill, 100 percent of situational awareness 
and operational control, are met, together with a biometric entry-exit 
system and nationwide E-Verify.
  I wish to emphasize that my amendment uses the same standard, 
metrics, and targets as the underlying bill. The difference between my 
amendment and their bill is their bill promises the Sun and the Moon 
when it comes to border security, E-Verify, and entry-exit, but it has 
no enforceable mechanism.
  I ask the question, why should the American people trust Congress? 
Why should the American people trust Washington to enforce this part of 
the essential bargain, the security part of the bargain, if it has 
failed to do so in the past?
  I would suggest to you that given the current trust deficit here in 
Washington, with scandals everywhere, that we can't reasonably expect 
the American people to rely on ``trust us.'' We need something 
enforceable, which is what my amendment provides.
  The trigger in my amendment is not designed to punish people. It is 
designed to realign incentives. Everybody from conservatives to 
liberals to people in the middle of the road--Republicans, Democrats, 
you name it--everybody is incentivized to hit the standard set out in 
the underlying bill, 100-percent situational awareness and operational 
  Over the past few days I have cited a number of experts. We in the 
Senate have a lot of experts. We have people from different States, 
some of whom, to be honest, know more about the subject than others. I 
have cited a couple of experts, including the former head of Customs 
and Border Protection and the former Under Secretary for Border and 
Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security, all of 
whom believe the border security requirements in my amendment--and 
again I stress in the underlying bill--are reasonable and realistic.
  No fewer than three members of the Gang of 8--Senator Bennet of 
Colorado, a Democrat; Senator Flake of Arizona, a Republican; and 
Senator McCain, a Republican from Arizona--have said the 90-percent 
apprehension rate for illegal border crossers is a perfectly attainable 
  Senator McCain 2 days ago said he had talked to the head of the 
Border Patrol who said this is a perfectly realistic goal, 100-percent 
situational awareness and operational control. I agree with that.
  If the goal is attainable, why not make it mandatory? Why not make it 
go beyond the usual promises and platitudes and demand actual results? 
That is what my amendment does. It demands results, and it creates a 
mechanism that ensures those results will be delivered.
  Again, this is designed to realign all of the incentives so all of us 
are absolutely focused like a laser in ensuring that the executive 
branch and the bureaucracy will do what the bill promises will be done. 
If we are able to accomplish that--I believe the American people are a 
compassionate people and understand we have a very difficult hand to 
play here because we haven't enforced our immigration laws for many 
years now. If they believe sincerely this will end the illegality in 
our broken immigration system, if this will return law and order to our 
broken immigration system, I believe they will accept dealing with the 
11 million people here in a humane and compassionate way.
  If you think our immigration system is broken, as I do, and if you 
think the status quo is unacceptable, that doing nothing is not the 
answer, then I strongly urge my colleagues to support this amendment. 
It is the only way, I believe, to get truly bipartisan and, even more 
important than that, truly effective immigration reform.
  Mr. President, may I ask the Chair how much time I have remaining.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Thirty minutes.
  Mr. CORNYN. I thank the Chair.
  As I mentioned a few moments ago, I wish to spend a few additional 
minutes talking about a portion of my amendment that hasn't received 
much attention because we have been focused so much on the border 
security component. Indeed, I think most Americans would be shocked to 
learn the underlying bill--the Gang of 8 bill--would allow eligibility 
for immediate legalization of people with multiple drunk driving 
convictions. Indeed, the bill even legalizes drunk drivers who have 
already been deported, amazingly enough.
  Just for perspective, in the year 2011, Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement deported nearly 36,000 people with DUI--driving under the 
influence--convictions. The problem is especially bad in Houston, TX, 
where I was born. Just last month, a Harris County Sheriff's Office 
sergeant named Dwayne Polk was killed by an illegal immigrant drunk 
driver who had previously been arrested for driving under the influence 
and illegally carrying a weapon. After his earlier arrest he was 
deported, but he eventually came back to Houston and once again drove 
while intoxicated, with the tragic results of SGT Dwayne Polk losing 
his life.
  In May of 2011, Houston police officer Kevin Will was killed by an 
illegal immigrant drunk driver who had been deported to Mexico on 
several occasions. In August 2007, an illegal immigrant drunk driver, 
with a blood alcohol level three times above the legal limit, killed 
three people on a Houston area freeway, including a husband, a wife, 
and their 2-year-old son. The driver who killed them was out on bail at 
the time of the accident after having been arrested for domestic 
  For that matter, not only does the underlying bill legalize 
immigrants with multiple drunk driving convictions, it also legalizes 
people with multiple domestic violence convictions--domestic violence 
convictions. That is mind-boggling.
  I realize some people, when they hear the word ``misdemeanor,'' think 
we are talking about jaywalking or a speeding ticket or something 
similar to that or driving a car without a functioning taillight, but 
the truth is--and the former prosecutors in this Chamber know--the 
technical difference between a misdemeanor and a felony can be as 
little as 1 day additional time in prison.
  Typically, a misdemeanor is punished, potentially, with up to 1 year 

[[Page S4732]]

jail. Anything over that is traditionally called a felony. More 
clearly, felonious conduct is often pleaded down to a misdemeanor, 
particularly in instances such as domestic violence, where the victim 
is either married to or lives with the assailant and there is 
difficulty getting cooperation. Sometimes the only thing the prosecutor 
can do, even in a case of a very serious physical or other assault, is 
to get a misdemeanor conviction, even though the underlying 
circumstances are very serious indeed.
  There are numerous States that classify certain domestic violence 
crimes as misdemeanors, and there is a lot of variety in this, but that 
doesn't mean the conduct at issue is any less of a domestic violence 
offense. By my count, 23 States have specific misdemeanor domestic 
violence offenses. These include California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, 
Minnesota, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
  Minnesota, for example, defines misdemeanor domestic assault this 

       Whoever . . . against a family or household member: (1) 
     commits an act with intent to cause fear and another of 
     immediate bodily harm or death; or (2) intentionally inflict 
     or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.

  As I am sure my colleagues from Minnesota know, crimes that qualify 
as misdemeanor domestic violence under Minnesota law include domestic 
abuse with a deadly weapon--even domestic abuse with a gun. While it is 
called a misdemeanor in the statute books, it is obviously a very 
serious underlying offense.
  I would love it if some Member of this Chamber would explain why 
conduct such as this should not be a bar to the generous opportunity 
afforded in the bill to obtain probationary status and eventually earn 
a pathway to citizenship. Why should we include people such as this, 
who have shown so much contempt for our laws?
  We are not just talking about people who have come here to work in 
violation of our immigration laws, we are talking about people who have 
come in violation of our immigration laws and who have also committed 
serious offenses. We should have zero tolerance for anyone who enters 
our country and commits such a heinous act.
  America has always been a deeply compassionate and understanding 
society, and nothing has changed, but when it comes to granting legal 
status to people who have violated our immigration laws, our criteria 
should be very clear: no drunk drivers and no violent criminals, 
period. My amendment guarantees that, which is just one more reason why 
this Chamber should embrace it.
  For now, I wish to conclude by saying I read in the press, including 
the New York Times, a story by Ashley Parker, dated June 19, 2013, that 
says, ``Two GOP Senators are close to a deal on border security.'' It 
cites the efforts of my colleagues Bob Corker of Tennessee and John 
Hoeven of North Dakota, who have been working behind the scenes to try 
to improve the border security component of the underlying bill.
  I applaud them for their efforts, and I applaud them for moving the 
underlying bill in a more positive direction when it comes to border 
security. I am going to wait to pass final judgment until I actually 
see language because the devil is so often in the details on things 
such as this. But I would point out that just before their efforts, 
which now reportedly would include an additional 20,000 Border Patrol 
agents, the underlying bill had zero additional Border Patrol agents--
zero additional boots on the ground.

  My amendment adds 5,000 Border Patrol agents. Reportedly--and, again, 
we need to see the details of the proposal--Senators Corker and Hoeven 
would add 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents.
  To show what a dramatic change that has been, Senator Schumer, one of 
the chief architects of the underlying bill, in a speech on June 12, 
said: Whatever CBO--the Congressional Budget Office--says, 6,500 border 
agents is a multibillion-dollar proposition, unpaid for, which is why I 
know my colleagues on the other side rue the day when we vote for 
unpaid obligations.
  Again, he said--and this is on June 12--how can you manufacture 3,500 
new personnel and say it doesn't add to the cost and will be 
reallocated? I want to know where it is going to be reallocated from.
  Similarly, my colleague Senator McCain said: But those who think we 
need more people, we do need more people to facilitate movement across 
ports of entry, but we have 21,000 Border Patrol agents. Today there 
are, at the Mexico-Arizona border, people sitting in vehicles in 120-
degree heat.
  He said, in a speech on June 18: What we need is not more people. He 
went on to say: But the fact is, we can get this border secured, and 
the answer, my friend, is as is proposed in the Cornyn amendment; that 
we hire 10,000 more Border Patrol agents. He said: That is not a 
recognition of what we need.
  Finally, he said: No expert I have talked to, to say the best way to 
control people from crossing the border illegally, which I desperately 
want to do, works better with a huge amount of personnel.
  So I point out those comments by Senator Schumer and Senator McCain, 
two of the leading members of the Gang of 8--their comments on June 12. 
So if it is true, as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, that 
Senator Corker and Senator Hoeven have moved them off the zero 
additional Border Patrol agents to doubling the size of the Border 
Patrol agents, that is a substantial movement in terms of boots on the 
  I will conclude, for now, by saying this: I am looking forward to 
seeing the language that is being proposed, the alternative language. 
But for now, I believe my amendment deserves the support of the Members 
of this Chamber because I believe it is the only way we have available 
to us to ensure our constituents, to look them in the face and say: We 
know we have broken promises in the past when it comes to border 
security. We know we promised 17 years ago there would be a biometric 
entry-exit system, when President Clinton signed that into law. But you 
know what, we didn't do it. But we are serious about doing the 
enforcement and security measures now and, in fact, we have put a 
provision in the bill which will guarantee it.
  That is what my amendment will do.
  I reserve the remainder of my time, and I suggest the absence of a 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time 
during the quorum calls be equally divided among the Democrats and 
Republicans in the Chamber.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. CORNYN. Again, Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, we are looking at a lot of amendments 
right now, and I just want to call attention to one that I think is 
significant. It is one where, when people find out about it, they are 
just outraged that something like this could happen, and it is 
something that could be corrected with a very simple amendment.
  My amendment addresses the 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision of 
Zavidas. There, the Court held that immigrants admitted to the United 
States and then ordered removed couldn't be detained for more than 6 
months. So something has to happen after a 6-month period.
  Four years later, the Supreme Court extended the decision to people 
here illegally as well. That is what we are talking about today. As a 
result, the Department of Justice and Homeland Security had no choice 
but to release thousands of criminal immigrants into our neighborhoods. 
The problem with these decisions is that the criminal immigrants 
ordered to be removed can't be deported back to their country if

[[Page S4733]]

that country refuses to issue the necessary travel documents. In other 
words, if the country doesn't want to take them back, they don't have 
to take them back. Yet we have to release them.
  More importantly, these decisions have a serious impact on public 
safety, as recent cases have illustrated.
  Six years ago, a Vietnamese immigrant was ordered deported after 
serving time in prison for armed robbery and assault. He was never 
removed because this Supreme Court decision handicapped our 
authorities. Our immigration officials couldn't deport him without the 
cooperation of the Vietnamese Government--which they did not--and his 
deportation was never processed. Now, this same immigrant, Binh Thai 
Luc, is suspected of killing five people in a San Francisco home in 
March of 2012.
  The story of Qian Wu puts this situation in perspective. Qian Wu felt 
a little safer after the man who had stalked, choked, punched, and 
pointed a knife at her was locked up and ordered removed from the 
country. The man, Huang Chen, was a Chinese citizen who had illegally 
entered the United States. As has been the case at least 8,500 times in 
the last 4 years, Mr. Chen's home country refused to let its violent 
criminal return home.
  Frankly, you can understand how this could happen--and it did happen. 
So, handcuffed by the Supreme Court decision, immigrant officials 
released Mr. Chen back into the community, here in the United States, 
when they had nowhere else to send him.
  As you can imagine, the story also does not have a happy ending. Upon 
his release in 2010, Huang Chen murdered Qian Wu, the very person that 
was concerned during this time.
  As you can see, this is a real problem with serious consequences. 
There are others like these people out there. According to statistics 
provided by the Department of Homeland Security, there are many 
countries that are not cooperating or that take longer to repatriate 
their nationals. Countries such as Iran, Pakistan, China, Somalia, 
Liberia are on the list.
  The Supreme Court, in making their decision, said Congress should 
clarify the law. My amendment No. 1203, which I hope is going to be 
voted on in the next short while, does exactly what we need to do by 
creating a framework that allows immigration officials to detain 
dangerous criminal immigrants such as Binh Thai Luc and Huang Chen.
  Specifically, immigrants can be detained beyond 6 months if they are 
under order of removal but can't be deported due to the country's 
unwillingness to accept them back if several conditions are met, 
including if their release would, one, threaten national security; or, 
two, threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an 
aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.
  I understand that the ACLU is scoring against my amendment. I view 
that as a badge of honor and an additional reason to support my 
amendment. It seems that the ACLU is only concerned with protecting the 
rights of criminals. It is time that we stop this nonsense. Again, all 
you have to do is go out in public and tell people that we have this 
situation where we are forced to release these criminals into our 
society merely because their country will not repatriot them.
  So I ask support of my amendment No. 1203.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak in morning 
business for up to 12 minutes.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I quote:

       He has endeavored to prevent the population of these 
     States; for that purpose obstructing the laws of 
     Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to 
     encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions 
     of new appropriations of lands.

  That is the language of the Declaration of Independence.
  One of the grievances against King George III, in the immortal words 
of Thomas Jefferson, was limitations on immigration: ``Endeavoring to 
prevent the population of these States.'' That was an original 
formulation, an original idea at the heart of the United States.
  Looked at in the context of our history, this debate we are having 
this week is somewhat disappointing but not surprising. It is serious 
in its particulars, but it is amazing in its totality.
  Here we have a roomful of descendants of immigrants arguing about the 
conditions of immigration. Sure, most of our ancestors in this room 
entered the country legally, but that was because there were virtually 
no laws about immigration for the majority of our history. For most of 
our history, if a person could pay the cost, a person could enter the 
country. That is the fundamental premise of America.
  What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of people with courage, people 
with imagination, people with initiative, people with perseverance?
  Before coming to this body, I taught at Bowdoin College in Maine a 
course on leaders and leadership and we attempted to define the 
qualities of leadership. At the end of the course each year we took an 
analysis of what we had seen, and people with courage, imagination, 
initiative, and perseverance are leaders. Those are the people we want 
in this country. That is what it takes to come here. That is what it 
has taken to come here throughout our history.
  And why are they coming? They are coming for opportunity. They are 
coming for freedom. They are coming for a better life for their 
children, the same reason our ancestors came here. Isn't this what we 
all want--opportunity, freedom, and a better life for our kids?
  Does this discussion affect the State of Maine? Well, yes, it does. 
We have migrants and immigrants picking our crops in northern Maine, 
blueberries and potatoes and broccoli. We have a vibrant refugee and 
asylum-seeking community in Portland, ME, and in Lewiston. Many of 
those from Africa come here with very different cultures. We have 52 
languages spoken in the Portland public schools. Yes, we have strains 
and difficulties adjusting one culture to another. But we are making it 
work and it is making our State richer spiritually, culturally, 
intellectually, and, yes, financially. It is working.
  But isn't this discussion all about amnesty? I keep hearing about 
amnesty. The mail I get says, Don't let them get amnesty. No, it is not 
about amnesty. In my book, amnesty is a free pass. Amnesty is a ``get 
out of jail free'' card; it is a forgiveness. If a person is convicted 
of what we call in our State OUI--other places call it DWI--if a person 
is convicted of driving under the influence, that person pays a fine, 
loses their license, and sometimes they spend a few days in jail and 
they are under a suspension or a probationary period for several months 
or perhaps even several years. But when it is all over--when a person 
has paid their fine and had their suspension--they get their license 
back and they move on with their life and go from there. Nobody calls 
that amnesty when a person gets their license back at the end of that 
period after they have paid their debt to society.
  I would argue that a fine, which is contained in this bill, and 13 
years of what constitutes probation is not amnesty. It is not amnesty 
in anybody's book. People who are talking about calling it amnesty--
that is not accurate.
  Why is this debate so important? Why is this issue so important? Why 
is this bill so important? In my view, immigration is the mainspring of 
America. It is our secret sauce. It is what has made us who we are. No 
other country in the history of the world has been built the way this 
country was built. Except for the African Americans who were brought 
here against their will and the Native Americans who were here when the 
Europeans arrived, everybody else here came by virtue of immigration, 
and that immigration is, I believe, what has separated us from the rest 
of the world. It is the

[[Page S4734]]

constant flow of new energy, initiative, and ideas, different cultures, 
different religions, different backgrounds, and different creative 
energies that have made this country what it is today. If we unduly 
limit it or cut it off, we are sunk.
  We are living in a negative demographic timebomb. Last year, I 
believe for the first time in American history, we had more deaths than 
births of White Americans. One doesn't have to be a mathematician to 
know if that continues, we will shrink and shrivel as a society. We 
need immigration to add to our population, to add to the ideas and 
  What would we lose if we unduly limited immigration in this country? 
Well, I am standing in the shoes of Olympia Snowe, the daughter of 
Greek immigrants. Before Olympia Snowe, the holder of this office was 
George Mitchell, the son of immigrants. Before George Mitchell it was 
Ed Muskie, one of the great legislators of the 20th century in America 
and the son of an immigrant Polish tailor. We have among our number now 
a brilliant young Senator from Texas who himself is the son of an 
  Immigrants are always going to be different and a little scary, and 
that has been true throughout American history. We have had waves of 
immigrations: Italians, Germans, Scottish people, Chinese, Irish. It is 
hard for us to believe, but a lot of the same sort of uneasiness about 
new immigrants was applied to those groups. In New York in the 1800s, 
if a person went to apply for a job there might be a sign in the window 
of the store that said ``employees needed, jobs available,'' and then 
in parentheses it might say in big letters, ``NINA''--N-I-N-A. NINA 
stood for ``No Irish Need Apply.'' So uneasiness and fear and, yes, 
some prejudice against immigrants has been a part of our history. But 
in the end, those people are the very people who have built this 
country, literally, and who have made this country what it is.
  It is who we are.
  There is also talk I have heard about wages and how all of these new 
people are going to depress wages. Indeed, a couple of weeks ago I had 
a meeting on my schedule in Maine with a union group and all it said 
was ``union group to discuss immigration.'' I thought, These folks are 
going to be worried about wages and they are going to tell me this is a 
bad idea. Just the opposite. What they said was, We support the bill, 
Senator. We want immigration reform because now we have millions of 
people in this country who are in the shadows who don't have the 
benefits of the labor protections and that is what is drawing wages 
down. That is what is providing a downward motion on wages and 
benefits. When an employer knows he or she has that kind of leverage 
over an employee--if a person doesn't take the low salary or sometimes 
no salary at all--they may say, I am going to report you; you will be 
gone and deported, and that is an inherently uneven and unfair playing 
  That is why I believe, and I think the CBO report has confirmed, that 
fixing this problem--putting the people who are here on a pathway to 
earn citizenship--will actually be a gigantic stimulus to our country.

  So what we are doing here is very important. Yes, I know, we need 
controls, we need border controls. We need to control terrorism and 
criminals coming into our country. And, yes, I know we shouldn't reward 
breaking the law. But 13 years of probation and a fine is not rewarding 
law-breaking. Again, we have to ask, Why did these people break the 
law? They broke the law for the same reason our ancestors came here, 
and the only reason they didn't break the law was there was no law to 
break at that time. But they came here for opportunity and for a better 
life for their children.
  I have quoted Mark Twain before on this floor and I will probably do 
so repeatedly because he captures so many thoughts so succinctly. In 
this case, what he said was: ``History doesn't always repeat itself, 
but it usually rhymes.''
  This discussion we are having here today is nothing new in American 
history. It has arisen time after time. It arose in the 1840s and 1850s 
when indeed a whole political party came up that was designed to keep 
people out. It was called the Know-Nothing Party. The reason it was 
called that was because when people asked the members of the party what 
they stood for, the members of the party would say they didn't know 
anything about that because they didn't want to talk about it. But they 
were antiforeigner and anti-Catholic and it was designed to lock in the 
ethnic and cultural society as it stood in 1850.
  Abraham Lincoln was asked, when he was a member of the Illinois 
legislature--I wish he had been a member of the Maine legislature but I 
have to concede him to Illinois--how he felt about the Know-Nothings 
and whether he in fact was a Know-Nothing. Here is what he said:

       I am not a Know-Nothing. How could I be? How can anyone who 
     abhors the oppression of Negroes be in favor of degrading 
     other classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy 
     appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by 
     declaring ``all men are created equal.'' We now practically 
     read it, ``all men are created equal except Negroes.'' With 
     the Know-Nothings in charge it will read, ``all men are 
     created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.''

  He ended pretty toughly. He said:

       When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some 
     country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to 
     Russia, for example, where despotism can be taken pure and 
     without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

  I am not suggesting hypocrisy on the part of the people who are 
debating this bill, but I do think this is not a new debate and we 
can't fear new people coming into our country.
  I believe this bill represents a fair-minded resolution of the 
current conflict over immigration: control of the border to stem the 
tide of illegal immigration; penalties applied to those who broke the 
law; but an opportunity to earn citizenship after paying the penalty 
and a lengthy period of what amounts to probation.
  I don't think this debate is about fences and fines and learning 
English. It is about America itself: confusing, chaotic, creative, at 
times unsettling, but always erring on the side of freedom and 
  We have young people coming to this country who want and will achieve 
an education and then we send them home. In my view, we should staple a 
green card to every diploma of every foreign student the moment they 
walk through that graduation line so they can bring their ideas and 
creativity to our society.
  The constant infusion of new blood, new people, and new ideas isn't a 
threat, it is who we are and it is what made us what we are--again, in 
the words of Abraham Lincoln--``the last, best hope of Earth.''
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I would ask notice from the Chair after I 
have expended 10 minutes of my 12-minute time so I know I have a couple 
of minutes remaining, please.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has 8 minutes 
  Mr. CORNYN. I thank the Chair. I wish to get a 2-minute notice, 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator will be notified.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I have been here numerous times over the 
last couple of weeks to talk about why the essential bargain that needs 
to underlie this bill has to be one that is not based on phony promises 
such as the ones made in the past about restoring legality and order to 
our broken immigration system. It actually needs a mechanism that will 
compel results and realign all of the incentives for people across the 
political spectrum, Republicans and Democrats alike, to make sure 
Congress, and the executive branch in particular, keep their promises 
when it comes to border security. That is what my amendment is about 
and that is what we will be voting on perhaps in the next half-hour.
  The underlying metrics contained in my amendment are derived from 
those in the underlying bill: 100-percent situational awareness and 90-
percent apprehension. Some people may question

[[Page S4735]]

that and say, How can we have 100-percent situational awareness? The 
fact is by using the technology currently deployed in places such as 
Afghanistan and Iraq. Technology such as that was featured in a Los 
Angeles Times article a few weeks ago called the VADER, a type of radar 
pilot that was being tested on the western part of the border. With it 
we can do a comprehensive job of seeing the border.
  I am not talking about a Border Patrol agent seeing three people 
coming across the border and not seeing a handful of others who scamper 
across in some other place. I am not talking about that sort of 
imprecision. I am talking about using available technology such as 
that, for example, demonstrated by AT AT recently came in and 
demonstrated in my office the use of fiberoptic cable to create, in 
essence, an acoustic system which will identify people crossing the 
border and which then will trigger cameras to focus on the individual 
coming across to make sure it is not a deer or a javelina, that it is 
actually what the Border Patrol should be focused on; that is, people 
crossing the border illegally.

  They could basically lay that cable down the entire U.S.-Mexican 
border for, I think they told me, somewhere on the order of $80 
million. It is a lot of money, but it is not too much when it comes to 
securing our border.
  Likewise, I mentioned the VADER technology. I know there are fixed 
towers and radar systems and camera systems that are being used by the 
military that need to be used by the Department of Homeland Security 
when it comes to protecting our border and keeping our commitments to 
keeping America safe.
  There are dirigibles, I will call them, blimps that are used 
successfully in places such as Afghanistan and which should provide an 
ability to see a huge stretch of the border, using, again, radar and 
cameras. So this idea of situational awareness--that that is somehow 
not possible--simply ignores the technological advances that have been 
made and deployed by our U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq and 
which could be deployed if we had the political will to make it happen 
along the southwestern border.
  I do not think it is too much to ask that of the people you actually 
see, that the Border Patrol ought to detain 90 percent. Right now, 
according to the Government Accountability Office--in 2011--our border 
is only 45 percent under operational control--45 percent. So that 
means, if you do the rough arithmetic, out of the 350,000 people who 
were detained coming across our border last year maybe the Border 
Patrol seizes and detains half of the people. Who knows what it is. We 
are guessing. We know the enumerator, but we do not know the 
denominator. So we need to deploy the technology and assets we have in 
order to meet that goal.
  Again, I would refer to the New York Times article I talked about a 
moment ago of June 19. The headline: ``Two G.O.P. Senators Are Close to 
a Deal on Border Security.'' This refers to the efforts of our 
colleagues Senator Corker and Senator Hoeven. I have applauded them 
publicly, and I will do so again in making sure under their agreement--
which we have not yet seen, and we understand we will see language 
maybe tonight--they have helped make sure that we focus more assets on 
the border security issue. I think they have added very constructively 
to this process, but I think the problem is--and we will have to wait 
until we see the language--under this pending agreement it says they 
have agreed to make the 90-percent apprehension rate a goal rather than 
a requirement--a goal.
  Well, the American people will not be fooled. When Congress says to 
the American people, on something as important as border security: 
Trust us, it reminds me of the old sort of lame joke that the most 
feared words in the English language are: I am from the government, and 
I am here to help.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has 2 minutes 
  Mr. CORNYN. We are saying, in essence, on border security: We are 
from the government. Trust us. We have an aspirational goal to actually 
secure the border, but you have no guarantee that it will be done.
  That is why my amendment is so important, because what it does is not 
create any sort of punitive effect, but it realigns all of the 
incentives for people across the political spectrum--Republicans and 
Democrats alike--to make sure the executive branch and the bureaucracy 
keep their commitments when it comes to border security. Then I believe 
the American people, demonstrating their typical generosity and 
compassion, will say: Yes, we need to find a humane way to deal with 
the 11 million people who are here.
  Mr. President, I have a sheet in front of me entitled ``What They Are 
Saying About Border Security Metrics.'' This sheet has excerpts from a 
number of experts in the border security area who talk about the 
importance not just of measuring inputs--how many Border Patrol agents, 
how many drones, how many radar; I call those inputs--what they say is 
that we actually need outputs, we need results, and we need metrics or 
measuring sticks to be able to show we are making progress toward the 
intended goal.
  I ask unanimous consent that this document citing these experts be 
printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
  I hope my colleagues will vote to take up my amendment. I understand 
the majority leader will likely move to table it in short order. I hope 
my colleagues will vote no on that motion to table because I think this 
is an important building block in terms of restoring Congress's and the 
Federal Government's credibility when it comes to our broken 
immigration system.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and reserve the remainder of my 
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record as follows:

           What They Are Saying About Border Security Metrics

       ``Immigration reform proposals need to identify clearer 
     goals for border security and ways to measure success rather 
     than simply increasing resources.''--Greg Chen & Su Kim, 
     Border Security: Moving Beyond Past Benchmarks (Amer. 
     Immigration Lawyers Ass'n, Jan. 2013), at 1.
       ``Strategic planning is necessary if [DHS] is to carry out 
     its border-security missions effectively and efficiently. As 
     part of that, DHS leadership must define concrete and 
     sensible objectives and measures of success.''--Henry Willis, 
     Joel Predd, Paul Davis & Wayne P. Brown, Measuring the 
     Effectiveness of Border Security Between Ports-of-Entry (RAND 
     Corp.: Homeland Security and Defense Center, 2010), at xi.
       ``At present, evidence of significant improvements in 
     border control relies primarily on metrics regarding resource 
     increases and reduced apprehension levels, rather than on 
     actual deterrence measures, such as size of illegal flows, 
     share of the flow being apprehended, or changing recidivism 
     rates of unauthorized crossers. The ability of immigration 
     agencies and DHS to reliably assess and persuasively 
     communicate border enforcement effectiveness will require 
     more sophisticated measures and analyses of enforcement 
     outcomes.''--Doris Meissner et al., Immigration Enforcement 
     in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery, 
     (Migration Policy Inst., Jan. 2013), at 6.
       ``Consternation and skepticism have been among the main 
     reactions to the Border Patrol's new border security 
     strategy. The Border Patrol's failure to define what was 
     really new about the strategy, the plan's lack of details, 
     and the absence of any metrics to measure the agency's 
     progress underscored existing concerns about the Border 
     Patrol's fuzzy strategic focus and lack of 
     accountability.''--Tom Barry, The Border Patrol's Strategic 
     Muddle: How the Nation's Border Guardians Got Stuck in a 
     Policy Conundrum, and How They Can Get Out (Center for Int'l 
     Policy, Dec. 2012), at 8.
       ``For two decades, the only issue for border security has 
     been `how much more?' shift in the debate is overdue. 
     Congress should be demanding the best answers on what all 
     those enforcement dollars have purchased, and insist on 
     better performance measures in the future.''--Edward Alden, 
     Time to Measure Progress at the Border With Mexico (Geo. 
     Washington Univ. Homeland Security Policy Inst.) May 2012.
       ``Congress should direct the administration to develop and 
     report a full set of performance measures for immigration 
     enforcement . . . Better data and analyses--to assist 
     lawmakers in crafting more successful [border security] 
     policies and to assist administration officials in 
     implementing those policies--are long overdue.''--Bryan 
     Roberts et al., Managing Illegal Immigration to the United 
     States: How Effective is Enforcement? (Council on Foreign 
     Relations, May 2013), at 3, 52.
       ``[C]learer metrics for border security must be established 
     so we can ensure limited resources are directed to where they 
     can best protect the nation.''--Eric Olson & Christopher 
     Wilson, Defining Border Security (Politico, Feb. 10, 2013).

  Mr. CORNYN. May I ask, Mr. President, how much of my time remains?

[[Page S4736]]

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. CORNYN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, this legislation has been pending on the 
floor since the beginning of last week. We should have started 
disposing of amendments during the first week the bill was on the 
Senate floor. But we have seen objection after objection by those who 
are opposed--and they are very much in the minority--to this 
legislation. They objected to proceeding to comprehensive immigration 
reform. That cost us several days. To show that they are a minority, we 
finally ended that filibuster so we could proceed to the bill with 84 
Senators voting to proceed.
  I realize some would rather not have any votes one way or the other. 
That allows someone to go home and say, whether they are for or against 
it, yes, I am working on that because I voted maybe. Well, is there any 
wonder why we are at such a low level of approval in the American 
people's eyes, the whole Congress? They expect us to vote yes or no. 
Sometimes you have to vote for something that is unpopular. Well, we 
are elected to 6-year terms. We are supposed to do that. We are 
supposed to represent over 300 million Americans, 100 of us. The 
American people do not want us to delay and delay so we do not have to 
vote, so we can go back home and say: Oh, I am on your side, no matter 
what your side is. No. They expect us to vote yes or no even though it 
may be controversial.
  Last week and this week I have been working closely with the majority 
leader and Senator Grassley and others to make progress. We started 
voting on amendments in an orderly fashion, but we still faced 
objections. There have been 250 amendments filed to this bill. So far, 
we have considered 11--11 votes, endless delays. We could be spending 
months on it. The American people expect us to have the courage to vote 
yes or no.
  A lot of Senators who are not on the Judiciary Committee have 
amendments. Some of these amendments are noncontroversial. Many have 
widespread support. There ought to be a way to just adopt those. Some 
of these amendments are controversial. Well, then, let's vote on them. 
In the Judiciary Committee, we considered a total of 212 amendments 
over an extensive markup, 35 hours of debate. More than half of the 
amendments considered were offered by Republican members of the 
committee. We adopted 135 amendments to improve this legislation. All 
but three were passed with both Democratic and Republican votes.
  I hope Republicans will join me in making an effort to dispose of the 
many noncontroversial items. The amendments, including the managers' 
amendment, are noncontroversial. They have widespread support. They 
have been filed by Senators on both sides over the past two weeks, and 
many have already been discussed at length on the Senate floor. The 
package contains bipartisan amendments to improve oversight of certain 
immigration programs. It also contains non-controversial technical 
  I see the distinguished majority leader on the floor. I am going to 
yield the floor. I am going to speak on this further, but my whole 
point is that we have all kinds of noncontroversial amendments 
cosponsored by Republicans and Democrats alike, both Republicans and 
Democrats on the same amendment. We ought to be adopting them and not 
stalling because a stall says: I want to vote maybe. I do not want to 
vote yes or no, I want to vote maybe.
  I have served in this body longer than any current Member. I have 
served here with nearly one-fifth of the Senators who have had the 
privilege of serving in the body since the beginning of the country. I 
have known great Republicans and great Democrats who must be 
wondering--in the past--what are we doing?
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I have not heard all of my friend's 
statement. We have a list of 27 amendments that the chair has come up 
with that are noncontroversial. One of them I was surprised we could 
not put on the list because a Republican Senator objected because they 
thought it was controversial that we should do things in this bill, the 
immigration bill, for the best interests of the child. That is 
controversial. That surprised me.
  Mr. LEAHY. You know, I hear a lot of speeches that we should support 
family values, as both the Senator from Nevada and I do, but when you 
try to put it in a bill--that it is obviously a family value, 
protecting children--then we have an objection. Well, if you do not 
like the amendment, vote against it. Let's vote on it.
  Mr. REID. While Senator Landrieu was here on the floor last night, we 
had a colloquy back and forth for a little bit. My friend the chairman 
of the committee and I can lament about the days when we would bring a 
bill to the floor and--the Energy and Water appropriations bill. The 
two of us have been longtime members of the Appropriations Committee. 
Senators Bennett, Johnson, and I, Pete Domenici, when he was the 
ranking member with me--we would do the Energy and Water bill in a 
couple of hours, a bill that was extremely important for the country. 
It provided security for nuclear weaponry. But now we do not do that 
anymore. We have 27 amendments here. It is a sad commentary on things. 
But these things would be accepted not in a managers' amendment, they 
would just be done by unanimous consent. But, anyway, we cannot do 
  Mr. President, I call for regular order with respect to the Cornyn 
amendment No. 1251.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The amendment is now pending.
  Mr. REID. I move to table the Cornyn amendment. I ask unanimous 
consent that there be 2 minutes equally divided prior to the vote on my 
motion to table.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. REID. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Republican whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, the majority leader has moved to table my 
amendment which provides a guarantee of actual results rather than 
false promises, which have been the sad litany of most of our history 
when it comes to immigration reform and border security.
  Starting in 1986, when Ronald Reagan signed an amnesty for 3 million 
people premised on enforcement, the American people, in their typical 
generosity and compassion, accepted that based on the representation it 
would never happen again. In 1996, 17 years ago, President Bill Clinton 
signed into law the requirement for a biometric entry-exit system, 
which would address the 40 percent of illegal immigration that occurs 
because people enter legally, simply stay, and melt into the great 
American landscape, unless they happen to commit a crime or are 
otherwise caught by law enforcement.
  We cannot ask the American people to trust us because of this litany 
and sad story of broken promises when it comes to immigration reform. 
That is why we need real enforcement, why my amendment needs to pass 
and not be tabled.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I support the tabling of the amendment. 
There may be some good parts in it, but most of it is bad. The billions 
of additional taxpayer dollars I cannot support, with all of the 
billions we already have in here.
  The biggest reason I will not support it is because it imposes new 
unrealistic triggers. It says to people, we want to give you the 
pathway to citizenship, but, guess what. We are going to keep the door 
closed. You can pretend you are going to get citizenship, but we are 
going to make it impossible as we have a fully biometric entry-exit 
system at all air and seaports as a trigger.

[[Page S4737]]

  Most airports will not be able to do this, certainly not the little 
airports many of us use to fly in and out. That is unrealistic.
  I appreciate the effort the Senator from Texas has put into this 
amendment. But I must strongly oppose it.
  This amendment would impose new, unrealistic triggers that must be 
met before the pathway to citizenship becomes a reality.
  To take one example, the amendment includes a fully biometric exit 
system at all air and seaports as a trigger before those in provisional 
status can earn green cards. But this presents extensive technological 
and infrastructure challenges that could take many years to fully 
address. U.S. airports were not designed to accommodate immigration 
exit lanes, where biometrics could be collected.
  This approach will not work. An attainable pathway to citizenship is 
a central component of this bill. It is how we will bring people out of 
the shadows so that we know who is here and can focus instead on who is 
dangerous--a critical step if we are serious about national security.
  The triggers in this amendment will have the opposite effect. They 
are unrealistic. People will not come forward and register if they 
believe that they will remain in limbo.
  In addition to making the triggers unattainable, the amendment also 
makes the pathway to citizenship unfair and irrationally difficult. It 
would make immigrants ineligible for Registered Provisional Immigrant 
(RPI) status if they have been convicted of a single misdemeanor 
offense related to domestic violence and child abuse.
  I know this may sound reasonable on its face and we all agree that 
domestic violence is unacceptable and that abusers should be punished 
for their crimes. I am concerned, however, that this amendment may have 
the unintended consequence of harming the very victims it seeks to 
  When we considered a similar proposal in committee, more than 150 
organizations who work with the victims of domestic violence expressed 
their concerns that such a measure would have a chilling effect on 
reporting, and could even lead to victims getting caught up in the 
criminal justice system. That's why the committee rejected the 
  The amendment would also dramatically increase the cost of the bill. 
It would require billions of additional taxpayer dollars be spent on 
the border each year. At some point, we must simply say that is too 
much. This amendment reaches that point.
  This amendment does have some good provisions in it. It takes steps 
that would help facilitate cross-border travel and commerce by 
improving land ports of entry. I would welcome the opportunity to work 
with the Senator from Texas on a few of those proposals.
  But overall, the amendment goes much too far, and I cannot support 
  I strongly oppose this amendment, and I would vote to table the 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on agreeing to the 
  The yeas and nays have been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Minnesota (Ms. 
Klobuchar) and the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. Rockefeller) are 
necessarily absent.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Idaho (Mr. Risch).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Donnelly). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 43, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 159 Leg.]


     Johnson (SD)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)


     Johnson (WI)

                             NOT VOTING--3

  The motion was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the managers of this bill and floor staff 
are working to try to come up with a path forward on this legislation.
  We have a number of Senators who are concerned about amendments that 
they feel are not controversial, and that is one track we are trying to 
come up with.
  The other track is a number of Senators are working with the Gang of 
8 to come up with a major amendment dealing with, as I understand, 
border security and a number of other things. I am also told that 
amendment is being drafted by legislative counsel. So I hope we can 
have that amendment soon so people can look at it, and I hope we can do 
something with the noncontroversial amendments.
  In the meantime, we have to understand this is not easy to do. But I 
think we have a path forward. I am grateful to everyone for being as 
understanding as they are, because legislation is not easy, especially 
on a major piece of legislation such as this.
  But I do say this: This is not one of those bills that suddenly 
appeared on the Senate floor. People have been working on this 
legislation for months. For months the Gang of 8 has been working on 
this. We had one of the most thorough markups in recent history in the 
Senate. Hundreds of amendments were considered, scores were accepted--
Democratic amendments, Republican amendments. So this legislation we 
have on the floor is not as if suddenly it is here and not much has 
been done about it.
  Again, I repeat what I said before: We are trying to find a way 
  Mr. President, in the meantime, I ask unanimous consent that Senator 
Toomey, Senator Landrieu, and then Senator Cruz be recognized for 10 
minutes each in the sequence I just mentioned.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I wish to begin by commending my many 
colleagues who put a lot of time and effort into this bill and attempts 
to refine it through this amendment process. But I have to say, with 
all due respect, I think a great portion of the debate we have been 
having in this body misses the fundamental point, the most important 
aspect of what we ought to be addressing in immigration.
  We have spent a lot of time working on and talking about what we do 
with the people who are here illegally, and there is a path to 
citizenship in this underlying bill for these folks.
  We have talked an awful lot about border security. And border 
security is an important issue. But I am strongly of the view that 
while that is important, border security reform is not sufficient to 
solve the immigration problem we have. I would point out that however 
high we choose to build a wall on our border, someone can always build 
a ladder that is 1 foot taller.
  I think the most important part of this whole debate ought to be 
about, What do we do about the next wave of immigrants, the next group 
of people who want to come to this country--future immigration that is 
certainly going to happen? I think to address that we have to think 
about what drives the immigration that has been happening, much of 
which has been illegal.
  I think what drives it is poor people who have very meager prospects 
who want to come to a rich country where there are great opportunities. 
It is people who want to work hard and build a better life for 
themselves and their families. It happens to be the exact same thing 
that drove every previous wave of immigration.

[[Page S4738]]

  I think about the 25-year-old Mexican guy in central Mexico who lives 
in a poor community where prospects are grim and the standard of living 
is miserable. He wants to come here to build a better life, and he does 
so in the same way my grandparents in Ireland and my great-grandparents 
in Portugal wanted to come here, for the exact same reason.
  My ancestors had very little education and no skills. They came to 
this country to work, and that is what they did. When they did that, 
they didn't weaken America, they didn't weaken our economy. They helped 
to build this country, they helped to build this economy, as all of our 
ancestors did. That is true of immigrants who want to come here and 
work, and we ought to have a legal avenue that allows these people who 
want to build a better life for themselves and, in the process, will 
build a better America--we ought to allow that to happen.
  In my view, this bill doesn't go nearly far enough in accommodating 
the legal immigration we could and should have in this country, 
especially with respect to low-skilled workers.
  I will be the first to say the bill makes a lot of progress for high-
skilled workers in two big areas: the H-1B visa. The cap that has been 
too low for too long is significantly raised. And although we have 
created hoops that people have to go through that are probably 
unnecessary, it is progress that we have a much higher cap.
  There is also a new opportunity for graduate students in the STEM 
fields to get green cards, in time, and that is very constructive. 
These people come here with a great deal of human capital, intellectual 
capital, they are trained in fields where we need these skills, and the 
last thing we should do is send them home to compete against us. It is 
terrific that this bill addresses that by welcoming these folks.
  But for the category of low-skilled nonagricultural legal 
immigration, this bill is wildly inadequate. I say that because the 
visa that is created to accommodate these folks I think has terribly 
low caps. In the first year, the cap is a mere 20,000 people. The next 
year it is 35. It goes up to 75 eventually. These are absurdly low 
numbers by any reasonable measure. Frankly, you could consider this the 
anti-immigration bill because these numbers are so low, and this is the 
category where there is the greatest interest in immigrating.

  I would point out that early in the last decade, according to the Pew 
Hispanic Center, there were 800,000 people coming here every year. In 
2007, the Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill was reported out of 
committee with the support of Senator Kennedy, and that allowed for 
400,000 guest worker visas each year.
  Yesterday or the day before, the CBO came out with a score of this 
underlying bill, and interestingly they predict that fully 75 percent 
of all future illegal immigration that is expected under current law 
will occur under this bill. I think part of the reason is because we 
are not providing an adequate legal avenue for people who want to come 
here and work hard.
  So I have an amendment. I will have more to say about this later, but 
I want to mention this to my colleagues and urge their consideration. 
It is an amendment that lifts the cap each year. The first year it 
takes the cap up to 200,000. It then goes to 250,000, 300,000, and 
finally 350,000 in the fourth year.
  I would point out that these caps on the W visas--the low-skilled 
worker visas--would still be lower in the fourth year than Senator 
Kennedy agreed to in the first year, a few years ago. It doesn't change 
the wage protections that are in the underlying bill. A worker would 
still need a sponsoring employer. All of those provisions stay the 
same. But we at least would increase the opportunity of people who want 
to come here legally and work hard to build a better life.
  I know some of my friends, especially on the other side, are going to 
oppose this. But I will tell you, if we do not raise the caps for the 
low-skilled workers who want to come to this country, then the next 
wave of illegal immigration is guaranteed regardless of what we do at 
the border. Anybody who thinks more legal immigration of people who 
want to come here and work hard for themselves and their family is 
harmful to our economy or to America and we need to keep those people 
out, as, I am afraid to say, this bill does, that is a profound 
misreading of American history. Throughout all of our history, from 
before we even became an independent Republic, the story of America has 
been one wave of immigrants after another. And while millions of people 
were coming to this country, what was happening to America? We were 
becoming richer. Wages were rising, our economy was growing, our 
standard of living was increasing. That is what happens when people 
come here to work; they increase the size of our economy.
  We shouldn't view our economy as a pie where we are all fighting for 
a slice and we don't want somebody else to get a bigger slice, because 
what happens when people come here through a legal system to work hard 
is they increase the size of the pie. They are consumers, they become 
investors, they become contributors to our economy and to our country, 
just as every single wave previous to them--including my grandparents 
and all of our ancestors--did as well.
  I think this is the central challenge: Fix the broken immigration 
system so we won't have the next wave of illegal immigration, so we can 
continue to build a stronger economy that these folks will help to 
build. I think we need to address these caps as a part of the process 
of doing that.
  I want to thank my colleague, Senator Johnson from Wisconsin, for 
cosponsoring this amendment. I know a number of other colleagues are 
interested in sponsoring this. I will have more to say about this later 
in the week or next week, but I think this is a very important topic 
that we need to address in this debate.
  Mr. President, I appreciate the time and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I came to the floor to speak about and 
follow up on a 2-hour debate we had last night on the floor about 
amendments pending to this bill that are uncontested.
  But before I do, let me acknowledge the leadership for allowing 
Senator Toomey to come to the floor and offer his amendment. It is not 
one--although he has made some good points--that I can agree with or 
others will agree with. But at least he had the opportunity to come to 
the floor, present his amendment and ideas, make his arguments, and 
hopefully at some time the Senate can vote on that amendment. That is 
the process.
  In the underlying bill, these quotas and goals and numbers of visas 
were carefully and very fragilely compromised among Democrats and 
Republicans that serve as the basis of the underlying bill. So any 
major adjustments to that would undermine a comprehensive immigration 
  The bill we have to consider is not the perfect bill. We could have 
all written it differently. But the overriding objective to fix a 
system that is broken, to secure the border, to require taxes be paid, 
English spoken, behind the line after people who have come here 
legally, close these borders, improve technology, and give an economic 
impact to this country overrides, in my view, these important but not 
major issues.
  Having said that, there is an issue that I think deserves a 
tremendous amount of attention, and it is not just one amendment, it is 
27 amendments. The issue is there are currently 278 amendments filed, 
including Senator Toomey's amendment. So besides his, there are 277 
amendments pending to this bill.
  Senator Harry Reid has said actually for 6 weeks now that he wants 
this bill finished by July 4. Because the leadership has not been able 
to negotiate--which is very difficult, I understand; some of these are 
very controversial amendments and who is going to get votes on what, et 
cetera, et cetera--it has really slowed us down.
  I am not new to the Senate. I have seen this happen before. I am not 
whining about it; I am acknowledging that is the world in which we 
live. There is no magic button that can be pushed to fix this, but what 
we can do is come together in a trusting way to pass uncontested 
amendments--amendments that are not contested on the Republican side 
and that are not contested on the Democratic side. I am aware of about 

[[Page S4739]]

  The staff, both Republicans and Democrats, has been working through 
the night to identify off the list of 277 amendments besides that of 
Senator Toomey, some of those that are actually really good ideas that 
Republicans and Democrats agree to, that do not upset the balance of 
the bill, do not spend any major additional funding or minor funding, 
that are in the principle and scope of the bill. It is our 
responsibility as Senators to legislate. That is what we are trying to 
  I would like to read this list of amendments that to my knowledge 
have no contest. No one is opposing them. This is a list that was put 
together by Republicans and Democrats. Perhaps there is another list of 
which I am unaware. My only goal is to get the Senate to accept 
amendments that are uncontested, that improve the bill, because that is 
what we are sent here to do.
  I see the ranking member on the floor. I will yield in a minute, but 
I am going to take my full time and I will stay on the floor until we 
can resolve these things.
  But I point out that there are only 17 members of the Judiciary 
Committee. I am not one of them. Those 17 members of the Judiciary 
Committee, led by Senator Leahy and ably by Ranking Member Grassley, 
met for 2 weeks, morning, noon, and night, hours and hours. Senator 
Grassley himself filed 77 amendments, and 38 were considered, 16 were 
adopted, and 22 were rejected. Senator Grassley as the ranking member 
is entitled to more amendments than anyone. The chair gets the most, 
the ranking member gets the second most, and I think that is actually 
what happened.
  The problem for those of us who are not members of the Judiciary 
Committee, who are not authorized to offer amendments at the committee 
level because we are not on the committee--although we can informally 
work with members, and I did that, as many Members did because we know 
what our job is around here--the only way we can have input into this 
bill acting on behalf of constituents who have come to us with very 
good ideas.
  Let me say the best ideas come not only from the little group here in 
Washington. We have very smart people out in the rest of the United 
States who follow things very carefully. They call their Senators and 
Representatives--elected officials, nonprofit groups, citizens, 
businesspeople--and say: I read the bill. I am thinking this might be a 
better idea.
  We get our staffs to work on it, and, voila, that is how many 
amendments come forward.
  What I am so angry about--and I will use the power I have as a 
Senator to push this point--is that when these ideas come and we have 
Republicans and Democrats supporting them, we cannot even get a process 
to get these uncontested good ideas forward because we give all the 
time and attention to the most controversial amendments. They are 
usually the ones that have no chance of passing whatsoever, that are 
message amendments for both sides, that undermine the bill we are 
trying to work on, and our ability to legislate has gone out the 
window. I am not going to be a Senator with that window closed, so I 
plan to open it. I am going to use all the power of my office to open 
the window of opportunity to legislate.
  I am going to ask for 3 more minutes to read something into the 
Record. I have a list of amendments in front of me, starting with 
Senator Begich, 1285; Cardin and Kirk, 1286; Carper, 1408; Carper-
Coburn, 1344; Collins, as modified, 1255; Coats, 1288; Feinstein, 1250; 
Hagan, 1386; Heinrich, 1342, Heller, 1234; Kirk and Coons, 1239; 
Klobuchar and Coats, 1261; Landrieu, 1338; Landrieu, 1382; Leahy and 
Hatch, 1183; a Leahy technical amendment that has no number; Leahy, EB-
5 clarification that has no number but is technical; Murray-Crapo, 
1368; Landrieu, 1341; Landrieu-Cochran 1383; Nelson, 1253; Reed, 1223; 
Schatz and Kirk, 1416; Shaheen, 1272; Stabenow, Collins, and King, 
1405; Udall, 1241; and Udall, 1242.
  To my knowledge, none of these amendments are contested. Some of them 
are Democratic amendments, and some of them are Republican amendments. 
At some point I am going to ask for these amendments to be included in 
the base of this bill. I am not going to ask that at this exact moment, 
but I am going to ask--well, I might ask the chair and ranking member, 
is this a list the Senator recognizes? If not, is there another list I 
could see, observe, and put into the Record for this discussion? I ask 
the ranking member of the committee, the Senator from Iowa.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Has the Senator yielded the floor? I don't think I want 
to speak until I have it.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. No, I have not. I understand these amendments to be 
noncontroversial. It is my understanding that there is no Republican 
opposition to the substance of these amendments. I could be wrong. If 
someone can tell me what the substantive objections to these amendments 
are, I will go back to work. I am happy to work on this all day. It is 
very important. We have several days to finish this. If somebody could 
tell me either in writing or verbally what are any substantive 
objections to these amendments, I promise I will do the work necessary 
to see what can be done to work them out.
  I am going to ask because no one has come to me. I filed this list, 
talked about this 2 hours last night. Everyone knows these amendments. 
Everyone has had a chance to look at them. No one has come to me to say 
they object to any of these amendments. I am going to simply ask 
unanimous consent for them to be added to the bill.
  Let me say that after these are added to the bill, we still will 
have--let me do my math--we still will have 251 amendments to fight 
about. So, you know, we will really enjoy the fight. I can fight as 
tough as the next guy. But could we possibly get amendments that 
Members have worked together on?
  How fascinating that Democrats and Republicans actually worked 
together to answer constituent letters and phone calls and concerns 
about immigration and found a way to work together and put an amendment 
together. But, you know what. We go to the back of the line while 
everybody who has not worked, who just wants headlines--and I am not 
speaking of Senator Grassley. He has done a great job in his 
leadership. But there are others who want to have press conferences and 
headlines. I do not. I just want to legislate on behalf of the 
constituents who have sent me here now for three terms.
  I am going to ask unanimous consent to agree to these uncontested, to 
my knowledge, amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Is there a time limit for me to speak?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana had 10 minutes, 
which has now expired. The Senator from Iowa has no time allocated to 
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Reserving the right to object, and I probably will have 
to object, but let me explain first of all that this is a rare moment 
that Senator Landrieu and I might be on the opposite side of the fence. 
And maybe when this is all done, we will not be on the opposite side of 
the fence because 99 percent of the time that she and I have 
conversations, it is about foster care and adoption and all those 
things. But let me speak to my reservation.
  First of all, we have had this list that she speaks of since at least 
this morning and maybe even earlier than this morning and we have been 
going through it. I will give a bottom line, but I want further 
opportunity to explain.
  There is now to the chairman's staff a counteroffer that we have that 
I would like to have Senator Landrieu and other Senators take a look 
at. I had an opportunity last night to spend some time speaking with 
Senator Landrieu about this, trying to get a process in place. I guess 
that process is in place now. We went through these amendments. But 
let's say, first of all, when there are noncontroversial amendments 
presented to us by the majority party, it means they have stated that 
they are noncontroversial and we go through the list. We may have a 
different judgment on some of them because it is my conclusion that not 
all of the 27 so-called noncontroversial amendments are, in fact, 
noncontroversial. Some of them are in

[[Page S4740]]

another committee's jurisdiction, and we always take the leadership of 
other committees, when they are under other jurisdictions, into 
  Normally amendments like this would take place in a managers' 
amendment that comes near the end of the process because it takes time 
to go through. We could have 100 amendments on a list that somebody 
thinks are noncontroversial, so it takes some time to clear.
  Despite what has been said, many of these on the list of 27 are not 
necessarily easy, but we worked on them, we presented an alternative, 
and I ask for that to be discussed. In the meantime, then, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Yes.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Is there a physical copy of the list you have presented 
to the Democrats? Could it be submitted to the Record?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. The chairman's staff has it, and I ask the Senator to 
consult the chairman.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I would like to ask that that list be read into the 
Congressional Record.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I will not submit that list until after the chairman 
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I ask unanimous consent for that list to be submitted 
to the Record.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, do I have the floor?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I ask unanimous consent that the time until 2 o'clock 
be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees and that 
the majority leader be recognized at 2 p.m.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I ask that I take the Democratic 
leader's time for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Well, I am next because there was just a Republican on 
the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  The Senator from Texas is in order to be recognized.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. What is the next order, please, after the Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no order.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I ask unanimous consent to speak for 10 minutes after 
the Senator from Texas.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Texas.


  Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, I rise today to express my strong concern 
about President Obama's decision to arm the rebels in Syria. That 
decision was signaled last week by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben 
Rhodes. According to Mr. Rhodes the United States will start supplying 
arms to selected rebel groups.
  I fully understand the seriousness of the situation in Syria. Bashar 
al-Asad is a brutal dictator. Syria has been on the State Department's 
state sponsor of terrorism list since 1979. For 2 years this brutal 
civil war has raged, leaving at least 93,000 dead--100 reportedly 
through chemical weapons attack. The humanitarian situation in Syria is 
a calamity. Millions of people have been displaced.
  Iran and Russia stand to gain a major strategic victory if Asad 
remains in power, and we have to be concerned about the danger this war 
poses to our allies Israel and Jordan.
  All Americans would like to see secular, democracy-minded forces in 
Syria come to power, but President Obama's failed policy over the last 
2 years has left us with no good options at this time. In the beginning 
of the uprising, there was a moment when the peaceful protesters could 
have used the vocal energetic support of the United States. Instead, 
the Obama administration stood by for months apparently in the hopes 
they could make Asad see reason. Before long, military hostilities 
broke out, but President Obama chose not to act, hoping instead to lead 
from behind.

  In the course of the war, Asad has benefited from weapons from Iran, 
Russia, and fighters from Hezbollah. Our repeated entreaties to the 
Russians to help us resolve this crisis have fallen on deaf ears--most 
recently this week when President Obama tried to reach a diplomatic 
solution with President Putin, to have him once again refuse to be the 
good-faith partner the administration seems to think he could be.
  Meanwhile, the most effective, organized Syrian rebels are affiliated 
with al-Qaida. There are two main al-Qaida entities active in Syria: 
Jabhat al-Nusra and the resurgent al-Qaida in Iraq. While recent plans 
to merge them have foundered, they are both powerful and well armed.
  In recent weeks a training video has been posted on an al-Qaida Web 
site showing young rebel recruits in Syria singing not only about 
overthrowing Asad, but how ``the World Trade Center was turned into 
rubble.'' To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of Israel 
on June 6, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a video calling 
for Syrians to unite, bring down the Asad government, and to create a 
radical Islamic state.
  On June 9, Zawahiri posted a letter on Al-Jazeera announcing that 
Jabhat al-Nusra would be acting on his direct orders. As many as seven 
of the nine rebel groups that have been identified may have ties to al-
Qaida. Yet these murky connections make them all the more difficult to 
properly vet.
  As is normally the case when al-Qaida moves in, more and more stories 
are spreading about the desecration of churches, kidnappings, rapes, 
and beheadings. These forces are engaged in a deadly struggle with the 
Asad regime, and President Obama has chosen this moment to signal that 
it is now suddenly in our vital national security interests to 
intervene in Syria. It seems far more likely a recipe for disaster.
  We are told the United States will provide only small arms and 
ammunition and only to the more secular democracy-minded rebels, and 
that they will not fall into the hands of those who attacked us on 
September 11--not to mention more recently in Fort Hood, Benghazi, and 
Boston--although there are no details as to how the President plans to 
differentiate between good and bad actors.
  Even if we could clearly identify the good rebels, so to speak, we 
would be backing the weakest of the factions in Syria, and the support 
the Obama administration has proposed will not be sufficient to bring 
down Asad and put them in power. Once committed to this path, we risk 
either being forced to incrementally increase our support or face the 
humiliation of losing to either al-Qaida groups or Asad or both, which 
would delight both Iran and Russia. We could also see the factions of 
the opposition use our weapons to turn on each other and see Asad 
triumph in the chaos.
  It is far from clear we could get the weapons to the so-called good 
rebels, even if we could figure out who they were. President Obama has 
just announced another $300 million in humanitarian aid for Syria, but 
only about half of the aid already pledged has been delivered. The 
other hasn't been delivered because of logistical issues and the 
challenges of keeping these resources out of the hands of bad actors. 
How on Earth can we expect to deliver guns if we cannot even get MREs 
into the country?
  Regardless, let me suggest a simple rule: Don't give weapons to 
people who hate us. Don't give weapons to people who want to kill us. 
U.S. foreign policy should be directed at one central purpose: 
protecting the vital national security interests of the United States. 
Arming potential al-Qaida rebels is not furthering those interests, but 
there is something that is: preventing Syria's large stockpile of 
chemical weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.
  We know Asad has used these weapons, and there is good reason to 
suspect the al-Qaida affiliated rebels would use them as well if they 
could get their hands on them. This poses an intolerable threat not 
only to our friends in the region but also to the United States. Right 
now we need to develop a clear, practical plan to go in, locate the 
weapons, secure or destroy them,

[[Page S4741]]

and then get out. We might work in concert with our allies, but this 
needs to be an operation driven by the mission, not by a coalition.
  The United States should be firmly in the lead to make sure the job 
is done right, but our British allies, for example, are actively 
bolstering the units that could be used for chemical weapons removal. 
President Obama needs to assure us that the dangerous, arbitrary cuts 
to our defense budget caused by sequester have not eroded our ability 
to execute this vital mission.
  News reports suggest that what planning has gone on involves 
outsourcing parts of this work to the rebel groups. This makes no 
sense. Moreover, it is deeply disturbing that President Obama has 
chosen not to communicate his decision directly to Congress or the 
American people and, I would note, communicating not through a junior 
staffer or a spokesperson. He, himself, needs to communicate to the 
American people.
  According to a Pew poll taken over the weekend, 70 percent of 
Americans oppose arming the Syrian rebels--quite sensibly. In a case 
where his policy is so at odds with the will of the people, it is 
beholden on the President to make his case and persuade us this 
proposed intervention is necessary. But just yesterday in his long 
speech on national security at the Brandenburg Gate, President Obama 
did not even mention his planned intervention in Syria. He told us he 
is a ``citizen of the world,'' but he is also President of the United 
States, and he owes the American people an explanation.
  President Obama needs to explain why arming the Syrian rebels is now 
worth our intervention when it wasn't 2 years ago. He needs to explain 
how he has established which rebels are the appropriate recipients of 
this support. He needs to explain how this limited support will make a 
material difference in Syria, and he needs to assure us that his team 
is proactively planning to protect our national security by keeping 
Syria's chemical weapons out of the hands of either Hezbollah or al-
Qaida. But we don't know any of these specifics. We are apparently just 
supposed to trust the President to manage Syria policy more effectively 
than he has over the last 2 years and more effectively than he has 
managed events in Iran, Libya, and Egypt.

  During the Green Revolution in 2009, the Obama administration stood 
by and allowed the Supreme Leader of Iran to brutally suppress his 
people as they protested in the streets. Four years later, we have 
witnessed the installation of the Supreme Leader's most recent 
selection for President of Iran. Some of the mainstream media refer to 
him as a ``moderate,'' but he is a man who has referred to Israel as 
``the great Zionist Satan,'' and who vows to continue Iran's nuclear 
program. That is some moderate.
  During the uprising in Tahrir Square in Cairo, President Obama 
cheered on the demonstrators but refused to take a leading role in 
helping Egypt make the difficult transition to democracy, thereby 
opening the door to a Muslim Brotherhood regime that is now taking 
systematic steps to hollow out that country's fragile constitution 
while turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians and the 
discrimination against women. Just like the rebels in Syria, President 
Obama is also working to arm the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
  During the revolution in Libya, President Obama decided removing 
Muammar Kaddafi was a vital national security issue, and he 
participated in NATO's mission to overturn him. But his strategy of 
leading from behind meant Kaddhafi's weapons stockpiles went unsecured 
and had been transferred to militants from Lebanon to Mali. The new 
government in Libya, however well intentioned, proved incapable of 
managing the security threat from terrorist militias in the country, 
and tragically 9 months ago four U.S. personnel were brutally murdered 
in a terrorist attack. We have yet to track down and punish any of the 
terrorists who killed our personnel in that attack in Benghazi. With 
this track record of incoherent and indecisive action resulting in 
setback after setback to the United States, we are supposed to just 
trust President Obama to do a better job managing the situation in 
  It seems to me if we are determined to confront Iran's nuclear 
program, we would do so better in Iran. Even if Hezbollah is defeated 
in Syria, there is little prospect that this would halt Iran's nuclear 
  I am also concerned about our ability to successfully negotiate what 
seems to have become a Sunni-Shiite civil war in Syria. It seems to me 
we have no business in the middle of such a civil war. From what we 
know of the President's policy, it seems we are backing into an 
intractable crisis where there are no good actors but plenty of bad 
outcomes for America.
  Let me close with two simple observations: No. 1, don't arm al-Qaida. 
Don't arm those who hate us, and don't arm those who want to kill us. 
That is basic common sense.
  No. 2, when it comes to matters of vital national security, the 
President of the United States needs to come to the American people. 
We, the people, hold sovereignty in this country, and it is not 
acceptable for the President to simply send out staffers to pass on his 
decision. He needs to come before Congress and the American people and 
explain those decisions.
  All of us have deep concerns about arming the rebels in Syria, and I 
hope the administration will reconsider its policy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Heinrich). The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, before the Senator from Texas leaves the 
floor, could I ask a question unrelated to his speech? I am sorry I 
didn't get to hear most of it. I stepped off the floor temporarily.
  The Senator has been so active on the debate on immigration, I wonder 
if the Senator is aware of a list of 27 noncontroversial amendments 
that are from both Republicans and Democrats. Has the Senator from 
Texas had a chance to look at that list? And if not, could the Senator 
look at it? If he has looked at it, does the Senator have any 
objections to the amendments on the list?
  Mr. CRUZ. I thank my friend from Louisiana. I was handed that list 
about an hour and a half ago today. I looked at the titles on the list 
but I have not had the time to study the specifics. I don't know if I 
have any substantive objections to those specified amendments.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I thank the Senator for his answer. I ask the Senator 
and any other Senators who have not had a chance to look at this list 
that has been widely circulated to take the time to look at the list. I 
know my colleague is very busy and has many important issues to debate 
on this bill, but these are important amendments to colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle.
  Again, I thank the Senator from Texas for agreeing to look at the 
list and let us know.
  I am going to come back to the floor in a few minutes and ask 
unanimous consent for this list of amendments. I want to read the 
amendments into the Record. These are noncontroversial amendments. What 
I mean by noncontroversial is, to my knowledge, is they are 
uncontested. They are Republican and Democratic amendments that seek to 
improve the bill in response to communications from our constituents at 
home. It is not just people around Washington and the beltway who have 
good ideas about immigration issues. I am sure people in New Mexico 
have great ideas, and people have very good ideas in Louisiana. The way 
they get their ideas into the debate is by calling their Member of 
Congress, calling their Senators' office, writing letters, sending e-
mails, giving us suggestions. This list represents some of that 
communication. That is why we come here, to represent those interests 
and to say: Look, this was an idea I had; it will strengthen the bill. 
One of these ideas which I am very excited about came up through our 
small business roundtable for small businesses. They said: Senator, why 
don't you mandate a mobile app for us, particularly in rural areas, 
because we don't have high-speed Internet. We can't run back 200 miles 
to check the local Internet to do this E-Verify. Why doesn't Homeland 
Security have a mobile device for the iPhone which everybody is 
carrying--either iPhones or BlackBerrys--where a person hits a button 
or a mobile app for E-Verify. What an amazing, wonderful idea.

[[Page S4742]]

  This bill is going to spend billions and billions and billions of 
dollars securing the border. Could we spend just a little bit of effort 
helping every small businessperson in America to use the E-Verify 
system smartly and efficiently? It would be such a relief to them to 
know they don't have to put themselves at risk hiring people who don't 
have the right certification. They can just go to the mobile app and 
pull it up. That is what we are hoping.
  We have 3 years to put this system into place. No small business is 
mandated to use the E-Verify system under the bill until these new 
systems are in place. That is one of our amendments. There is no one 
who has come to me to say: We hate the mobile app idea. We don't want 
to do the mobile app idea. It is a terrible idea. So let's put it in 
the bill.
  There are some other amendments in here--I don't know all of them 
because only some of them are mine. Let me read one from Tom Udall. I 
don't know it specifically, but it says it makes $5 million available 
for strengthening the border infectious disease surveillance project.
  I know $5 million is a good amount of money, but compared to the 
billions of dollars we are spending in some of our rural States--
including New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Louisiana is rural--I 
don't think there is anybody objecting to spending $5 million to 
strengthen the border infectious disease surveillance project. That 
kind of smart investment--I am sure the Senator has done his homework. 
That kind of smart investment could save taxpayers and the livelihoods 
of farmers everywhere. What a wonderful idea. We can't even get that 
adopted by a voice vote because we have broken down the trust and 
respect of the Senate. I am going to do my very best, as calmly as I 
can, to try to get that trust and respect back.
  One of the other amendments prohibits the shackling of pregnant 
women. Now, we shackle a lot of people--and this is Senator Murray's 
amendment--when they do wrong things. But I think people can understand 
the benefit of expressing some strong views to not put shackles on the 
ankles or wrists of a woman who is pregnant. It is a very stressful 
situation. We want to support healthy births even in conditions where 
the mother may not have all the legal paperwork. I think we can 
understand why that would be a sensitive thing to do, and I don't think 
there is any Republican who would object to that. I don't think there 
is a Democrat who would object to that. That is on the list.
  There are a lot of people who wish to speak, so I will just take 5 
more minutes.
  There is a great amendment by Senators Klobuchar and Coats that 
requires certification of citizenship and other Federal documents to 
reflect the name and date of birth determinations made by a State court 
in the situation of intercountry adoption. Some of our parents are 
getting really hassled, American parents are getting hassled by 
American courts because they have done God's will, adopted children 
from overseas. They have followed all the rules, all the laws, at 
tremendous expense to themselves, trying to help a child who is 
orphaned or unparented, only to come back to the United States and 
because of some technical difficulties with our law, their birth 
certificates are not honored.
  This isn't right. I realize the Judiciary Committee cannot spend 
their time talking about this matter. In the scheme of things, it is 
minor. But let me tell my colleagues as an adoptive mother, to an 
adoptive American parent who has spent thousands of dollars and days 
and months trying to do what their pastors and ministers asked them to 
do, to take in the orphaned, this is an outrageous situation, and with 
one breath--just a breath--this could be done. But we don't have the 
breath anymore because we have just completely fallen apart.
  This can be fixed. There is nobody objecting to it, and that is what 
I am going to stand here and argue for.
  How much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no set amount of time.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I see my colleague so I am going to wrap up in 30 
seconds and then yield the floor.
  I will come to the floor again this afternoon and talk about these 
  These Members have worked very hard, Republicans and Democrats, 
amazingly, together, coming up with amendments that improve the bill. 
Some of these amendments are from Senators who are going to vote no on 
the bill; some of these amendments are from people who are going to 
vote yes on the bill. It is not going to change the outcome of the 
vote. That is why I am so aggravated. If it did, then I could 
understand not taking them up. The acceptance of these amendments, yes 
or no, is not going to change the outcome of this bill, but it will 
change the outcome of situations on the ground that are not good for 
American citizens.
  We are here to fix things, to help, to streamline, to save money, to 
improve, to relieve pain, to help and expand opportunity. I am tired of 
being around here and not being able to do that. So I am going to ask 
for this list--of course, it has been circulated widely and publicly. 
It is on our Web site. It is on several Web sites. People can look at 
what we are talking about. If anybody on the Senate floor has an 
objection, let us know.
  Let me say one thing in closing. The counterlist that I am still not 
in physical receipt of but have seen, but it is a part of the 
Congressional Record because I required it to be, is a list of seven 
amendments that are very controversial. So the Republicans have given 
us a list of seven very controversial amendments. That is not the list 
I am looking for. Maybe Senator Leahy is looking for that. Maybe 
Senator Reid is looking for that. I am not in charge of controversial 
amendments. I don't even know how we are going to vote on those 
controversial amendments. I am not on the committee. I am not the 
leader of the floor. I don't know--I will take that and I will be happy 
to give it to the leadership.
  I am just here on a list of noncontroversial amendments that I think 
Republicans and Democrats can agree to that will not change the outcome 
of the bill, that will improve the bill. I hope we can make progress.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.

                        Nuclear Arms Reductions

  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise today to express great concern 
about the announcement regarding plans to drastically reduce the U.S. 
nuclear deterrent by over one-third.
  The strategic basis for this reduction is entirely unclear. The 
President must provide Members of Congress additional information on 
the basis and the implications of his announcement. General Chilton, 
then-commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee in 2010. He said the New START treaty gave 
the United States ``exactly what is needed'' to achieve its national 
security objectives.
  Given the assessments of our commanders, I am highly skeptical and 
gravely concerned about such dramatic reductions in a world of 
increasing danger and proliferating threats. Regardless of how one 
feels about these particular force levels, I believe there is broad 
concern about any unilateral reductions in U.S. nuclear forces.
  Mr. President, 2\1/2\ years ago, after lengthy deliberation and 
contentious debate, this body ratified the New START treaty which 
reduced deployed U.S. nuclear weapons from between 2,200 and 1,700 to 
no more than 1,550. This debate was good for the Nation and produced a 
bipartisan consensus on arms control and nuclear modernization. Now 
this administration is calling for reducing U.S. nuclear forces by one-
third, and it remains an open question if the Senate will even have a 
chance to weigh in on this decision. I sure hope we have the 
  As Commander in Chief, it is the President's prerogative to adjust 
nuclear forces. But as Vice President Biden, then serving in this body 
as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a 2002 letter 
to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell:

       With the exception of the SALT I agreement, every 
     significant arms control agreement during the past three 
     decades has been transmitted pursuant to the treaty clause of 
     the Constitution . . . we see no reason whatsoever to alter 
     this practice.

  Secretaries of Defense Panetta and Hagel also testified before 

[[Page S4743]]

that nuclear reductions, if undertaken at all, should be the product of 
negotiated, bilateral, verifiable agreements.
  I believe a change of this magnitude must be reviewed by Congress and 
such dramatic reductions must only be made in concert with other 
nuclear powers and the input of our allies.
  Moreover, I believe it is premature to announce such dramatic 
reductions when the United States has yet to fulfill its obligations 
under the New START treaty. Currently, our nuclear force levels exceed 
the New START limits. Instead of providing a plan to implement the 
reductions required to comply with that treaty--something I and 
numerous other Members of Congress have repeatedly asked for--the 
President opted to promise the world massive additional cuts.
  I wish to repeat: We don't know how we are going to go from about 
1,650 to 1,550 warheads--a reduction of about 100. But instead of 
answering that question, the President has stated his intention to get 
rid of another 500 or so warheads. That is one-third of our arsenal.
  What is more, the President has apparently disregarded the advice of 
Congress, the bipartisan 2009 Perry-Schlesinger Commission, and his own 
Nuclear Posture Review that additional nuclear reductions address the 
dramatic imbalance of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. Congress has 
expressed its view on this subject several times, and the National 
Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 clearly stated the sense 
of Congress that:

       If the United States pursues arms control negotiations with 
     the Russian Federation, such negotiations should be aimed at 
     the reduction of Russian deployed and nondeployed 
     nonstrategic nuclear weapons and increased transparency of 
     such weapons.

  While the announcement mentioned these weapons, their reduction was 
clearly a separate afterthought, not the primary arms control objective 
this body insisted it be.
  In closing, I must remind my colleagues that the Senate approved the 
New START treaty on the condition of modernizing our aging nuclear 
deterrent. Although the promise was made before I entered the Senate, 
it was a promise made to this body and to the American people, and it 
is a promise I will make sure is kept. Modernization funding is more 
than 30 percent below the target set by the President during New 
START's ratification. That is unacceptable.
  I hope the President will address these issues in the coming days and 
focus on building a strong bipartisan consensus on these issues and 
pursuing commonsense objectives. Rushing toward dramatic reduction is a 
bad policy. It is a bad policy for any President, and it could have 
grave consequences for our national security.
  Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I want to commend the distinguished--oh, 
I am sorry.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. I say to Senator Isakson, I think I am next 
in order.
  Mr. ISAKSON. I apologize.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. No problem. I thank the Senator.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about 
comprehensive immigration reform. I believe the Senate is engaged in a 
crucial debate to see if we can fix the system that we all know is 
  It has been a long road, not just because of the partisan climate 
here, but because of the complex challenges we face--the challenge of 
11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work and raise families 
in communities across our Nation kept uncertain in the shadows; the 
challenge of children brought here through no fault of their own, who 
love this country as their own; and the challenge of securing our 
  The majority of Americans know these challenges have to be met. 
Immigration reform has to be comprehensive. That is the reality of any 
long-term solution.
  It is also a reality that such reform will not be perfect, will not 
satisfy everyone in every case. That is what compromise means. That is 
what bipartisan effort requires. But the American people are not asking 
for perfection, they are asking for results; for an immigration system 
that works, that makes sense, that secures our borders, that 
strengthens families, and supports our economy.
  I commend Chairman Leahy and the bipartisan authors of this bill for 
their leadership.
  The committee made sure the process was open, was transparent, and 
was inclusive. Many of the amendments adopted had bipartisan support, 
and over two-thirds of the committee voted for this bill. I hope the 
full Senate will follow their example.
  America has a rich history of immigrants helping to create a culture 
and economy that is the envy of the world. I am proud to come from a 
State where we celebrate our diversity. Native American, Hispanic, and 
European traditions define my State.
  We are a border State, and New Mexicans understand what is at stake 
with border security. They know how important comprehensive immigration 
reform is.
  This bill has the essential elements of that reform. It creates a 
pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented individuals. This is not 
an amnesty. Folks have to pass criminal background checks, pay back 
taxes and penalties, learn English, and must go to the back of the line 
behind those who came here legally.
  This road to citizenship takes 13 years--not an easy road but one 
that will bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the hope 
and promise of the American dream.
  This legislation also makes securing our border a priority. Much of 
the debate has centered on this issue. In my opinion, the record is 
clear. As Senators from a border State--and I know the Presiding 
Officer, Senator Heinrich, also from my great State of New Mexico and a 
border-State Senator--we have seen firsthand how things have changed.
  Over the past 12 years we have made some real progress. Is the job 
finished? Of course not. But that is not a reason to oppose this bill. 
It is a reason, in fact, to support it.
  We spend a lot of resources on immigration and customs enforcement--
more than all other Federal criminal law enforcement combined. We have 
more Border Patrol agents on our southern border than ever before. 
Illegal crossings are near their lowest levels in decades. We have 
ramped up law enforcement and are deporting more criminals than ever 
  This legislation will build on that progress with a strong plan and 
with the money to pay for it. It does not just call for 90 percent 
apprehension of illegal border crossings, it provides $6.5 billion to 
do it.
  Commitment to border security is real, and this bill will improve on 
it with new technology and targeted resources. It makes a difference. 
It changes the game plan. This is not conjecture, not pie in the sky. 
For example, Congress appropriated $600 million for emergency border 
security in 2010, and the effectiveness rate increased from 72 percent 
to 82 percent a year later.
  So there is a proven record here, an impressive record. With border 
security, this legislation has clear goals, has committed resources, 
and builds on a demonstrated success. But for some on the other side, 
this is not enough. They demand absolute effectiveness or toss out the 
path to citizenship.
  But let's be clear. No border can be completely secure--not ours, not 
anyone else's. So some may still cross illegally, may slip through.
  We can do more. I believe additional border security should focus on 
violent drug and firearms traffickers and should do more at ports of 
entry. But most undocumented immigrants come here to work. This bill 
will change that dynamic with an effective universal employment 
verification system and crack down on employers who hire undocumented 
immigrants. This is as crucial as fences and checkpoints, as crucial as 
agents patrolling the border or drones scanning the horizon because the 
lure of illegal immigration is jobs, and the jobs will not be there.
  There is still work to be done. No one is arguing this bill is 
perfect. I have filed and cosponsored several amendments. I will just 
mention a few of them. Several of them, I know, are on the list that 
Senator Landrieu talks about as noncontroversial amendments. I know 
Senator Heinrich, the Presiding Officer, has an amendment on that list 

[[Page S4744]]

  The first adds a Federal district judge in New Mexico. In the 
committee markup, a bipartisan amendment was adopted to add Federal 
judges to the southwest border States. Unfortunately, New Mexico was 
not included, even though it has a significant immigration caseload, 
one that will increase with the additional enforcement provided by the 
bill. My amendment remedies this oversight.
  I have also filed an amendment to expand the Border Enforcement 
Security Task Force units in the four southwest border States. BEST 
units are teams of Federal, State, and local law enforcement focused on 
disrupting serious border-related criminal activity, such as drug 
smuggling and human trafficking.
  Finally, I have filed an amendment that provides resources to all 20 
border States for vital early warning infectious disease surveillance. 
This Federal funding program was created in 2003 to detect, identify, 
and report outbreaks of infectious diseases at the borders. But this 
important funding has ceased. We need to restore it.
  I would urge the bill managers and authors to work with me on these 
amendments to improve this bill and to protect New Mexico's interests 
as a key border State.
  I again commend the members of the Judiciary Committee. I saw Senator 
Grassley in the Chamber a moment ago. I want to congratulate him and 
our chairman, Patrick Leahy. This legislation arrived on the Senate 
floor with support from both sides of the aisle. I hope it will move 
forward in the same spirit of cooperation.
  This bill is a historic moment for families, for our security, and it 
will benefit our economy. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget 
Office just reported on Tuesday, this bill would reduce our deficit by 
$197 billion over the first 10 years and by at least $700 billion in 
the second decade.
  This bill speaks to the best of our traditions and our values. This 
is our opportunity to govern, to fix an immigration system that is 
broken, and to move our Nation forward in the 21st century.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I have refrained from being on the floor 
during this debate, as I listened to it and watched, and I would 
compliment my colleagues in trying to solve a very difficult problem. 
But I just heard a speech by my colleague from New Mexico that quotes 
all sorts of statistics that are not accurate.
  I am the ranking member on Homeland Security. Here is what we know: 
We have estimates, and that is all we have. But we do not know the 
total attempts to cross our border. We do not know what they are. So 
when somebody quotes 70 percent to 80 percent, and you have no idea 
what the denominator is, you do not know what the numbers are.
  Here is what the Council on Foreign Relations says about our border. 
How did they get this data? They went out and interviewed 6,700 illegal 
immigrants to find out their frequency of attempts, whether they have 
gone home, what their difficulty was, what their communities were like. 
Here is what they say right now is the control of our border: It is 
somewhere between 40 and 65 percent.
  So we have the administration that says one thing, but when you ask 
them for details--as I have, as ranking member on Homeland Security--
you cannot get the facts because we do not know.
  So I applaud my colleagues for bringing this bill forward. I would 
love to get to yes on this bill.
  I also want to raise the issue on the CBO scoring. What the CBO 
scoring said was we are still going to have 7.5 million people in the 
next 10 years come across the border under this plan. So in reaction to 
that, we have people who--other than one person on Homeland Security 
who actually has sat through the hearings, who knows what is going on 
with Homeland Security--we are going to come forward with a bill that 
is going to increase Border Patrol by 20,000 people. I can tell you, we 
do not need 20,000 Border Patrol agents. What we need is a coherent, 
smart strategy, with transparency, in the agency, Homeland Security, so 
we as Members of Congress can actually see what is going on.
  All we have to do is listen to what the administration says and then 
listen to the people who are actually doing the work--who are the 
Border Patrol agents, who are the ICE agents, who are the USCIS agents, 
who are the CBP agents. When we talk with them, we get a totally 
different story.
  Why is it that the people who are actually doing the work are telling 
us a different story than what the administration is telling us? There 
is a disconnect there, and we need to understand what that is.
  So I look forward to reading the details of the supposed border 
security amendment. But ask yourself the question: Is it possible to 
secure our border? If we were to have a terrible outbreak on either our 
northern or southern border that had a high fatality rate, a high 
infectious rate, and we decided we were going to close the border 
tomorrow, could we do it.
  There are great things in this base bill that will eliminate a large 
portion of the draw coming into our Nation through illegal immigration. 
Those are creating a decline in the attitude of those coming. They know 
if they come across, they are going to have to be able to prove they 
are a citizen to be able to get a job. I think that is absolutely 
right. There is some increase in the work visa programs and the special 
visa programs--probably not enough.
  But if you think, let's just believe the administration, let's 
believe what people say about this bill, if you can cut it down to 8, 
9, 10 percent, then the people coming across the border are not the 
people looking for a job. The people coming across the border are the 
people who tend to hurt our society--the drug runners, the human 
traffickers, the terrorists.
  So the question I would ask is, Shouldn't we know that what we are 
doing as we establish a border security amendment will actually send 
confidence to the people of this county that, in fact, we are going to 
secure our border?
  The vast majority of people in this country want to solve this 
problem. I want to solve this problem.
  The way we are going to go about it is we are going to get to see an 
amendment sometime late tonight and then on Saturday we are going to 
have to vote on whether to proceed with that amendment, not having had 
the full time to actually consider what the outcome of the 
recommendations of that amendment are.
  So some of the mistakes have been made as we have brought this bill 
forward. This bill came through the Judiciary Committee. But almost 
every other major thing that is of controversy in this bill is under 
the purview and the control of the Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs Committee which got no sequential referral on this bill.
  Where we are hung up on this bill is because we did not do regular 
order. We did not allow the process to work. We did not let the 
knowledgeable members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee have an opportunity to impact this bill in a committee 
process. So now we are hung up with people who are not on that 
committee writing an amendment for Homeland Security.
  We can write a good amendment for Homeland Security. I told Chuck 
Schumer and other Members of the Gang of 8 that. But we cannot do it in 
2 weeks. We cannot do it with one amendment. What we are going to get 
is waste, loopholes, and problems. The last thing we need to do is 
waste another $5 or $6 billion on things that are not going to have a 
difference in terms of solving the real problem, but we are going to 
claim it solves the problem so we can pass a bill.
  So I wish to get to yes on this bill. I wish to get to a way where we 
solve this problem and do not create it again in the future. But my 
concerns are both process and factually; that we are claiming things 
that are not true. All you have to do is sit before the committees or 
go talk to the leadership of the Border Patrol, ICE units, CPB, go talk 
to them. They are sitting there in amazement.
  Three weeks ago, I had breakfast with Janet Napolitano. She said she 
would send me their border control plan by area, by region, the next 
day. A piece of paper came, but there was no border control plan. So 
the question I have is, where is the plan?
  Of all the good recommendations that are in this bill, it is all 
going to be

[[Page S4745]]

contingent on execution of what is in there. So we are going to pass a 
bill and pass an amendment and then we are going to ask the very 
committee that was excluded from making proper recommendations of the 
bill to oversight it. We will oversight it. But the fact is we will not 
have any control to control it. So we will be raising the questions and 
the ineffectiveness. Yet we will not have accomplished what we are 
telling the American people we are going to accomplish.
  What is that? It is that we are going to solve the problems with the 
illegals who are here. We are going to decrease the demand and draw 
across our border. We are going to control our border, even though we 
will not put that as a condition for granting people a movement from 
the shadows to the open. We will not put that as a condition, even 
though now with the supposed new border amendment the Border Patrol 
says they can get us to 90 percent. We will not make that a condition.
  So my feeling is, right now, there is a great attempt by eight of my 
colleagues to try to solve this problem because we are in a hurry and 
we are in a time crunch. We should not be because the House is not 
going to take up this bill, but they are going to bring their own. So 
we ought to do it right. I have a lot of amendments. I would love to 
have votes on them, would love to have them considered. I understand we 
cannot call up amendments right now, which is the same dysfunction the 
Senate has been operating under for the last 7\1/2\, 8 years.
  People who are knowledgeable on the committees of jurisdiction do not 
have the opportunity to improve the bill, to raise questions about the 
bill through their amendments, to refine the bill. It means we just 
want to get a bill passed. It does not mean we truly want to solve the 
problem. I look forward to a time to be able to come back to the floor 
and offer amendments that will actually improve this bill, that will 
give transparency to the American public about what we are doing, that 
will give transparency on how we are going to spend all this money that 
we are going to take from the very people we are trying to move out of 
the shadows, and we are not just going to throw money up against a wall 
and saying we did something when, in fact, we are not going to 
accomplish the very purpose that we put forward in this bill.
  People who come to this country--and I would put myself in the same 
category. If I was caught in the lack of economic opportunity, I would 
try any way I could to get into this country of opportunity. But what 
makes this country a land of opportunity is the rule of law. What we 
are doing is we are saying--the irony is the people who come here and 
break the law to get the opportunity from the rule of law, if we do not 
fix it to where that does not happen again, we are going to unwind the 
rule of law in this country.
  That is the glue that holds this Nation together. It goes something 
like this: If they do not have to abide by the law, neither do I. So we 
get an unwinding of the fabric and the confidence in the rule of law in 
this country. We ought to be very careful with what we do as we say 
laws do not apply. That is what we are saying with this bill, to a 
certain group of people, the laws we had on the books are not going to 
apply. We ought to make sure that does not happen again.
  I wish to come back at some time when I can present the ideas of a 
lot of people who actually have a lot of experience and a lot of 
knowledge on homeland security and how it operates and how the 
different divisions within homeland security operate.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 
4 p.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees 
and that I be recognized at 4 p.m.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, I was scheduled to come in at 2 o'clock. I 
appreciate the leader accommodating me 5 minutes early. There is talk 
about an imminent compromise among the Gang of 8 and perhaps a couple 
of others that would move this bill along. I have made it clear that 
the bill, as currently written, is flawed and would not be something 
that would get my vote. So anything that would move us toward a better 
solution, toward better enforcement of the border, such as 20,000 
additional security agents on the border, would be a positive step.
  I do wish to make it clear, however, that the bill as written would 
not stem the tide of illegal immigration. The bill as written would not 
provide a solution to our broken immigration system. Without further 
amendment, my understanding of the new compromise that is about to come 
forward also would be deficient.
  I appreciate people working toward a consensus. I look forward to 
reading the amendment as it is presented, if it is indeed presented 
later this afternoon or later this weekend. But there are still changes 
that need to be made so we can improve the bill. I would point out to 
my colleagues that a Congressional Budget Office report released the 
day before yesterday indicates that border security components of the 
immigration bill as written will not stem the tide of illegal 
immigration in a meaningful way, because large numbers of people are 
projected still to overstay their visas.
  Should the legislation pass in that form, even the Congressional 
Budget Office, a bipartisan, independent call-it-by-the-numbers office, 
predicts that the reforms agreed to by the so-called Gang of 8 would 
reduce illegal immigration by only 25 percent, far short of what the 
bill's supporters have contended.
  Dependable border security and interior security are crucial to the 
success of the entire immigration system. This means putting in place 
the proper infrastructure and technology, including a national E-Verify 
system for employers. I congratulate and commend and encourage the 
junior Senator from Ohio Mr. Portman for his efforts to move toward a 
consensus in that very important area of the bill too. These steps, 
securing the border and strengthening E-Verify, should proceed efforts 
to grant legal status. I think most Americans agree with that.
  I have offered a number of amendments. I wish to take these few 
minutes to make my suggestions about how to improve this bill. But 
first and foremost, I wish to urge my colleagues, urge the leadership 
of the committee on both sides of the aisle and the leadership of this 
Senate to give this Senate an opportunity to speak on the issue of 
sanctuary cities.
  Most people are aware that one of the great ways to flout the law, as 
it has been, has been for a local jurisdiction to say to people who 
have overstayed their visas, to people who have come here illegally or 
stayed here illegally: Come to our city and we will provide you 
sanctuary. Come to our city and we will ignore the law of the land and 
make sure we do our part that it is not enforced against you--so-called 
sanctuary cities.
  As a Member of the other body, I voted for legislation and amendments 
to crack down on this.
  If this bill works as it should work, then there should be no 
illegals in the country seeking sanctuary in a sanctuary city. My 
legislation to prohibit the practice of sanctuary cities, in my view, 
should be accepted by consensus. If the authors of this bill believe it 
is a solution to our broken immigration system, then there should be no 
need for a city to say we are going to take in people who are not here 
legally because, by definition under this bill, we will have said the 
system is fixed.
  Under my amendment, these jurisdictions would be denied State 
Criminal Alien Assistance Program funds if they insist on continuing to 
be sanctuary cities. We would deny, under my amendment, law enforcement 
grants from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice for the 
continuation of so-called sanctuary cities.
  My amendment would also encourage information-sharing by law 
enforcement officials and stipulate that individuals who violate the 
immigration law should be included in the National Crime Information 
Center database. Why would that be the least bit controversial? It 
would also ensure States have access to Federal technology that is 
helpful in identifying immigrants

[[Page S4746]]

who are not here by permission and who are deported.
  I would say to my colleagues, any bill that comes out of the House of 
Representatives will almost surely have a sanctuary cities provision. 
We need a vote on this Senate floor so our constituents back home and 
our individual States can know where we stand on this issue.
  I would again emphasize if we believe the law will work, if we 
believe this new plan will fix the broken system, then there should be 
no need for any jurisdiction to call itself a sanctuary city.
  Secondly, I have a separate amendment that would double penalty fees. 
It would double from $1,000 to $2,000 the fee illegal immigrants must 
pay at various steps of the process. We all know $1,000 amounts to far 
less than what is often paid to so-called coyotes who smuggle people 
across the border. Penalties are supposed to hold people accountable 
for breaking the law and not serve as merely an inconvenience.
  I have a second amendment that would increase the penalty in the 
legislation from $1,000 to $2000.
  I have a third amendment that would require the Secretary to adjust 
these statutory fees and penalties for inflation, index them for 
inflation. What could be simpler than that? A $1,000 penalty in 2013 
might not amount to the same degree of penalty in 2015 or 2019. We 
index many of our amounts and figures under statute according to 
inflation. My third amendment would simply allow for annual inflation 
  Fourthly, I have an amendment that would strike the ability of 
illegal immigrants to apply for provisional legal status if they have 
previously filed a frivolous application for asylum, one that has been 
determined by the authorities to be frivolous. By law those who have 
knowingly filed a frivolous application, for example, containing 
statements that are deliberately fabricated, or responses that are 
deliberately fabricated, should be permanently barred from receiving 
any benefit under the new act.
  Another amendment I have would expedite removal proceedings of 
illegal immigrants with serious criminal offenses. What could be 
simpler and more straightforward than that. It would require the 
Secretary of Homeland Security to initiate expedited removal 
proceedings against those who are deemed ineligible for provisional 
legal status, for example, by law, because they would belong to a gang 
or they have committed an aggravated felony, committed an offense 
against a child or a domestic violence offense. It would seem to me 
this sort of an amendment should be the sort of amendment the Senator 
from Louisiana, Senator Landrieu, was speaking about only a few moments 
ago that should be accepted by consensus through a voice vote.
  Finally, I have an amendment to ensure that those found ineligible 
have their provisional legal status revoked. If an application is 
submitted and the duly constituted authorities under this new act 
determine the individual is not entitled to the relief requested, then 
provisional legal status should be revoked. For example, this would be 
if he or she is found to be ineligible, if he or she used fraudulent 
documentation or did not fulfill the continuous physical presence 
requirement of the bill, then that status is denied and the individual 
should then have conditional status revoked.
  I conclude by saying I appreciate the good-faith effort that has been 
made by the leadership on both sides of the aisle, by the leadership of 
the committee, and by people acting ad hoc as a self-appointed group of 
8 or group of 10. We need to make it clear that any agreement announced 
with great fanfare this afternoon, or perhaps this weekend, is not the 
end of it.
  We have a lot of time left for excellent ideas to improve this bill, 
to bring it around to the point where people such as myself could vote 
for it, where people such as my constituents back home can feel that it 
is, in fact, a solution to a broken system, and we can forward this 
legislation on to the House of Representatives with a national 
consensus behind it.
  No great changes have been made in the Congress to broad policy 
disagreements without bipartisan consensus. I hope that amendments such 
as the six I have described, particularly my amendment with regard to 
sanctuary cities, would be adopted so we can move toward a consensus 
that we do not have at this point.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. HOEVEN. I appreciate the comments of the distinguished Senator 
from Mississippi.
  I rise to speak on immigration reform and to discuss an amendment I 
will be introducing to S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform 
legislation the Senate body is carefully considering and debating. That 
amendment is the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment. It is being 
finalized, and I plan to introduce it this afternoon, along with the 
Senator from the great State of Tennessee, Senator Bob Corker, who is 
here with me. I want to thank him for the tremendous work he has done 
on this legislation. He has been absolutely inspirational to work with, 
a great leader, and somebody who is working to do immigration reform 
the right way, to get a bipartisan solution that truly addresses the 
challenges we face with immigration reform and to get it done the right 
  In addition to Senator Corker and myself, other sponsors include 
Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Marco Rubio, 
Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Dean Heller, and 
others who are joining us on this legislation. I believe a number of 
them will be down here to provide their comments as well.
  I believe the first order of business for immigration reform is to 
secure the border. I will repeat that. I believe the first order of 
business for immigration reform is to secure the border. Americans want 
immigration reform, of that there is no doubt, but they want us to get 
it right. That means, first and foremost, securing the border.
  In 1986, President Ronald Reagan and the Congress granted legalized 
status to between 3 and 4 million illegal immigrants. The intent was to 
once and for all resolve the illegal immigration problem, but obviously 
it didn't. Here we are today with more than 11 million illegal 
immigrants in this country. Here we are today with a border that has 
still not been secured.
  Ironically, illegal immigrants continue to come into our country 
because we have not secured the border at the same time--at the same 
time--our immigration laws do not meet the needs of our modern-day 
workforce for STEM-trained workers, other specialty and high-demand 
areas. In fact, one of the strengths of the underlying bill, the 
underlying legislation drafted by the Gang of 8 on a bipartisan basis, 
along with amendments that have already been added in committee, one of 
the strengths is it includes provisions that will help us with our 
workforce needs. These provisions were adopted from legislation myself 
and other Senators fostered, such as legislation led by the esteemed 
Senator from Texas John Cornyn, which would allow an increased number 
of college graduates, postgraduate degreed individuals with degrees in 
STEM--science, technology, engineering, math-trained individuals--and 
other highly skilled, highly trained people who could stay in this 
country. These are people we need to help grow our economy and to help 
create jobs.
  We also want people who can bring capital and job-creating 
opportunities to come to our country. I believe the underlying bill has 
captured these concepts. The immigration innovation legislation I was 
proud to cosponsor with Senators Hatch, Klobuchar, Coons, and others is 
included in this bill.
  We are not done. We must do more to secure the border in this 
legislation. That is exactly what we are offering here today. It is a 
very straightforward way to secure our border and to do so before 
allowing a pathway to legal permanent residency for those who came here 
  Furthermore, it will ensure that we do not repeat the error we made 
before, failure to secure our border while at the same time fixing our 
immigration laws. It builds on what is already in the underlying bill, 
and it provides objective, verifiable standards and metrics to do so.
  Our legislation will provide significantly more resources to secure 
the border, more manpower, more fencing, more technology. Those 
resources must

[[Page S4747]]

be fully deployed and operational before green card status is allowed. 
The legislation provides five specific conditions which must be met 
before anyone in RPI status, registered provisional immigrant status, 
can be adjusted or transitioned to LPR, lawful permanent resident 
status, green cards.
  These conditions are: First, we are including a comprehensive 
southern border security plan right in the legislation. This is a $3.2 
billion high-tech plan. The plan is detailed border sector by border 
sector, and it includes combinations of conventional security 
infrastructure such as observation towers, fixed and mobile camera 
systems, helicopters, planes, and other physical surveillance equipment 
to secure the border.
  The plan also includes high-tech tools such as mobile surveillance 
systems, seismic imaging, infrared ground sensors, and unmanned aerial 
systems equipped with infrared radar cameras, VADER radar, and long-
range thermal-imaging cameras. The Secretary of Homeland Security, 
together with the Secretary of Defense and the Comptroller General of 
the United States, the GAO, must certify to the Congress that this 
comprehensive southern border security strategy is deployed and 
operational. That means in place and operating, other than routine 
maintenance. That is the first requirement before the adjustment to LPR 
  Second, DHS must deploy and maintain 20,000 additional Border Patrol 
agents on the southern border. That is in addition to the number of 
Border Patrol agents on the border now, which is right at about 
20,000. So we will double the number of armed Border Patrol agents to 
detect and turn back those individuals who would try to cross our 
border illegally.

  Third, DHS must build 700 miles of fencing. That is double the amount 
required in the underlying bill, which calls for 350 miles of fencing. 
So 700 miles of fencing--that compares to about 42 miles of fencing we 
have in place right now.
  Fourth, the Secretary of Homeland Security must verify that the 
mandatory E-Verify system has been implemented to enforce workplace 
laws so that illegal immigrants are not employed.
  Fifth, the electronic entry-exit identification system must be in 
place at all international airports and seaports in the United States 
where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently 
  So these are the requirements. These are the requirements, and they 
must be met before lawful permanent residency is allowed. No green 
cards, other than for DREAMers and blue card ag workers, until these 
requirements are met.
  Once again, simply put, we must secure the border first. That is what 
Americans demand, and that is what we must do to get comprehensive 
immigration reform right. That is what this legislation does, and it 
does it with objective and verifiable methods. We ask our colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to join with us and pass this legislation.
  Madam President, at this point I would like to turn to my 
distinguished colleague from Tennessee, whom I want to thank again for 
his tremendous work, which is ongoing. I can't say how much I 
appreciate his good efforts and his good faith on a bipartisan basis. I 
turn to him now for his comments as well as to then enter into a 
colloquy with our colleagues who have worked so hard and played such a 
leadership role in this legislation.
  Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I thank the Senator from North Dakota 
for his outstanding leadership. One would expect that from someone who 
served in such a distinguished way as Governor of his State. He has 
done an outstanding job on this issue, and I thank him for being a 
greater partner.
  I know we still have some work to do. The fact is that we still have 
to introduce this amendment, and work is underway right now, but I want 
to thank him, his staff, and those all around him for the way he has 
dug into this issue, solved the problems that I think Americans are 
looking at relative to security issues, and for working with us in the 
way he has. So I thank him very much.
  I thank the Gang of 8 for the work they have done over the last 
multiple months to bring us to the place we are, where we have an 
opportunity to do something America needs; that is, solve the 
immigration issue we have and also ensure that in doing so we 
absolutely have secured the border.
  One of my colleagues called this amendment--and again, it is being 
vetted right now. We hope to introduce it a little later today. There 
is a broad agreement about what the content is, and it is being vetted 
and will be introduced later today.
  Some people have described this as a border surge. The fact is that 
we are investing resources in securing our border that have never been 
invested before--a doubling, again, of the Border Patrol and $3.2 
billion worth of technology that the Chief of the Border Patrol says is 
the technology he needs to have 100 percent awareness and to secure our 
border; dealing with the exit program and dealing with E-Verify. So all 
these things are in place.
  I thank Senator Cornyn of Texas, who began the process of focusing on 
border security. I realize his amendment failed earlier, but I think 
what he helped us do is build momentum toward an amendment that I 
consider to be far stronger and even better. But his efforts in looking 
at a border security measure helped us in this regard.
  I am not the kind of person who speaks for a long time--I think 
people understand that--but I want to say that the Senator from North 
Dakota has done an outstanding job of laying out the many elements of 
this amendment that hopefully will be voted on in the very near future. 
And I do think the American people have asked us, if we pass an 
immigration bill off the Senate floor, to do everything we can to be 
sure we have secured the border. That is what people in Tennessee have 
asked for, that is what people in North Dakota have asked for, that is 
what people in Arizona have asked for, and that is what this amendment 
  This amendment has the ability, if passed, to bring a bipartisan 
effort behind immigration reform that would then send the bill to the 
House. Look, I do wish this amendment had some other measures relative 
to interior security, but I think the House can improve this. I think a 
conference can improve this. So I hope we have the opportunity down the 
road to see that occur.
  I thank all those involved in crafting an amendment that tries to 
deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secures 
our border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us 
and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the 
needs of a growing economy--the biggest economy in the world--and that 
focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully we 
will put this debate behind us.
  Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. CORKER. Yes.
  Mr. McCAIN. First of all, could I say that all of us who have had the 
honor of working with the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from 
North Dakota are greatly appreciative of the work they have done. If 
there is going to be broad bipartisan support for the final product, it 
will be because of what the Senators from Tennessee and North Dakota 
have done, and I am very grateful for that.
  I think it is important--wouldn't the Senator from Tennessee agree--
that people understand that this is a very tough bill, and it required 
a lot of cooperation from our friends on the other side of the aisle to 
go along and agree with this. I think they have shown a great deal of 
compromise in order to reach this point and agree with us on this 
legislation, for which clearly we need bipartisan support.
  But I would like to ask the Senator for a couple of specifics 
because, again, I think it is important that we understand how tough 
this legislation is. Is it not true that we know already that E-Verify 
must be used by every employer in the country before anyone under this 
plan could be eligible for a green card? Isn't that true? It is already 
  Mr. CORKER. That is correct.
  Mr. McCAIN. And the electronic entry-exit system at all international 
airports and seaports has to be up and operational before anyone is 
eligible for a green card; is that true?
  Mr. CORKER. That is correct.
  Mr. McCAIN. Now, thanks to the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator 
from North Dakota, is it true that

[[Page S4748]]

additional technology must be deployed and operational in the field--
and that includes new VADER radar systems, integrated fixed towers, 
unmanned aerial systems, fixed cameras, mobile surveillance systems, 
ground sensors--to the point where the head of the Border Patrol has 
assured us that if these technologies are in place and operational, we 
can have 100 percent situational awareness and 90 percent effective 
control of the border?
  Mr. CORKER. That is correct.
  Mr. McCAIN. So to put the final piece of this puzzle together, is it 
not true that the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from North 
Dakota have called for 350 miles of additional border fencing in 
addition to the 350 miles already there and that 20,000 new, full-time 
Border Patrol agents be hired and deployed before someone is eligible 
for a green card? Is that a fact?
  Mr. CORKER. That is correct. I don't know of anybody who has proposed 
a tougher measure, when we look at it all combined, than the measure 
that hopefully will be on the floor in the very near future.
  Mr. McCAIN. I wonder if the Senator from North Dakota would like to 
respond to that.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Well, I appreciate the esteemed Senator from Arizona 
again emphasizing these points. That is what this is all about. This is 
about securing the border. And all of the things the Senator from 
Arizona just identified are in the bill. They are requirements. The 
plan itself, this $3.2 billion comprehensive southern border strategic 
plan, is detailed border sector by border sector. And again, this puts 
everybody in the same place saying that we are going to secure the 
border first because there are no green cards until we secure the 
  Mr. McCAIN. And is it not true, I say to my two colleagues--Madam 
President, I ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with both 
the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from North Dakota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCAIN. Is it not true, I say to my friends, that on our side of 
the aisle there is understandable skepticism--and well-founded 
skepticism on the part of my friend from Texas--because we have seen 
this movie before. In 1986 we gave amnesty to 3 million people and we 
said we would secure the border. Then in 2006 we passed a border 
security appropriations, and there was going to be plenty of money. Yet 
it was never funded.
  So for those of us from the Southwest particularly but people all 
over America, is it not true that there is understandable skepticism 
that we would not pass legislation that is binding? And is it not true 
that we can't make this, as far as border patrol and as far as miles of 
fencing, any more binding than it is in my colleagues' amendment?
  Mr. CORKER. Absolutely.
  Mr. HOEVEN. I would like to add that it is not just all these things 
that we are putting on the border and that we are requiring that these 
things be in place and certified and operating before we go to green 
card status, but also it is about eliminating the incentive to try to 
get across the border. When we put E-Verify in place and we have a 
proper guest worker program, we take away the incentive to try to get 
across the border. So we secure the border, but we also take away the 
incentive to come across because someone can come across legally 
through the guest worker program. And if they come across illegally, we 
are going to find them and they can't get a job. So it is both. That is 
what we mean when we talk about comprehensive border security and a 
comprehensive approach.

  Mr. McCAIN. I would ask my colleagues one more question. With all due 
respect to every Member of this body, when we look at this legislation 
and we look at these triggers and the technology that is going to be 
required, which, if operational, the head of the Border Patrol has said 
will give 100 percent awareness and 90 percent effective control, plus 
this increase in fencing, plus Border Patrol agents and the already 
existing in legislation E-Verify--and I think the Senator from North 
Dakota is very correct. If we remove the incentive, if people know they 
can't get a job in this country unless they have the proper documents, 
then people will stop coming illegally. It also addresses the issue of 
the 40 percent who are here who never crossed our border illegally but 
came on a visa and overstayed it.
  So I would just ask for maybe a subjective opinion. Is it possible 
that one could ever argue against this legislation now by saying that 
it does not give us a secure border?
  Mr. CORKER. I think it would be very difficult. And I thank the 
Senator from Arizona for raising this issue. If the issue one has is 
securing the border, with this immigration bill, if this amendment 
passes, which I hope it will, I don't know how anybody could argue that 
the reason they are not supporting this legislation is because we 
haven't addressed securing the border. We have addressed that. We have 
addressed that in spades in this legislation.
  Again, I thank the Senator from North Dakota for his leadership on 
this issue and the other side of the aisle for working with us. I don't 
think anyone who votes against this bill could argue as their reason, 
if we pass this amendment--and we need to get it to the floor. We are 
still working out some issues, and hopefully we will be done in a few 
hours. But I don't know how anyone could argue that we haven't dealt 
with the issue that many people have been concerned about, many people 
in Tennessee, and that is we have--if this legislation passes in the 
form it is, with this amendment as we have agreed, we have secured the 
  Mr. CORNYN. Would the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. McCAIN. Could I have the Senator from North Dakota finish 
answering this question?
  Mr. HOEVEN. I would respond to the good Senator from Arizona and say, 
look, all of the ideas that have been brought forward to secure the 
border we have worked to include in this package. We have tried in a 
bipartisan way to listen to everybody and say: What can we do? What can 
we put on the border to secure the border? We have tried to bring all 
those resources to bear.
  To the good Senator from Arizona I would say we want to bring in our 
Senator from Florida, who has worked so hard, along with the Senator 
from Arizona, to provide truly the right kind of leadership for 
comprehensive reform on a bipartisan basis. I also want to reach out to 
the good Senator from Texas. A lot of the ideas in this bill came from 
legislation he put forward. Look, this is about all of us putting our 
ideas into securing this border. We have tried to include everybody's 
ideas in this effort. That is exactly what we did.
  I would yield for the Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I honestly respect and value the work 
the so-called Gang of 8 has done on this legislation, as well as the 
contributions made by my colleagues from North Dakota and from 
Tennessee. I think they have moved this bill in a constructive 
direction to give people more confidence that we are actually serious 
about dealing with border security.
  But I want to ask them to distinguish, if they will, between the 
provision I know they both supported in my amendment that was tabled 
earlier which makes the progress from probationary status to green card 
contingent upon 100-percent situational awareness of the border and a 
90-percent apprehension rate which is defined as operational control. 
How does their amendment differ from that?
  I know it hasn't been completed yet, but my understanding is Senator 
Schumer and the Democrats would not agree to that. I know they object 
to it. Senator Schumer has been quite clear in his telling me that. But 
my impression is this is a promise of future performance, and there is 
no contingency in the same sense that there was a trigger that 
prohibited the transition from probationary status to legal permanent 
  Could the Senator please clarify?
  Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I appreciate very much the question from 
the Senator from the great State of Texas. I thank him for the work he 
did and the work we did together, and the fact that we absolutely tried 
here to build on concepts the Senator put forward. It is not the same, 
but we tried to build on those concepts.
  In terms of the actual border security plan, the comprehensive 

[[Page S4749]]

border security strategy, the $3.2 billion plan that includes 
technology, helicopters, planes, all these different things I detailed, 
that is exactly what the Senator was talking about in his legislation. 
Physically we do deploy all the things the Senator laid out in his 
legislation, and then we add to it 20,000 agents, and an additional 350 
miles of fence on top of the 350 miles of fence called for in the 
underlying bill. We put all of the physical resources out there, and 
then we add all of the fencing and all the manpower to make sure we 
accomplish exactly what the Senator was laying out. In terms of the 
trigger, all those things are triggers before going to a green card.
  It is different in that the discussion was, How do we set up 
verifiable metrics? And that is what we are doing by clearly 
delineating all these things we are putting in, and then we actually 
add to what the Senator had in the legislation.
  Mr. CORNYN. I have one last question, because I know there are others 
who want to talk and it is not my intention to interfere with their 
colloquy here.
  The 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents, here is an area where the 
movement has been pretty dramatic, because we started with zero 
additional Border Patrol agents. My amendment was disparaged by the 
distinguished senior Senator from Arizona and the distinguished senior 
Senator from New York as being a budget amendment buster, 5,000 Border 
Patrol agents. I was told we don't need more boots, we need technology. 
Now I find, to my shock and amazement, the distinguished senior Senator 
from Arizona saying we need 20,000 more Border Patrol agents. How much 
is it going to cost? That is the question.
  Mr. HOEVEN. And if I may respond to that. Again, that makes my point.
  I say to the Senator from Texas, I want to thank him for his work. 
That is a great example of how we have built on the foundation he laid. 
That was a great example. He asked for 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 
we got 20,000. So this is a great example. It is all paid for, and this 
is important.
  Mr. CORNYN. I would repeat my question: How much is it going to cost?
  Mr. HOEVEN. That is where I am going right now.
  Remember, in the CBO score, in the first 10 years, $197 billion. We 
use about $30 billion to make sure that border is secure. But overall, 
this bill with this amendment creates border security and more than 
pays for itself.
  Here is the other point. Remember, in that CBO score it showed $197 
billion in terms of revenue creation. So we used $30 billion of that to 
add the border agents and secure the border.
  But here is the other thing we have to look at in that CBO score. It 
said without our amendment, with the underlying bill, we would have 7 
million more illegal immigrants in this country in 10 years. Without 
the bill we would have 10 million more. So what does that say? It 
didn't get the job done on border security. That is exactly why we are 
adding this amendment, and it will get the job done.
  Mr. CORNYN. Let me express my appreciation to the Senators for their 
answer to the question.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank the Senator from Texas for his engagement.
  As usual, the Senator from South Carolina has a very busy schedule. I 
ask unanimous consent that he be allowed 10 minutes and then I regain 
the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRAHAM. I thank all who made this better.
  To Senator Cornyn's question about cost: I never objected to more 
Border Patrol agents. I didn't know how we would pay for the bill. I 
hoped it would be deficit neutral. Boy, did my hopes come true. It is 
not deficit neutral. According to the Congressional Budget Office, we 
reduce the deficit in the first 10 years by $190 billion and over a 20-
year period $700 billion. So the reason I didn't want to agree to 5,000 
agents without somebody showing me how we would pay for it, we are 
borrowing enough money from our grandchildren and great-grandchildren 
to run the government. We don't need to do any more borrowing unless we 
absolutely have to.
  The good news is the bill we have written will create economic growth 
in the country at a time when we need economic growth. It will allow 
employers access to labor they don't have today so they won't be 
tempted to cheat in the future. This bill helps the economy. Don't take 
my word for it, take CBO's word for it.
  If you had some more money to spend in this bill, how would you want 
to spend it? Let me tell you what Senator Graham would wish to do. He 
would wish to hire 20,000 Border Patrol agents to let everybody in the 
country know I get it when we say we have got to secure the border.
  You are right, we have had two waves of illegal immigration. We don't 
need a third. And why are we doing this? Why 20,000 Border Patrol 
agents? That is three brigades of troops. That is taking the equivalent 
of three brigades of Army troops, trained law enforcement officers, to 
supplement the 20,000 we have. We will have a Border Patrol agent every 
thousand feet on the border 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It costs 
over $20 billion, but I can tell you this: It is money well spent, 
because it makes the border more secure, which helps us with our 
  Why are we hiring 20,000 agents on top of the 20,000 we have? Because 
our country can't control who comes in. We cannot maintain our 
sovereignty if every 10 and 20 years 3 million to 11 million illegal 
immigrants come into our country. If you want the border secure, as I 
do, your ship has come in. The 20,000 are now affordable and they are 
needed. The 700 miles of fence will be built because it is needed. The 
$3.2 billion of technology that has been proven to work in Iraq and 
Afghanistan will go to the border because it will help back up the 
Border Patrol agents.
  As to my good friend from Texas: How do we know all this works? The 
bill requires us to hire the agents and put them on the border before 
you can transition to green card. It is not talking about hiring the 
agents, it is not talking about training them. You have got to hire and 
  The bill also says the fence has to be built. The bill says the $3.2 
billion of new technology that worked in Iraq and Afghanistan has to be 
purchased, deployed, and operational.
  Here is my belief: If you hire the Border Patrol agents and you put 
them on the border, they are not going to read a comic book. They are 
going to do their job. You don't need to prove to me they are going to 
do their job. You just need to get them on the border so they can do 
their job.
  And if you have the 18 drones versus the 6, you don't need to prove 
to me somebody will fly them. They will fly them. If you have the 
technology deployed and operational in addition to the drones, the 
VADER radar and the sensors, people will look at the radar because they 
want to protect our country.
  What has been missing is capacity. This is a border surge. We have 
militarized our border, almost. Why? Because we have lost our 
sovereignty. We have lost the ability to control who comes into 
  My belief is if you can't get a green card until all of this is 
purchased and deployed, that is enough. There will come a point to 
where it is enough.
  Ladies and gentlemen, I have been working on this for almost a decade 
with Senator McCain. I can look anybody in the eye and tell them that 
if you put 20,000 Border Patrol agents on the border in addition to the 
20,000 we have--that is one every thousand feet--that will work. If you 
buy technology that helped us fight and create success in Iraq when we 
did the surge, that will help the Border Patrol agents. If you build a 
fence, that all helps. So I don't need any more than getting it in 
  Finally, to my good friend from Tennessee and my good friend from 
North Dakota: The bill when we wrote it I thought was good, but they 
have made it a lot better. To anybody in America who believes border 
security should be robust and it is a national security priority, we 
have in every sense of the term ``reasonable'' met that goal. We 
couldn't have done it without more people.
  To the Gang of 8 Members, it has been a joy to work on this bill.
  To our colleagues who have weighed in and tried to get the bill 
better and get to yes, you are doing this country a great service.

[[Page S4750]]

  I hope Monday night we will pass legislation that will mandate that 
20,000 additional Border Patrol agents will be on the border working 
before you can get a green card; that the technology that worked in 
Afghanistan and Iraq will be up and operational before you can get a 
green card; the fence will be built before you get a green card. And to 
me, ladies and gentlemen, that is enough. That is enough.
  The people we are talking about deserve a hard-earned process to get 
into America. They need to pay a fine, learn our language, get in the 
back of the line, and they need to earn their way into good standing. 
But they are people.
  I am very pleased to support what I think is the most dramatic 
amendment in the history of our country to secure our border at a time 
when we need it secured.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. SESSIONS. What is the order, if I might ask?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The order was to recognize the Senator from 
Arizona after the Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. McCAIN. I thank my friend from South Carolina for his usual 
eloquent exposition of what this situation is all about.
  I have other colleagues who are waiting to speak, but I want to say 
again, the Senator from North Dakota and the Senator from Tennessee 
have shown the best of what this institution can be all about. Not only 
did they reach agreement between the two of them, not only did they 
reach agreement with I believe a significant number of our colleagues 
but they also reached agreement with my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle. In this day and age, that is a signal success. I thank them 
for not only what they produced but the many compromises they had to 
make along the way.
  I won't try to embellish what the Senator from South Carolina said, 
except to say I come from a State that has probably been torn apart 
more than any other by this issue. We passed legislation in reaction to 
our broken borders, where ranchers in the southern part of my State 
were actually murdered; where our wildlife refuges were destroyed; 
where people died in the desert by the hundreds, their bodies were 
found months later; where coyotes bring people across the border and 
then hold them in drop houses in Phoenix for ransom under the most 
unspeakable conditions; where drugs are brought freely across the 
border and guided by guides on mountaintops, guiding these drug cartels 
as they bring the drugs to Phoenix. The drug people will tell you that 
Phoenix, AZ, is still the major drug distribution center in the United 
States of America.
  So I take a backseat to no one, even from the great State of Texas, 
of the enormous challenges and controversies associated with illegal 
  We tried before and we failed. I won't go into why we failed and all 
the people who were responsible. I will take responsibility. I didn't 
do a good enough job in selling my colleagues on the absolute need for 
immigration reform. The fact is 11 million people live in the shadows, 
they live here in de facto amnesty, and they are being exploited every 
single day.
  Should not it be for a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles 
to bring these people out of the shadows? Yes, punish them because they 
committed crimes by crossing our border illegally. But isn't it in our 
Nation to come together and pass this legislation and not manufacture 
reasons for not doing that? Isn't there enough of a penalty? Isn't 
there enough border security now, thanks to my colleagues from North 
Dakota and from Tennessee--isn't there enough now?
  All I can say is I urge my colleagues to vote overwhelmingly in favor 
of this hard-fought, well-crafted amendment and let's move on to other 
issues that face this Nation. Then I believe we can look back years 
from now and say to our children and our grandchildren that we did the 
right thing.
  I yield floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Donnelly). The Senator from New York.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I understand that both my colleagues from 
New Hampshire and Florida wish to speak. I will be happy to have each 
of them speak for 5 minutes and then me speak for 5 minutes, if that is 
OK. I ask unanimous consent: 5, 5, and 5.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? The Chair hears none, and, 
the Senator from New Hampshire is recognized.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from New York for 
giving us that courtesy. I rise in support of the amendment that will 
be offered by my colleagues from Tennessee and North Dakota. I 
appreciate the hard work they have done to enhance the border security 
provisions in the current pending immigration bill on the floor. To all 
of us, securing our border is very important to preventing another wave 
of illegal immigration in this country.
  But what they have done is incredibly important. It is very strong, 
the strongest measure that I think this body has considered--20,000 
Border Patrol agents, essentially doubling those agents that will be 
along the southern border; in addition to that, significantly 
increasing the fencing. In fact, at least 700 miles of fencing will 
have to be completed along the southern border, almost doubling what 
was already in the bill for fencing and specifying what types of 
technology the Department of Homeland Security will have to deploy, 
including the best technology, using sensors and drones, to make sure 
we can apprehend those who are illegally trying to cross our border and 
then making very sure we prevent a further wave of illegal immigration, 
along with the strong reforms in this bill to our legal immigration 
system, making sure we can keep the best and the brightest here to help 
us grow our economy, to make sure we have the workforce we need to 
ensure that we will create jobs here.
  Let us not forget we are a country of immigrants. I daresay for most 
of my colleagues either their parents or their grandparents came from 
another country and worked very hard in this country. We need legal 
immigration that works for our country, that makes sure our economy 
continues to grow and that we have people here who want to work hard 
and live the American dream. But we also cannot ignore securing our 
southern border.
  That is why I am proud to cosponsor the amendment that will be 
offered by Senator Corker and Senator Hoeven. This doubles the number 
of border agents, doubles the amount of fencing, specifies the type of 
technology that is required, and gives the resources to finally secure 
our border.
  To my Republican colleagues, I think there was an op-ed in the Wall 
Street Journal today that is worth mentioning. I share their concerns 
about securing the border, but I hope--with the strong enhancements 
that have been put in this amendment to double the amount of border 
security, to strengthen and double, almost, the amount of fencing, to 
make sure the right technologies are in place to secure our border, 
this will prevent another wave of illegal immigration--they will not 
use border security as a ruse not to vote for a bill to fix an 
immigration system that is absolutely broken.
  The status quo is not working for anyone. None of us wants to find 
ourselves, another 5 years from now, debating this issue again and 
finding that we have a larger population of illegal immigrants and we 
have legal immigration that is not working for our country and is not 
making sure we have the right people here, people who are working hard, 
living the American dream to grow our economy and great American jobs.
  I think today the Wall Street Journal has said this border security 
issue cannot be used as a trick not to want to support a strong bill 
which is on the floor--and this amendment will make it very strong on 
the border security provisions--and finally work in a bipartisan manner 
to fix a broken immigration system that is not working for anyone and 
not working for our country.
  I yield the floor for my colleague from Florida. I commend my 
colleague from Florida who has worked--along with the other Members of 
the group, the Senators from Arizona as well as the Senator from South 
Carolina--but the Senator from Florida, I know how focused he is on 
making sure our borders are secure. I appreciate his strong leadership 
in fixing this broken immigration system and making sure we do

[[Page S4751]]

not have another wave of illegal immigration in this country.
  Mr. INHOFE. Parliamentary inquiry.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will state his inquiry.
  Mr. INHOFE. My inquiry is it was my understanding we were getting 
equal time back and forth. My question is, is this based on party, so 
Democrats and then Republicans will alternate time; is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no agreement for alternation.
  Mr. INHOFE. There is no agreement? Because all I have heard in the 
last hour is those in support of the bill. My question is, when can 
someone be heard who is not in support of the bill?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time is equally divided between majority 
and minority, not between proponents and opponents.
  Mr. INHOFE. I see.
  Mr. SESSIONS. There you go.
  Mr. INHOFE. All right.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Inquiry. Was that by unanimous consent?
  Mr. SESSIONS. That explains it, then.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I appreciate this opportunity and I will be 
brief. My colleagues have already stated what this entails and the 
details of it. I think that is important.
  I got involved in this issue earlier this year after spending the 
better part of my first 2 years in the Senate thinking about this issue 
because, frankly, not just from being from Florida but living in south 
Florida I am surrounded by the reality of it every single day. When I 
started this effort, I became deeply convinced this is something that 
needed to be fixed and needed to be dealt with, but from the very 
beginning, the early days of my involvement, I made clear border 
security was an essential component of it.
  This is not against anybody. Border security is not an anti-anyone 
effort. That is not what it is. We understand that America is a special 
country. It is so special that people want to come from all over the 
world and they do. One million people a year come here legally, every 
single year.
  We also understand it is so special, unique, some people are willing 
to risk their lives to come here illegally. As compassionate people, we 
understand that reality and our heart breaks at the stories of what 
people are having to go through to come. But we also understand the 
United States of America is a sovereign country. Every single sovereign 
country on the planet, every single one, tries to or does control its 
borders and who comes into the country and who leaves. Every country in 
the world does that. The United States of America should not be any 
  At the end of the day, that is what this issue is about. It is that 
we have a sovereign right to protect our border and we have a crisis on 
the southern border of the United States. For many different reasons, 
people have chosen to cross that border illegally, consistently, for 
the 20 or 30 years, and the results are obvious to all of us. That is 
why border security is such an important part of this bill and this 
  When we introduced our bill, the bill said basically the Department 
of Homeland Security would be given some money, and they would get to 
decide what the border security plan looked like. Many people in the 
public and many of our colleagues were unhappy with that proposal. They 
raised valid concerns that we were turning over border security and 
deciding what the plan would be to people who claim it is already 
secure. What this amendment does is it takes that back and it says that 
we, instead, we in the Senate, will decide what that plan is after we 
get input from border agents and others about what will work.
  What this amendment reflects is what we know will work. We know that 
adding border agents, doubling the size of the U.S. Border Patrol, that 
will work. We know that completing fence work will work. We know an 
entry-exit tracking system, since 40 percent of our illegal immigrants 
are those who overstay their visas, will work. We know E-Verify will 
work. It is something many of my colleagues in my party have asked for, 
for the better part of 10 years. It will work because it takes away the 
magnet of employment.
  We know these new technologies that were not available to us in 1986 
or 2006 or even 5 years ago will work. What this bill says is you must 
do all of those things, and it is linked to legal permanent residence. 
In essence, someone who has violated our immigration laws cannot become 
a legal permanent resident in the United States until all five of those 
actions happen. That is the guarantee this will happen.
  Let me close by saying I understand the frustration. I truly do. I 
know these promises have been made in the past. In a moment, the 
Senator from Alabama whose position on this is well stated will point 
out these promises were also made in 1986. By the way, in 1986, I was 
15 years old, and I have to tell you immigration was the last thing on 
my mind at that time. But here is the reality of it. The choice before 
us is to try to fix this or to leave it the way it is. What we have is 
a disaster of epic proportions. We have 10 or 11 million human beings 
living among us. We don't know who they are. They are working but not 
paying taxes. There are criminals among them. That has to be solved. A 
legal immigration system built on the 19th century? We need to fix this 
and this is our chance to fix it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I thank my colleagues, first from New 
York and Tennessee, for the good work they have done. My Gang of 8 
colleagues--seven of the Gang of 8 colleagues who are my colleagues, we 
are working real hard to get a bill done and it is not easy. It is one 
of the hardest things I have ever done as a legislator. But we keep 
making progress and we keep improving. Today I think is a breakthrough 
  Let me go over it. First, speaking on behalf of the Democratic 
Members of my bipartisan group, let's say this. There is still some 
drafting of the legislative language to be completed. We are continuing 
to inform all our allies on our side about the contours of the 
proposal. But barring something unexpected, we are extremely 
enthusiastic that a bipartisan agreement is at hand.
  I know there have been a number of news reports this morning. It is 
accurate. We are on the verge of a huge breakthrough on border 
security. With this agreement, we believe we have the makings of a 
strong bipartisan final vote in favor of this immigration reform bill.
  From the beginning of the floor debate on this bill, we have known 
there were a group of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle who 
were inclined to vote for immigration reform but first wanted to see a 
strengthening of the bill's border security section. That makes sense 
because most Americans will be fair and apply common sense toward the 
11 million in the shadows and future immigration if and only if they we 
will not have future flows of illegal immigration.
  We took those concerns seriously. Our bill is tough on this stuff. We 
wanted it tough. The amendment makes it tougher still.
  Last week, Senators Corker and Hoeven emerged as leaders of the group 
of like-minded colleagues from the other side of the aisle seeking a 
tougher approach. My friends Senators Graham and McCain and I sat down 
with them and we began talking, along with Senator Menendez. We began 
meetings with them ourselves this week.
  For us on the Democratic side, it has been an important bottom line 
throughout this process that the path to citizenship not be put in 
jeopardy. The path is tough, as it should be, but must always be fair. 
So we could not go along with efforts, such as in the bill of my 
colleague from Texas, that would tie the path to citizenship to 
unachievable benchmarks for the border. Senator Cornyn's amendment, 
which was defeated on this day, went too far in that regard, and I was 
not sure whether the new negotiations would produce agreement either. 
As recently as Tuesday night, Senator Hoeven and I had an extended 
phone conversation that lasted 45 minutes. It would probably best be 
described as spirited. But about 24 hours ago we had a breakthrough. 
The idea that broke the logjam is the so-called border surge plan.
  The border surge is breathtaking in its size and scope. This deal 
will deploy an unprecedented number of boots on

[[Page S4752]]

the ground and drones in the air. It would double the size of Border 
Patrol agents from its current level to over 40,000. It will finish the 
job of completing the fence along the entire 700-mile stretch of the 
southwest border, and it will enumerate, on a sector-by-sector basis, 
lists of cutting-edge tools and equipment that will boost surveillance 
and apprehension efforts, including sensors, surveillance towers, and 
more unmanned drones. In other words, the border surge plan calls for a 
breathtaking show of force that will discourage future waves of illegal 
  This compromise will inundate the southwest border with manpower and 
equipment. It not only calls for finishing a literal fence, it will 
create a virtual human fence of Border Patrol agents. Under the border 
surge, the Border Patrol will have the capacity to deploy an armed 
agent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to stand guard every 1,000 feet 
from San Diego, CA, to Brownsville, TX.
  We came up with this idea of the border surge Wednesday morning after 
the CBO report was released. My colleague from Texas asked: Why not a 
week ago? We didn't have the CBO report. We didn't know we had the 
dollars. We have them now, and we still keep to our goal of not costing 
the Treasury a nickel. The CBO report was the game changer. It gave us 
the budgetary flexibility to consider massive new investments in border 
security that we didn't think we could previously afford.
  The surge shows the commitment to border security our colleagues have 
been asking for. I was heartened to see that our friend the junior 
Senator from Illinois already announced that based on this agreement he 
is prepared to support final passage of the bill. This is a significant 
development considering Senator Kirk initially opposed the motion to 
proceed. It is safe to say this agreement has the power to change minds 
in the Senate.
  This agreement on border security continues the spirit of bipartisan 
compromise that has marked this legislation from the beginning. In 
fact, in the forthcoming Corker-Hoeven amendment, it will be a vehicle 
for accommodating some other compromises in other areas of Republican 
concern as well.
  With this agreement, we have now answered every criticism that has 
come forward about the immigration bill.
  First, critics expressed worry that the process would be closed and 
that no amendments would be allowed. The bill was available for perusal 
weeks before we went to committee. Under Senator Leahy's leadership, 
the committee was an open process, with 300 amendments filed, and now 
we are spending weeks on the floor trying to move as many amendments as 
possible. Some on the other side of the aisle have blocked that from 
happening as quickly as we would like--as well as some on our side 
too--but we are moving through these amendments.
  The next criticism was that it would cost a fortune. CBO debunked 
that one pretty well. This adds to the Treasury. It cuts the deficit 
$900 billion over the next 20 years, $175 billion over the next 10 
  Finally, the last argument: We have to secure the border. Securing 
the border is vital before anyone could support the bill--or some could 
support the bill. We have answered that resoundingly with the Corker-
Hoeven amendment.
  We have much more work to do, but I am more confident than ever 
before that the Senate will pass a strong bipartisan immigration reform 
bill and that it will ultimately reach the desk of the President for 
signature. It is a great day for the cause of immigration reform and 
for the Senate.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Warren). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 
up to 15 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I know Senator Schumer and the Gang of 
8 have worked hard on this legislation. I respect their efforts and 
goals. I share their goals, and I share many of the principles they 
stated. But what we learned is that the legislation came nowhere close 
to fulfilling those goals. That is why, here in the middle of the 
debate after the bill has been exposed, after it has been hammered for 
failure after failure, they have come up with a bill that says: Don't 
worry now. We are going to throw 20,000 agents at the border, and now 
you all have to vote for it because we fixed it. Now you got what you 
  I say to my colleagues, too often the phrase ``border security'' has 
been used to include all legal and illegal activities that occur. What 
we know is that not only do we have problems at the border, 40 percent 
of the people who are here illegally today are visa overstays. CBO's 
report, which just came out, indicates that is going to grow--as I had 
predicted it would--in the future. We are going to have twice as many 
people come to the country on visas, and they are coming to take jobs--
jobs that Americans need to be prepared to take. We need to get them 
prepared if they are not already prepared. We need to get them off of 
welfare and into self-sufficiency so they can make good wages that 
allow them to pay for their health care and have a retirement plan with 
enough left over to take care of their families. That has not been 
happening. Wages for average American workers have been declining since 
1999, and it is a serious problem. I thought perhaps initially with the 
Republican agenda that this was a temporary thing and might bounce 
back, but we have seen that sustained.
  Senator Schumer referred to the Congressional Budget Office score, 
but he didn't refer to this: This bill will accelerate that decline. 
Wages will drop more than they would have if the bill didn't pass. CBO 
found that unemployment would go up. They found that although there 
would be some increase in the economy, with millions of people coming, 
per capita, per person, the GDP would decrease. So this is a real 
problem we need to be honest about.
  How large a flow of people can we sustain and create jobs for? Do we 
want to invite good people to come to America to take jobs and then 
they are not here for them? Do we want to bring in so many people that 
wages for American workers decline or Americans can't get the jobs? But 
somebody who comes from a very poor country, willing to work at the 
lowest possible wage--won't that pull down the wages of Americans who 
were hoping to get a pay raise instead of a pay cut?

  I submit that this is a serious issue, and that is why Professor 
Borjas at Harvard has said it will adversely impact the wages of 
American workers, particularly low-income American workers. They will 
face the most adverse economic impact. This fact has not been disputed 
so far as I can see.
  Now, the Senator says the bill is paid for. Know what they do? They 
count the off-budget money. This is what happened. Under the score the 
Congressional Budget Office gave to us, they found that it would 
increase the on-budget deficit by $14 billion. It will increase the on-
budget debt of America by $14 billion over a period of 10 years. But 
they say they have a surplus over 10 years in the off-budget accounts--
some $200 billion. They have counted that up and said: We have a net 
surplus. Hallelujah.
  What is the off-budget money? What are we talking about for the off-
budget money? That is Social Security money. Everybody who pays into 
Social Security, when they get ready to retire, is going to draw out 
that money. It doesn't add to the net financial benefit of America if a 
person who is here illegally is given a Social Security card, starts 
paying into Social Security, and will end up drawing from Social 
  We cannot count the off-budget money. That is how this country has 
been going broke. We have been using that budget gimmick for way too 
long, and that is not correct. We should not be doing that, and it is 
not going to improve the deficit over 10 years. The statement of the 
Congressional Budget Office and their important report are quite clear 
about that.
  It says some other things. With regard to wages for American workers, 
the Congressional Budget Office report says that if this bill passes, 
wages will go down. It says that if this bill passes, unemployment will 
go up. That is their analysis of it. It has a chart in there that shows 
that for over 10 or 20 years per capita GDP is below what it would be 
if the bill had not passed and that wages are going to be low for years 
to come.

[[Page S4753]]

  Why in the world would we as Americans want to dramatically increase 
the legal flow of immigration above our current generous rate and 
double the guest worker program? In addition to legalizing the 11 
million people who would be legalized under the legislation, there are 
4.5 million people who will be given speeded-up allocation under the 
chain migration system. So there will be 4.5 million accelerated under 
the chain migration as a result of lifting limits on those individuals 
and the people who are here illegally. In addition to that, we will 
have a large flow of other workers.
  Now, I have an amendment. This is a number of pages of it, some 30 
pages, very similar to what the House is working on today. It deals 
with the visa overstay issue. It deals with people who get into the 
country legally but don't go home and don't cross the border. It is a 
growing percentage of the illegality we see today, and it will soon be 
over half of the illegality, and it certainly will be if this 
legislation is passed. Does this legislation Senator Schumer refers to 
fix that problem?
  With the amendment, does this legislation solve the complaints of the 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents? They have written us 
multiple times. They pleaded to be allowed to meet with the Gang of 8 
and to be able to explain the realities of enforcement difficulties in 
America. We are having an impossible time making enforcement work. Why 
is this administration blocking them from actual enforcement of the law 
as they are sworn to do? They voted no confidence in their supervisor, 
Mr. Morton. They filed a lawsuit against Secretary Napolitano, and they 
asserted to her that she is blocking them through regulations and 
policies from enforcing the law they are sworn to enforce. The matter 
has been in the court, and the court is considering this lawsuit. I 
have never heard of Federal agents suing because they are not allowed 
to enforce the law. That is going on in America today. The ICE agents 
have written us a letter, and they said this legislation will make it 
worse. They said it will endanger national security.
  What about the other part of the immigration process? Citizenship and 
Immigration Services is a group of officers who have to review the 
amnesty applications, review applications from abroad, and do those 
sort of things. Well, what do they say about it? They say the bill will 
make the situation worse, it will make it impossible for them to do 
their job. They do not have the capacity to process the 11 million 
people who are going to be asking for amnesty. It is not going to work. 
It will make the system worse. They have not been listened to in this 
process either.
  Now, Senator Schumer said--and I hope everybody heard it--we have a 
plan. Don't worry. We are going to throw 20,000 agents at the border, 
and now you can quit complaining, you complainers, and just be happy 
and vote for our bill.
  Well, then he said something like: Well, we don't have it written 
yet. We don't have it written yet, and we are working on it. We are 
sharing it with our allies, and we have not shown it to anybody else 
yet. But trust us, we have a bill that will work.
  That is what they said when the bill was originally filed. They said 
they had a sufficient fencing system at the border. We read the bill, 
and there was no requirement in the bill to build any fences at the 
border. It was totally up to the Secretary. So now he seems quite 
happy--not having been able to run that past the Senate, having been 
caught on that deal--he is now willing to enhance some fencing. But 
current law, the law we passed a decade ago, required 700 miles of 
double-layered fencing, which would actually be very effective. This 
bill now, after having had the bill endangered, they ran out and said, 
well, we will do 700 miles of single-layer fencing, which is quite less 
secure and not what we voted on in the Senate 10 years ago. President 
Obama voted for it and Vice President Biden voted for it and former 
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voted for it. That has never been 
done. We promised to do that too. We passed a law, we even passed 
funding for it, and it never got built. Only 30 miles of the 700 miles 
of double-layer fencing was ever built.

  So this is a problem we have, along with the American people. So I 
say to Senator Schumer: I want to read this Corker amendment. Who is 
writing it, Senator Corker, Senator Hoeven, or Senator Schumer? Senator 
Schumer is telling us what is in it. He is saying he is still working 
on it. He is saying he is sharing it with his allies but not with those 
who have doubts about it. I would like to see this bill we have heard 
so much about. Also, will it deal with other issues?
  So we know this: We know the legislation gives amnesty first. We were 
told originally by the Gang of 8 we were going to have border security 
first, right? They finally had to acknowledge that isn't so. That is a 
pretty big promise.
  Border security first. Not so in the bill, not so in the Hoeven-
Corker amendment. The toughest enforcement ever. Clearly, the bill was 
weaker than the 2007 bill. Members of the Gang of 8 have acknowledged 
that. It is nowhere close.
  On visas, current law requires that under the visa policy of the 
United States, we have entry-exit visas, biometric at land, sea, and 
airports. What does this bill say? This bill says, well, we will have 
electronic entry-exit visas at air and seaports but not at land ports. 
And if we don't have the land ports in the mix, then we never know who 
came into the country if they left by land.
  The 9/11 Commission says the system will not work. The system will 
not work.
  Proponents of the bill said an individual would have to pay back 
taxes. That is so ridiculous. That is utterly unenforceable. It is just 
a talking point. It has no reality whatsoever.
  They said a person has to learn English. Not so. A person can be in a 
English course 6 months before their time comes up. They don't have to 
complete the course. That is all it requires.
  They say no welfare benefits, but there are benefits as scored by the 
Congressional Budget Office, the largest of which I suppose is the 
earned-income tax credit.
  They said it would end illegal immigration, and the Congressional 
Budget Office report, amazingly--
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I ask unanimous consent for 1 additional minute.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Amazingly, the Congressional Budget Office said the 
bill that is before us would only reduce illegal immigration by 25 
percent. So we are going to give amnesty for the toughest bill ever, 
and all of this. Then the bill gets in trouble on the floor and they 
scurry around and they get an amendment that throws in, say, 20,000 
agents who are going to be hired somewhere on the border in the future. 
We promise. We are going to give amnesty first, though, and we promise 
that these agents will all be hired and the problem will be fixed. They 
promised to build a fence in 2008. It never happened.
  So we are going to read this Hoeven-Corker amendment. We are going to 
evaluate it fairly. It seems to me it doesn't come close to touching 
all of the issues necessary to have a lawful system of immigration that 
serves the national interests in a way that Americans can be proud of.
  We believe in immigration. We want to be compassionate and helpful to 
people who have been here a long time, but we have to have a system we 
can count on in the future.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, yesterday we received some very positive 
news about the future potential impact of this bill that is being 
debated on the floor today from the Congressional Budget Office 
regarding the expected economic impact of this bill. I think it is 
worth repeating. It has been discussed and debated, but I think it is 
worth repeating for the benefit of those who are watching and for the 
benefit of those who are crafting a path forward.
  The CBO report details how successful reforms to our immigration 
system called for in this bill will, in fact, boost our economy not 
only in the next 10 years but in the 10 years to follow. Specifically, 
the report details how immigration reform will cut the deficit by 
nearly $200 billion--I think it is $197

[[Page S4754]]

billion over the next decade--and then $700 billion in the following 
decade. CBO projects over 20 years, nearly $1 trillion in savings.
  While economic growth and deficit reduction are both great things and 
important for our country, what is particularly interesting and 
valuable about this bill is that the growth and jobs, according to CBO, 
will be experienced by Americans all across the country and all along 
the labor spectrum. The CBO report is consistent with a statement last 
month from the Social Security Administration that this bill would 
create over 3 million jobs in the next 10 years. Simply put, this is a 
jobs bill.
  The immigration bill before us creates jobs in a number of different 
ways that I think are worth taking a minute to look at. First, the bill 
creates jobs by making needed investments, as we have heard at great 
length today, in border security. The brave men and women who defend 
our country's borders will get the support they need to reduce illegal 
immigration and save lives. Many of these men and women, in fact, will 
have served honorably and previously in our Armed Forces abroad, and 
this bill provides a specific opportunity at which our heroes will 
  The bill also creates jobs by creating and enhancing immigration 
programs that encourage investment in American companies and in 
American workers.
  The permanent authorization of such demonstrated programs such as EB-
5 and the new INVEST visa, which build upon years of demonstrated 
success and create years of jobs through targeted investment capital, 
is another benefit of this bill.
  In the last Congress I worked with a bipartisan group, including 
Senators Warner, Rubio, and Moran, in crafting something called the 
Startup visa, and I am thrilled this includes the INVEST visa, quite 
similar to the Startup vise idea, that encourages foreign nationals 
with capital who are entrepreneurs to come to the United States and 
invest in job growth in our country.
  New companies create new jobs, and the contributions of immigrant 
entrepreneurs are well known in every corner of this country, including 
in my own home State of Delaware. By encouraging rather than limiting 
immigrant entrepreneurs, this bill will ensure the American dream 
remains alive and well for future generations.
  This bill also, in my view, will create jobs in the short term and in 
the long term by encouraging companies to invest in growth in the 
United States rather than abroad. It balances the need to attract and 
retain high-skilled foreign-born individuals, many of whom are 
currently trained at American universities at public expense, while 
also ensuring that companies recruit Americans for open positions in 
high-skilled jobs--typically those who focus in the engineering and 
science, math and technology areas.
  The reforms in this bill to our employment-based visa system are long 
overdue. It does a wide range of things, including clears backlogs, 
eliminates the per-country caps, and permits so-called dual-intent for 
students. I think all of these are positive for improving the quality 
and the availability of the American workforce. I think we should get 
this done.
  At the same time, this bill makes an important contribution to the 
health and welfare of American workers by cracking down on unauthorized 
illegal employment and bringing workers out of the shadows and into our 
open economy. I am particularly happy this bill includes clear guidance 
that immigrants authorized to work in this country are able to provide 
services in all parts of the economy by accessing appropriate licensure 
standards. This provision will ensure that once legally authorized to 
work, immigrants who abide by the same laws and safety measures as 
Americans will be able to bring their full skills and talents into our 
  For the long-term health of our economy, this bill also contains an 
important investment in training our children. I had the pleasure of 
working with Senators Hatch, Rubio, and Klobuchar on a STEM fund 
concept in our immigration innovation bill, and I am glad to see the 
inclusion of that STEM education fund that will improve the science, 
technology, engineering, and math education of U.S. national children 
in schools across this country.
  At a time when we have to make difficult decisions about how best to 
cut the deficit and grow the economy, this bill is perhaps the best 
chance we have at making significant, bipartisan progress while also 
making our country more fair, more just, and more secure.
  If I might for another few minutes, I wish to also speak about what 
it means to make our immigration system more just.
  America has earned its place in the world in part because of the 
immigrants who have come before us bringing their culture, their 
passion, their ideas, and their skills to our shores. When I ask 
Americans what they expect of our immigration system as we try to fix 
this badly broken system, they say they want one that keeps us safe 
from foreign threats, from terrorism, and dangerous individuals. They 
want a system that protects the American workforce and that grows our 
economy. They want a system that is fair and transparent and that 
reflects our most basic values.

  It is clear to me, as it is, I suspect, to the Presiding Officer and 
many of our colleagues that our current immigration system just isn't 
consistent with our most sacred values. We are failing to resolve legal 
disputes through a judicial process worthy of our world-renowned 
justice system, and we are failing to safeguard taxpayer dollars which 
we are needlessly wasting with a slow and inefficient and poorly 
managed immigration legal system.
  Our immigration system jeopardizes our values and mistreats those who 
would adopt them as their own. So I think we must act.
  Fortunately, this bill before us today better aligns our immigration 
system with our most basic values. It is not perfect, but it is a vital 
and needed step forward. It makes critical progress, for example, in 
the treatment of children who are forced into our immigration courts. 
Under our current system, children as young as 8 years old--often with 
limited English language skills--are forced to stand in front of 
immigration judges and argue whether they have some basis to remain in 
our country. These children aren't represented by counsel. The 
proceeding is adversarial. The judge is an employee of the same agency 
as the prosecutor. This, in my view, doesn't look anything like 
America, and in some essential ways it must change.
  By expanding access to representation for children, this bill will 
not only seek better justice for immigrant children, but also help 
administer cases in a more efficient manner. In our immigration courts 
where immigrants are regularly brought before judges without 
information central to their own cases, this bill will ensure 
immigrants have access to their own case files before they appear in 
court. In our own civil and criminal court systems, this sort of basic 
information exchange is the bare minimum.
  This is an improvement that reflects our values, by letting people 
understand the consequences before them when they step into a 
courtroom. It is also a commonsense way to save money by expediting 
immigration proceedings where dockets are currently backlogged not just 
weeks and months but years. While immigration courts deal with mounting 
backlogs, many immigrants remain in detention at enormous cost to 
  Finally, this bill also proposes a rational detention policy that 
keeps immigrants who pose a real threat to society in detention while 
recognizing the value, the capability of modern technology to provide 
alternatives to detention when the only concern is appearing for a 
hearing. Our values tell us that individuals who pose no threat to 
society don't belong in protracted detention, and technology has 
allowed us to exercise better alternatives.
  By addressing the backlog of cases through improvements to the court 
system and by making steps toward a more rational detention policy, I 
believe this bill in its current form will save money while reflecting 
our shared values.
  I wish to draw the attention of my colleagues to one amendment that 
raises concerns for me on this exact point. It is amendment No. 1203, 
and Senator Inhofe is the lead sponsor. It would, in my view, require 
essentially mandatory indefinite detention of

[[Page S4755]]

those who are currently detained in the American immigration system for 
whom we can find no country that would accept them, but with no 
pathway, no alternative to discretion for an immigration judge to 
choose to use technology to allow them out of detention while ensuring 
that they pose no threat to security for our communities. I think this 
takes away necessary opportunities for immigration judges to exercise 
discretion as to who belongs in detention for very long periods of time 
at great public expense. It is my hope my colleagues will act to defeat 
this amendment.
  In closing, in my view, it is critical for the future of our country 
that we address all of these issues now. I look forward to the passage 
of this legislation. When our laws are so inconsistent with our basic 
values, we should act without delay. When we have right in front of us 
an opportunity to reduce the deficit and to grow jobs, to make this 
country safer, stronger, fairer, and more prosperous, we should act in 
a bipartisan and progressive way.
  With that, I thank the Chair, I yield the floor, and I suggest the 
absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. VITTER. I would ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  Mr. VITTER. I would ask to go to regular order to the Leahy 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  The amendment is pending.
  Mr. VITTER. Great, Madam President.

                Amendment No. 1507 to Amendment No. 1183

  At this point, I would send a second-degree amendment to the desk to 
make that pending.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Louisiana [Mr. Vitter] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 1507 to amendment No. 1183.

  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To ensure that aliens convicted of crimes of violence against 
women and children are ineligible for registered provisional immigrant 

       On page 945, between lines 20 and 21, insert the following:
       ``(III) an offense, unless the applicant demonstrates to 
     the Secretary, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or 
     she is innocent of the offense, that he or she is the victim 
     of such offense, or that no offense occurred, that--
       ``(aa) is classified as a misdemeanor, in the convicting 
     jurisdiction; and
       ``(bb) involved--
       ``(AA) domestic violence) (as defined in section 40002(a) 
     of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 
     13925(a)); or
       ``(BB) child abuse and neglect (as defined in section 
     40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). Is there objection?
  Mr. LEAHY. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, what is the pending amendment?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Vitter amendment No. 1507 to the Leahy 
amendment No. 1183.
  Mr. REID. I raise a point of order against the Vitter amendment that 
it is improperly drafted to the Leahy amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The point of order is well taken. The 
amendment falls.
  Mr. REID. The Vitter amendment falls; is that right?
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I now ask unanimous consent that there be 
a period of debate only until 6:30 p.m., with the time equally divided 
between the two leaders or their designees, and that I be recognized at 
6:30 this evening.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, I don't know if there is any 
particular order. I see other colleagues on the floor. I am not in a 
particular rush. I would be happy for them to speak, but I wish to 
speak for 5 minutes as in morning business.
  I thank the Senators.
  I know the leadership--Senator Leahy and Senator Grassley--are 
working very hard to negotiate some very controversial and serious 
amendments to the underlying bill, and there have been negotiations 
going on all day on the immigration bill, and actually for weeks, both 
in the Judiciary Committee, where 17 Members serve, and then here on 
the Senate floor, where the rest of us have our only opportunity to 
engage and to be part of legislating a bill that is likely to pass. 
There is no guarantee, but it looks as though it is moving in that 
  The bill has been strengthened as it has gone on, and we have had a 
very vigorous debate. But I have come to the floor several times only 
to say this: There is a series of amendments that are completely 
uncontested. In other words, there is no opposition to them. The list 
is approximately, from what we can tell at this point, potentially 
around 30 to 35. It could be more, but there are clearly 30 to 35 
amendments that have been filed by Republicans, by Democrats, and some 
of these amendments are cosponsored by Republicans and Democrats, each 
  I have been talking about this for a couple of days because I think 
we have to get back to trusting each other and working together across 
party lines on major bills such as this and actually working to pass 
amendments that nobody objects to. Wouldn't that be amazing. We used to 
do that routinely through a practice called the managers' amendment. In 
the last couple of months or years everybody is so angry and aggravated 
at the end of the debate there is no managers' package. So I have 
decided to start early identifying amendments while the leadership is 
focused on the more controversial amendments both sides are still 
arguing about that are significantly meritorious. I have been focused 
on amendments that are very good ideas, and to which, to my knowledge, 
there is literally no opposition.
  I want to adjust the list and remove from the Landrieu list Collins 
amendment No. 1255. There has been some objection on our side to that. 
Heller No. 1234, there has been some objection to that. Now, this is 
not final. I am not managing the bill. I am just saying, to be honest, 
we have heard objections as to these two.
  There are additional amendments that come to our attention that may 
not have any opposition that I may want to add to this list. One is 
Toomey No. 1236 which clarifies that personnel, infrastructure, and 
technology used in the comprehensive border security strategy is 
procured through existing or new programs. It is a clarification to the 
underlying bill. I don't think anyone objects to that.
  Senator Grassley has an amendment No. 1306 that he is well aware of 
that authorizes the Attorney General to appoint counsel to represent an 
unaccompanied alien child with serious mental disabilities. I most 
certainly would support that. He and I have worked together on many 
pieces of child welfare legislation. There is no one opposing that 
  Johanns amendment No. 1345 requires CBO to report on revenues and 
costs generated by the bill and requires the DHS Secretary to generally 
adjust fees under the bill to cover costs that are not fully offset. As 
the cosponsors of this bill have said, this bill will not cost 
taxpayers any money. It is offset by fees. This amendment is simply 
clarifying that statement. It would be a good amendment. I think that 
is an example.
  Senator Coats' amendment No. 1372 requires, similar to Senator 
Grassley, to consult on children coming through with mental 
disabilities to make sure they have legal counsel. No one would object 
to that.
  Finally, Senator Flake, amendment No. 1472, requires the GAO to study 
the use of non-Federal roads by Customs and Border Protection.
  These amendments are not striking lightning anywhere, not upsetting

[[Page S4756]]

Western civilization. These are perfecting amendments that we came here 
to legislate on behalf of our constituents because there are people or 
groups or entities in our States that are following the big bill and 
the big controversies of it, but some people are actually following the 
specifics and want to make suggestions to make the bill better. So 
people who are going to vote against the bill can still vote against 
it. People who are going to vote for it can still vote for it. But we 
can make the bill better. That is what we are here to do.
  I can't, under the order, have any motions, but I will just bring it 
to the attention of the Senate that I am going to submit this to the 
Record. If there are any objections to those that I have talked about, 
please let us know.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, I rise today to talk about a couple 
amendments that I hope will make it on the Landrieu list. I think they 
are entirely consistent with what she has talked about; that is, 
amendments where there should not be any controversy, where we can come 
together as Republicans and Democrats and support them, in order to 
improve this underlying piece of legislation on immigration reform.
  I do think it is important for us to resolve this issue of an 
immigration system that is broken--a legal system that fails to 
actually uphold the laws within it.
  As the Presiding Officer knows, and I talked about it yesterday, I 
still have concerns about the legislation in a number of areas.
  One is the internal enforcement of the legislation, particularly with 
regard to the workplace. I think the magnet of work that encourages 
illegal immigration can be addressed through a stronger and more 
comprehensive E-Verify system, and we plan to offer an amendment to 
that effect, and will work with both sides of the aisle.
  I also have concerns about Federal benefits going to noncitizens. I 
know that Senator Hatch has been working diligently on that issue as 
have Senator Rubio and others, and I am hopeful that we will be able to 
work something out to address that issue.
  Border security, of course, is an issue which we have talked a lot 
about today. It is important, but the provisions concerning it are not 
sufficient, in my view.
  Finally, I do have concerns about the eligibility for legal status of 
convicted criminals. That is what I want to talk about today.
  Again, Senator Landrieu has talked about supporting a number of 
uncontested amendments that will improve the underlying bill. I think 
these two amendments that I am going to talk about today fit well into 
that category.
  These amendments would apply a uniform and fair standard to anyone 
convicted of a felony. I think that is, at a minimum, what we have to 
be doing. If you are convicted of a felony crime, there ought to be a 
fair standard applied, and you ought not to be able to obtain a legal 
status. They would also ensure that dangerous criminals who prey on the 
most vulnerable among us are not given legal status under this 
  Yesterday I talked in general terms about what these amendments would 
accomplish. One problem I identified is that the underlying bill 
requires an applicant for legal status to have served at least 1 year 
in prison in order to make that person ineligible, regardless of the 
crime, even if the crime they committed was a felony.
  I think it is also important to understand the kinds of criminal 
convictions that, under the current bill before us, would not prevent 
someone from beginning the process of becoming a citizen, so I am going 
to give a couple examples. These are the kinds of incidents that we see 
on the nightly news and that fill us with disgust and outrage. They are 
not hypothetical:
  A man convicted of felony child abuse for beating his children ages 6 
and 8 with a riding crop, shooting them with BB guns and bottle 
rockets, and choking and burning them with cigarettes; a woman 
convicted of aggravated child abuse for giving alcohol to an 8-pound, 
7-week-old infant to the point that its blood alcohol level was more 
than four times the legal limit for an adult; a man convicted of felony 
domestic violence when he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend, 
choked her, pulled out her hair, and beat her to keep her from getting 
  All of these criminals were convicted of felonies; none of them 
served the full year imprisonment required to be inadmissible under S. 
744, the underlying bill. So if somebody were convicted of these 
horrible crimes, they could still be admissible to go into legal status 
because they didn't serve that 1 year minimum.
  By the way, this can result from several different factors. One is 
the disposition of the sentencing judge. Another is the recommendation 
made by prosecutors, possibly for reasons that were valid such as to 
get more information out of these criminals. It could also be because 
of overcrowding in our State prisons, which, unfortunately, is endemic 
in this country.
  So I think making decisions based on time served is not the right way 
to go. It means that if two individuals are convicted of the same crime 
of violence--in this case domestic violence--but one serves 1 year in 
prison, and the other is sentenced to 6 months; the first person is 
barred from citizenship while the second would still be eligible. It is 
unfair, it is illogical, and it is not in keeping with the spirit of 
the legislation before us to treat all violent felons in the same 

  My very simple amendment would ensure that those convicted of 
domestic violence, stalking, or child abuse, who could have been 
sentenced to not less than 1 year imprisonment for the crime at the 
time of conviction, are not eligible for citizenship.
  My second amendment ensures that crimes against children involving 
moral turpitude--things like child abuse, child neglect, and 
contributing to the delinquency of a minor through sexual acts--are not 
subject to the discretionary authority of the Secretary of the 
Department of Homeland Security and the immigration judges with respect 
to removal, deportation, or admissibility of an individual. Crimes 
involving moral turpitude look past a conviction and the elements of a 
crime because these acts are conclusively against our values as a 
  This amendment would continue the standards we have always had 
enshrined in our immigration system. For that reason, just like the 
previous amendment, I believe, in a sense, that this is just a 
clarification that is necessary to make this underlying law work.
  A quirk in the bill before us would change that. It weakens the laws 
designed to protect our kids. That is the kind of reform we don't need.
  Discretionary authority has its place, I acknowledge that, but there 
is no excuse for committing acts of violence against children, and 
those who would do so are not worthy of citizenship. But under the 
legislation as currently written, someone who commits a felony 
assault--for example, a man who gets in a bar fight with another man--
would be deported, but a father who goes home from that same bar and 
beats his children or hits his wife would not necessarily face the same 
  I can't believe that this was the intention of this legislation or 
that anybody in this Chamber would find that acceptable.
  We want to make sure that this immigration bill only benefits those 
who are worthy of it. This bill is for the men and women who have come 
to this country to build a better life for themselves and their 
families, not those who would abuse them. It is for those who are 
willing to work hard, not for those who have served hard time. It seeks 
to open the door to American citizenship for those who share our values 
of respecting and protecting human life, not those who would commit 
crimes against the most vulnerable among us.
  The debate on immigration reform has been long and at some points it 
has been difficult. I saw that on the Senate floor earlier today. And 
many of the amendments that have been offered have been highly 
  Again, I will be offering some amendments on ensuring that there is 
proper enforcement of the legislation later in this process. But I 
would say that these amendments we have offered, which are before the 
Senate, amendments Nos. 1389 and 1390, are amendments that shouldn't be 
contentious. They are intended only to protect our children and

[[Page S4757]]

to ensure that the creation of a path to citizenship does not leave the 
victims of domestic violence as second-class citizens.
  There will be hard votes in the days to come. This is not one of 
them. I urge my colleagues to support both of these amendments.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Madam President, I appreciate the recognition, and I 
ensure my colleagues I will be brief. I appreciate very much the work 
of the Senator from Ohio on this bill.
  I wanted to come to the floor this afternoon to talk about the 
agreement that we have reached with Senators Corker and Hoeven that 
will significantly increase security measures taken at our borders.
  We have spent a lot of time talking about this issue over the last 
months with some proposals that would have simply gone too far by 
sacrificing the path to citizenship, perhaps completely, in some of 
these proposals.
  I thank Senator Corker, Senator Hoeven, and the other Senators who 
have been involved in this discussion for striking the balance in a 
different place and giving us a path to another bipartisan agreement 
that has required compromise--principled compromise--on all sides 
throughout this process.
  A number of us have said that this bill is not the bill each of us 
would have written left to our own devices. But the nature of this 
place, when it is working, is that it is a place where people make 
principled compromises and come together.
  I want to thank Chairman Leahy, who is on the floor today, for the 
process that he led in the Judiciary Committee to get us here. There 
were over 300 amendments considered. I think there were 141 amendments 
adopted by both Democrats and Republicans.
  This is the way Colorado expects the Senate to work--a State that is 
one-third Democratic, one-third Republican, and one-third Independent, 
and doesn't care very much about what labels people put on each other 
or themselves but would like the institutions in Washington to actually 
reflect their priorities and reflect the way they do business, which is 
by coming together and figuring out how to deal with principled 
  So while we have said this bill isn't the bill that I would have 
written alone, it is a good bill. It is a bill that has gotten stronger 
in the committee and stronger on the Senate floor. That is the way it 
is supposed to work.
  People at home know that doing big things means we are going to have 
to be willing to come together from time to time on compromised 
solutions, and that is what we are doing here. We are protecting the 
principles the eight of us laid out when we started this process, which 
includes ensuring a pathway to citizenship that is real and attainable, 
in addition to preventing future illegal immigration through, among 
other measures, securing our borders.
  Our agreement had additional support for securing the border even 
after the improvements we have seen over the last 10 years. But now 
what we have before us is what some have called a border surge plan 
that will significantly expand resources at the border beyond what is 
already in the bill.
  It will double the number of border agents--an agent, it has been 
estimated, every 1,000 feet on the border. It will significantly expand 
fencing. It will implement new technology and resources such as fixed 
towers, surveillance cameras, and aerial surveillance units. It will 
provide for full monitoring of our southern border.
  We have already dramatically increased security at the border. This 
bill will double the number of border agents on our southern border. 
And while these items will add more cost to the bill, we know such 
costs are offset by fees and fines on visas throughout our bill.
  Yesterday's news from the Congressional Budget Office that the bill 
as written would achieve nearly $900 billion in deficit savings over 
the next 20 years--coupled with the gigantic steps we are already 
taking at the border, along with the growing coalition of support for 
fixing our broken immigration system--is leaving opponents with less 
and less to undercut the bill. The case is simply slipping away for 
maintaining the status quo that is holding back our economy, keeping us 
less secure, and tearing apart families.
  At home, people actually think securing the border is a virtue. They 
support securing the border at home. People at home think a pathway to 
citizenship that resolves the question for the 11 million people 
working in this shadow economy, in this cash economy, is a virtue. 
People at home believe both of those things would be positive. In 
Washington, somehow it becomes a trade: border security for 
citizenship, depending on which side you are on.
  I want to say how grateful I am to the other Members of the Gang of 
8, particularly to Senator McCain, Senator Graham, Senator Rubio, and 
Senator Flake, my Republican colleagues, and to Senator Hoeven and 
Senator Corker for creating the opportunity for us to have a big 
bipartisan vote on this Senate floor next week; to be able to show the 
American people there is hope, that we can finally resolve not just the 
issue for the 11 million, but we can also begin as a country to have 
the talents of people from all over the world who want to contribute to 
our economy, who want to build their businesses here.
  I thank them for legislating in such a constructive way, so as we 
move forward, to have the chance for each of us to vote to reaffirm two 
essential principles that make our country so special: One, that we are 
committed to the rule of law and the other that we are a nation of 
  I yield the floor. I thank the Senator from Utah for his patience.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up an amendment, No. 1207.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I object.
  Mr. BENNET. I object.
  Madam President, I did not know that was the purpose of the Senator 
rising, so I will keep going on another topic.
  Through the Chair, does the Senator from Utah want to speak?
  Mr. LEE. Through the Chair, the Senator from Utah would like to 

                             The Farm Bill

  Mr. BENNET. Through the Chair, two sentences, which are: Our farmers 
and ranchers in Colorado have been suffering through the worst drought 
that we have had in a generation. This is the third year in a row of 
that drought. We have passed a bipartisan farm bill twice on the floor 
of the Senate, I think with over 70 votes. It is not perfect. There are 
things in it I would change. It is the only bipartisan deficit 
reduction, other than the immigration bill, that has been achieved by a 
committee in this Congress, either on the Senate side or House side--
the only one.
  We make important reforms to our conservation title. We end direct 
payments to producers. The Senate bill is not a perfect bill, but it is 
a good bill. Today the House of Representatives voted their own bill 
down. Farmers and ranchers in Colorado who are working hard to try to 
support their families, to create a condition where they can leave 
their farms and ranches to the next generation of Coloradans, are left 
to scratch their heads once again why Washington cannot get its work 
  I urge the House of Representatives to pass the bipartisan Senate 
farm bill so our farmers and ranchers can get the relief they need.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, will the Senator, before he yields the 
floor, yield for a question?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. BENNET. I yield.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I believe the Senator is aware of this. I 
ask, does he know when we passed the farm bill last year by a huge 
bipartisan margin, and again this year, that on the Senate committee 
are several former chairs of that committee in both parties as well as 
a former Secretary of Agriculture, and we came together as Republicans 
and Democrats to pass a bill that saves $23 to $28 billion? I believe 
the Senator is aware of that.
  Mr. BENNET. Through the Chair, I am aware of that. I appreciate the 
Senator from Vermont, the former chair of the committee and now the 
chair of the Judiciary Committee, reminding the

[[Page S4758]]

Chamber that the Senator from Vermont has been here longer than I have 
been, just being honest about it. But I wonder sometimes what it would 
have been like to serve in this body when it did not have a 10-percent 
approval rating. The chairman was here when the Congress did not have a 
10-percent approval rating. I don't know why anybody in the world would 
want to work in a place that had that level of approval.
  I came down to the floor once with a slide that tried to find other 
enterprises that had the kind of approval rating we have in this 
Congress. It is very hard to do. The IRS had a 40-percent approval 
rating. There is an actress who had a 15-percent approval rating. 
Eleven percent of the American people say they want the country to be a 
Communist country--I don't, by the way. I think Fidel Castro had a 5- 
or 6-percent approval rating.
  We have to start working together. That is what the American people 
want. That is what the people in my State want. They know we are not 
always going to agree on everything, but they expect us to actually get 
things done. One of the matters we have in front of us, this 
immigration bill, is an excellent example of Republicans and Democrats 
coming together to do their work.
  The chairman is exactly right. The Senator from Vermont is exactly 
right. We have differences on the Agriculture Committee sometimes, but 
they are not partisan differences. They are not differences between 
Republicans and Democrats. They are regional differences, and we find a 
way to hash those out. We were able to pass this bill on the floor with 
broad bipartisan support. That is what we should do with this 
immigration bill and that is what the House of Representatives should 
do with our Senate farm bill.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, I certainly share the concern of my friend 
and colleague from Colorado, and I thank him for his remarks. We do, as 
an institution, have an alarmingly low approval rating. I have even 
said we are slightly less popular in America than the Castro brothers 
and slightly more popular than the influenza virus, but the virus is 
gaining on us rapidly.
  There are many reasons for this. One thing is we are trying to gain 
too much control over too may aspects of the lives of the American 
people. There is so much of what the American people do that is 
governed, even micromanaged by the Federal Government and by what it 
does every single day. So much of their wealth has to go to pay their 
taxes to the Federal Government. So many of their communications are 
potentially susceptible to being monitored. So much of what they do is 
in one way or another restricted by the Federal Government.
  I would like to discuss amendment No. 1207, which would address one 
of the many implications of the fact that we have a Federal Government 
that is simply too big. It deals specifically with the ownership of 
Federal land.
  In my State, the State of Utah, the Federal Government owns about 
two-thirds of the land. That is two-thirds of the land that has to be 
managed by bureaucrats, bureaucrats ultimately working out of 
Washington, DC, who, for the most part, don't tend to share the same 
values or the same interests in land development as do people from my 
own State. That is land we cannot tax and land we therefore cannot 
access as a resource. It is land that, because it cannot be taxed, 
cannot provide tax revenue for local governments to fund fire 
departments, police services, and schools.
  It has other implications too when the Federal Government owns this 
much land. It is significant that about 40 percent of the land along 
our border is owned by the Federal Government. It is significant that 
in a lot of that stretch of border, Federal agents from the Bureau of 
Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, are not allowed to do their job. 
Even our own Federal officers cannot do that which they need to do, 
that which they have sworn an oath to do, at least not very 
effectively, for the simple reason that this is Federal land and there 
are a whole host of environmental restrictions that often accompany the 
use of Federal land or traversing on Federal land of any kind.
  This is foreign to many of my colleagues, many of whom come from 
States where there is very little Federal land. It is significant that 
in every State in the Rocky Mountains or west of the Rocky Mountains 
the Federal Government owns 15 percent or more of the land in those 
States, and in every State east of the Rocky Mountains the Federal 
Government owns less than 15 percent. In many cases it is much less 
than that--in some cases \1/2\ of 1 percent.
  I don't expect all of my colleagues to sympathize with this 
immediately, but I hope, in time, when they come to understand what we 
face in these States where there is so much Federal land ownership, 
they would be sympathetic to this amendment.
  The idea of this amendment is we have a problem. We have a problem 
when CBP agents cannot adequately enforce the law, cannot adequately 
enforce the border, protect it for national security purposes and 
immigration purposes and the like, simply because of the fact the land 
is federally owned and environmental restrictions get in their way and 
interfere with their ability to do that.
  The net result of this is not environmental protection because, as we 
have seen, in many of these areas, because coyotes and others who bring 
people illegally across the border are well aware of these 
restrictions, they will make sure illegal immigrants come across these 
very same tracts of land in order to get into the United States 
illegally. They leave in their wake, in some cases, a trail of 
destruction or at least a trail of litter as they drop things along the 
  This also, by the way, creates very dangerous conditions for many of 
these immigrants who are trying to cross very remote sections of land. 
It makes it difficult, not just for the agents but also for the 
immigrants alike. It is not good for anyone.
  This amendment tries to change that. This amendment would provide 
immediate access to land at the border for the purpose of maintaining 
or building roads, fences, also driving patrol vehicles, and for 
installing surveillance equipment. It is interesting. People are dying 
on the border as a result of the fact that immigrants very often will 
cross these very remote sections of land. They run out of water. They 
run out of food. They run out of other supplies. They get lost.
  It is scary. This would happen less if we were adequately enforcing 
our border. Again, border lands are littered with the trash left behind 
by these illegally crossing illegal aliens.
  This has not gone completely unnoticed in the past. In fact, this has 
been reported in the press. Just a few years ago, the Washington Post 
reported, November 16, 2009, the following:

       In a remarkably candid letter to members of Congress, 
     Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her 
     department could have to delay pursuits of illegal immigrants 
     while waiting for horses to be brought in so agents don't 
     trample protected lands, and warns that illegal immigrants 
     will increasingly make use of remote, protected areas to 
     avoid being caught.
       The documents also show the Interior Department has charged 
     the Homeland Security Department $10 million over the past 
     two years as a ``mitigation'' penalty to pay for damage to 
     public lands that agencies say has been caused by Border 
     Patrol agents chasing illegal immigrants.

  Every one of us in this body whom I am aware of has been saying we 
need to secure the border and that we do. I am here to reiterate that 
very point. If we are serious about that, as we claim to be, then we 
have a certain obligation to make sure our CBP agents, officers have 
the ability to enforce the law; that they are not fighting this battle 
with one hand or perhaps both hands tied behind their back; that we are 
not ordering them to make bricks without straw. We have to give them 
the ability to do their job and certainly not interfere with it.
  It is not just that we are placing a minor incidental burden on their 
ability to enforce the laws, we are talking about 40 percent of the 
land along the southern border that is federally owned. So we are 
dealing with an awful lot of land. Everyone knows if we enforce the 
border in some areas but make it impossible to enforce in others, we 
are going to drive the illegal immigration traffic toward those areas 
of the border where enforcement is not ongoing.
  That is what my amendment does. This has been debated and discussed 

[[Page S4759]]

the House of Representatives. My understanding is that in prior 
legislation the House of Representatives has even adopted this 
  I urge each and every one of my colleagues to take a close look at 
amendment No. 1207, which I hope to call up in the near future, and I 
hope we will pass this measure.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, first, let me thank my very good friend 
from Iowa who graciously allowed me to make a very short statement. I 
am concerned about this. Several of us have amendments we have been 
trying to get up for a long period of time. Frankly, I do not know what 
the current status of the amendments and the bill are right now, 
whether we will be getting to some votes sooner or later. I have no way 
of knowing. But I have one amendment that is one I thought would be so 
acceptable that there would not be any opposition to it. Let me just 
briefly tell you what it is.
  My amendment addresses the 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 
Zadvydas. This is one where the Court held--we all remember this--that 
immigrants admitted to the United States and then ordered removed could 
not be detained for more than 6 months.
  Four years later, the Supreme Court came along and extended the 
decision to people here illegally as well. That is what we are talking 
about right now. We are talking about illegals who come into this 
country. As a result, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security 
have no choice but to release thousands of criminal immigrants into our 
neighborhoods. The problem with these decisions is the criminal 
immigrants ordered to be removed cannot be deported back to their 
country if that country refuses to accept them back.

  Let's stop and think about that. I certainly could not criticize a 
country for not taking back a hardened criminal into their country, and 
that is what happens. More importantly, these decisions have a serious 
impact on public safety, as recent cases have illustrated.
  Six years ago a Vietnamese immigrant was ordered to be deported after 
serving time in prison for armed robbery and assault. He was never 
removed because the Supreme Court decision handicapped our authorities. 
Our immigration officials couldn't deport him without the cooperation 
of the Vietnamese Government, which they didn't get. The Vietnamese 
Government said, we don't want this guy back. As a result, his 
deportation was never processed.
  This same immigrant, Binh Thai Luc, is suspected of killing five 
people in a San Francisco home in March of 2012.
  The story of Qian Wu puts this situation in perspective. Qian Wu felt 
a little safer after the man who had stalked, choked, punched her, and 
pointed a knife at her was locked up and ordered to be removed from the 
country. She naturally felt better at that time because the guy was 
behind lock and key and then was going to be ordered back to his 
country. The man, Huang Chen, was a Chinese citizen who had illegally 
entered the United States. As has been the case at least 8,000 times in 
the last 4 years, Mr. Chen's home country refused to let its violent 
criminal return. So here is a guy who is a violent criminal, ordered to 
be sent back to his country, but his country didn't want him.
  Handcuffed by the Supreme Court decision, immigration officials 
released Mr. Chen back into the community when they had no place else 
to send him. They released the guy. As anyone can imagine, this story 
does not have a happy ending. Upon his release in 2010, Huang Chen 
murdered Qian Wu. He murdered her. She suspected this was going to 
happen. As we can see, this is a real problem with serious 
consequences, and there are others like these people out there.
  According to statistics provided by the Department of Homeland 
Security, there are many countries that are not cooperating or take 
longer to repatriate their nationals. Countries such as Iran, Pakistan, 
China, Somalia, and Liberia are all on that list. The Supreme Court, in 
making their decision, said Congress should clarify the law. I have an 
amendment that clarifies the law by creating a framework that allows 
immigration officials to detain dangerous criminals and immigrants such 
as Binh Thai Luc and Huang Chen.
  This is specifically what this amendment does: Immigrants can be 
detained beyond 6 months if they are under orders of removal but cannot 
be deported due to the country's unwillingness to accept them back into 
their country.
  There are several conditions that have to be made, including if the 
release would threaten national security--keep in mind that a 
determination has been made that they threaten national security, 
threaten the safety of the community, and the alien either is an 
aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.
  I understand the ACLU is opposed to this, and that should make 
everyone excited about getting this passed. By the way, we are going to 
hear people say there are no conditions. There are a lot of safeties 
built into this.
  For example, in order for the Secretary to keep someone past 6 
months, they will have to certify every 6 months that this is not 
indefinite and certify the threat is still there. The alien still has 
access to our Federal courts. So this would be in effect only under the 
condition of the person being a threat to the safety of the community 
and that person must have also committed a crime of violence or 
aggravated felony.
  I cannot imagine that anyone would object to this and as a result 
potentially put all of these people in danger. We have already had some 
deaths. I think it is very reasonable that we go ahead and take care of 
some of these things that would be acceptable.
  So for that reason, I ask unanimous consent that amendment No. 1203 
be brought before us for its immediate consideration.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cowan). Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I am not going to make a unanimous 
consent request. I want to speak about a piece of legislation I hope to 
introduce before we finish the bill on immigration.
  This is a Grassley-Kirk amendment numbered 1299, and I am having a 
difficult time getting it put in place so we can get it brought up. I 
believe there is a lack of understanding of what my amendment does. I 
want to take this time to explain it so everyone can fully understand 
it and get it to a rollcall vote.
  I thank Senator Kirk for joining me on this amendment as a cosponsor.
  This amendment would address language in the bill that creates a 
convoluted and ineffective process for determining whether a foreign 
national in a street gang should be deemed inadmissible or deported. I 
offered a similar amendment in committee because I believe this to be 
such a dangerous loophole that requires closing.
  My amendment even had the support of two Members of the Group of 8. 
Specifically, in order to deny entry or remove a gang member, section 
3701 of the bill requires the Department of Homeland Security prove a 
foreign national: one, has a prior Federal felony conviction for drug 
trafficking or violent crime; two, has knowledge that the gang is 
continuing to commit crimes; and three, has acted in furtherance of 
gang activity.
  Even if all of these provisions could be proven under the bill, the 
Secretary could still issue a waiver. That is just one of many 
opportunities for the Secretary of Homeland Security to forget about 
what the legislation says. As such, the proposed process is limited 
only to criminal gang members with prior Federal drug trafficking and 
Federal violent crime convictions and does not--can you believe this--
include State convictions such as rape and murder.
  The trick here is that while the bill wants everyone to believe there 
is a strong provision, foreign nationals who have Federal felony drug 
convictions or violent crime convictions are already subject to 
deportation if they are already here or denied entry as being 
inadmissible. So the gang provision written in this bill adds nothing 
to current law and obviously will not be used. It is, at best, a feel-
good measure to say we are being tough on criminal gangs while doing 
nothing to remove or deny entry to criminal gang members.

[[Page S4760]]

It is easier to prove someone is a convicted drug trafficker than both 
a drug trafficker and a gang member. So as currently written, why would 
this provision ever be used? Simply put, it would not be used.
  My amendment would strike this do-nothing provision and issue a new, 
clear, simple standard to address the problem of gang members. My 
amendment would strike this do-nothing provision and create a process 
to address criminal gang members where the Secretary of Homeland 
Security must prove: one, criminal street gang membership; and two, 
that the person is a danger to the community. Once the Secretary proves 
these two things, the burden then shifts, as it should, to the foreign 
national to prove that either he is not dangerous, not in a street 
gang, or that he did not know the group was a street gang. It is 
straightforward and will help remove dangerous criminal gang members.
  My amendment also eliminates the possibility of a waiver. Under my 
amendment, the vast majority of people here illegally who could be 
excluded based upon criminal gang membership would be able to appeal 
that determination to an immigration judge. Even if they are found to 
be a gang member, if they can show they are not a danger to society, 
they can gain status. This gives the Secretary--in the event they 
appeal to an immigration judge--the ability to make these two 
determinations before denying entry or starting deportation. It is a 
real solution to dangerous criminal gang members who are either here in 
the country now seeking legal status or who are attempting to enter 
from abroad.
  I urge my colleagues to look at this amendment and hopefully get it 
on the list of issues we can discuss and vote on before we have final 
  To summarize, the current bill is simply a feel-good measure that has 
very limited impact. It will rarely be used because it is written in a 
way with many loopholes. And, even if it is, the Secretary can waive 
the deportation.
  To a greater extent, we ought to be emphasizing how many waivers 
there are in this bill, which give too much delegation to the 
Secretary. We ought to be legislating more in these areas and making 
more determinations here instead of leaving it up to the Secretary. A 
vote against my amendment is a vote against commonsense legislation to 
address criminal gang members.
  I am sure somebody is going to argue this might be too high of a 
burden. My amendment simply requires the Secretary make the initial 
determination for purposes of admissibility. Under my amendment, the 
vast majority of people here illegally who could be excluded based upon 
criminal gang membership would be able to appeal that determination to 
an immigration judge. So there is review of these decisions to deny 
status if the Secretary believes the individual to be a gang member.
  Criminal street gangs, as everyone knows, are dangerous. They survive 
by robbing their community of safety. They are involved in drug 
trafficking, human trafficking, and prostitution. The way the bill 
deals with criminal gang members would allow gang members to simply say 
they are no longer a gang member, with no further determination, and 
they would be able to gain admission.
  In reality, it is hard to walk away from a gang, and some will claim 
they did gain status. The only way to prevent gang members from gaming 
the system is through my amendment. It provides the Secretary and 
immigration judges the discretion they need. Even if they are a gang 
member, if they can show they are not a danger to society, they can 
gain status. This is a reasonable standard that allows the alien to 
argue they are not a gang member and/or dangerous.
  There is a precedent in the immigration code related to group 
membership as a bar: namely, membership or association with a terrorist 
organization. Criminal gangs--although not legally terrorist 
organizations--can be just as dangerous as terrorists. Why would we not 
want to give the Secretary this authority?
  This bill provides sweeping waiver authority and discretion to the 
Secretary to make all sorts of decisions. I don't know why the sponsors 
would oppose discretion to the Secretary to deny gang member admission. 
A vote against this amendment--if it is brought up--is a vote to allow 
dangerous gang members a path into our country.
  Some may argue that it should be tied to some sort of criminal 
conviction. Well, criminal gang members are not often convicted of a 
crime of gang membership. In fact, the Federal crime of being a gang 
member is almost never used. To only limit gang member restrictions to 
those convicted would be a huge loophole given the difficulty of 
prosecuting someone for simply gang membership. The underlying bill 
doesn't even consider State-level convictions for gang membership as my 
amendment would.
  Simply put, my amendment will help prevent gang members from getting 
into this country, and the bill will not. I hope we can get this 
amendment on the list to be voted upon.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I yield to the distinguished Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, I rise to speak on my amendment No. 1504, 
cosponsored by Senators Murray, Murkowski, Boxer, Gillibrand, Cantwell, 
Stabenow, Klobuchar, Warren, Baldwin, Mikulski, Landrieu, Shaheen, and 
Leahy. I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I object.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, the immigration bill clearly and 
inadvertently disadvantages women who are trying to immigrate to the 
United States. The bill, S. 744, reduces the opportunities for 
immigrants to come under the family-based green cards system.
  The new merit-based point system for employment green cards will 
significantly disadvantage women who want to come to this country, 
particularly unmarried women.
  Many women overseas do not have the same educational or career-
advancement opportunities available to men in those countries. This new 
merit-based system will prioritize green cards for immigrants with high 
levels of education or experience. By favoring these immigrants, the 
bill in effect cements into U.S. immigration law unfairness against 
women. That is not the way to go.
  The bill inadvertently restricts the opportunities available to women 
across the globe. Currently, approximately 70 percent of immigrant 
women come to this country through the family-based system. Employment-
based visas favor men over women by nearly a 4-to-1 margin as they 
place a premium on male-dominated fields such as engineering and 
computer science. But across the globe women do not have the same 
educational or career opportunities as men.
  Immigrant women make many contributions and positive impacts to 
communities. Economically, women are increasingly the primary 
breadwinners in immigrant families. They often bring additional income, 
making it more likely for the family to open small businesses and 
purchase homes. In addition, women provide stability and permanent 
roots, as they are more likely to follow through on the citizenship 
application process for themselves and their families.
  Ensuring that women have an equal opportunity to come here is not an 
abstract policy cause to me. When I was a young girl, my mother brought 
my brothers and me to this country in order to escape an abusive 
marriage. My life would be completely different if my mother wasn't 
able to take on that courageous journey. I want women like her--women 
like my mother--who don't have the opportunities to succeed in their 
own countries to be able to build a better life for themselves here.
  The Hirono-Murray-Murkowski amendment evens the playing field for 
women. This amendment would establish a tier 3 merit-based point system

[[Page S4761]]

that would provide a fair opportunity for women to compete for merit-
based green cards. Complementary to the high-skilled tier 1 and lower 
skilled tier 2, the new tier 3 would include professions commonly held 
by women so as not to limit women's opportunities for economic-focused 
immigration to this country. This system would provide 30,000 tier 3 
visas and would not reduce the visas available in the other two merit-
based tiers, while maintaining the overall cap on merit-based visas.
  This amendment is supported by We Belong Together: Women for Common-
Sense Immigration Reform; the Asian-American Justice Center; the 
National Domestic Workers Association; the Leadership Conference on 
Civil and Human Rights; Church World Service; Family Values at Work; 
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum; MomsRising; National 
Immigration Law Center; American Immigration Lawyers Association; 
National Organization for Women; Center for Community Change; Lutheran 
Immigration and Refugee Services; the Episcopal Church; Unitarian 
Universalist Association; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; 
Catholic Charities USA; Caring Across Generations; Coalition for Humane 
Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles; American Federation of State, County, 
and Municipal Employees; Sisters of Mercy; Asian Pacific American Labor 
Alliance; AFL-CIO; the International Union, United Automobile, 
Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the National 
Council of La Raza; the United Methodist Church; National Queer Asian 
Pacific Islander Alliance; Hispanic Federation; Service Employees 
International Union; Immigration Equality Action Fund; Out4Immigration; 
Sojourners; and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO.
  I believe our amendment would address the disparities for women in 
the new merit-based system, and the dozens of organizations I mentioned 
believe likewise.
  Let's work together to improve the new merit-based immigration system 
and make this bill better for women.
  I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
  Mr. LEAHY. Would the Senator withhold, please.
  Ms. HIRONO. Yes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I wish to speak about the immigration bill 
as we approach the end of this week because we are obviously hearing 
from many people outside of the building who are concerned about this 
issue, and I think it is important to make a few things clear as we 
head into next week and what I hope will be final passage of this 
  First, let me describe how this program works because immigration is 
complicated. It can sometimes even be confusing. We throw around these 
terms here, and we assume everybody understands what they mean, so I 
want to explain. The way I will explain it is how this bill will work 
if we pass the amendment filed by Senators Hoeven and Corker, which I 
believe will pass and should pass with significant bipartisan support.
  First, let's describe the problem we have today. No. 1, we have a 
broken legal immigration system. We have a system of legal immigration. 
About 1 million people a year come here legally. But the system is 
broken because it is designed, for example, solely based on primarily 
family reunification, which, by the way, is how my parents came in 
1956. The problem is that the world has changed, and as a result, 
because we live in a global economy where we are competing for talent 
and not just workforce, we need to have more of a merit-based and 
career-based immigration system, and this bill would move us in that 
  We have a broken legal immigration system, by the way, because it is 
cumbersome and complicated and bureaucratic. One really has to lawyer 
up to legally immigrate to the United States, especially in certain 
  If we look at the agriculture sector, there is no reliable, 
sustainable way for agriculture to get foreign labor. By and large, 
while there are Americans who will do labor in the agriculture 
industry, there is a significant shortage of Americans who will work in 
the agriculture industry. And we don't have a program for agriculture 
that works for people to come legally here, but the jobs are there, so 
people are coming illegally.
  So we have a broken legal immigration system, and that has to be 
fixed and modernized, and this bill does that. That is why we haven't 
heard a lot of discussion about it.
  The second problem we have is that our immigration laws are only as 
good as our ability to enforce those laws. If we want to get to the 
heart of the problem we are facing in terms of opposition to the bill, 
it is because in the past, both Republicans and Democrats have promised 
to enforce the immigration laws and then have refused or have been 
unable to do it. Part of it has just been an unwillingness, to be 
  We have talked about 1986 and 2006 and other efforts. In the past, 
people have been told we are going to enforce the immigration laws, and 
then we don't do it. As time goes on, the problem gets bigger and 
people say: We have been told this before, and we are not going to do 
it again. That really is standing in the way of more support for this 
  Another problem we have is the systems we use to enforce the law are 
broken. For example, on the border there are sectors that have 
dramatically improved, and so from that experience we have learned what 
works, but there are sectors that have actually gotten worse or have 
not improved significantly. So to say the entire southern border has 
been secured is not true, and we really shouldn't say that to 
Americans, especially those living near that border who understand that 
is not true.
  We also have a problem with visa overstays. What that means is people 
come into the United States legally on a tourist visa, and then when it 
expires they don't leave. So they came in legally--they didn't jump a 
fence or cross the border--but then they get here and they stay. That 
is a visa overstay. That is 40 percent of our problem. We don't have a 
system to track that. Even though it is mandated by law, we do not have 
a system to track that. We track people when they come in, but we don't 
track them when they leave in real-time, so we don't have a running 
tally of who has overstayed their visas, leading to 40 percent of our 
illegal immigration problem.
  The third problem we have is the magnet that brings people here. I am 
not saying every single person who comes here illegally is coming 
looking for jobs and opportunity, but I am saying the enormous majority 
of people who come here are coming because they believe there is a job 
in the United States for them so they can feed their families. That is 
a magnet. We have jobs and we have people willing to do those jobs, and 
those two things are going to meet. They are going to come. The choice 
we have is, do they come through a legal process that is organized and 
secure or do they come in a chaotic way that contributes to illegal 
immigration? And that is how they are coming now.
  So that is why in this bill we have an entry-exit tracking system but 
also have something called E-Verify, which simply means that 
employers--any business, any company, anyone who hires someone, when 
they hire them, they have to ask their name. The employee has to 
produce their identification. The employer runs that name through the 
Internet on a system called E-Verify, and it will confirm whether that 
person is legally here. If they are hired after that person says they 
are illegally here, we double and sometimes even triple the penalties 
for employers who do that.
  So those are important measures this bill takes. And that is the 
second problem we face.
  The third problem we face is even more fundamental. As we speak, as I 
stand here before my colleagues today, estimates are there are upwards 
of 11 million human beings living in these United States who are here 
illegally. They have overstayed visas, they were brought as children, 
they crossed the border, they are here. They don't qualify for welfare, 
they don't qualify for any Federal benefits, but they are here. They 
are here and they are working. They are working for cash. They are 
working under someone else's identification, but they are here. The 
vast majority of them have been here for longer than a decade. They are 

[[Page S4762]]

  Let me tell my colleagues, that is not good for them because when a 
person doesn't have documents, they are unprotected. When a person is 
here illegally, that person can be exploited, and that happens. But it 
is also not good for the country. It is not good for this country to 
have that many people. We don't know who they are. They are not paying 
taxes. They are working, but they are not paying taxes. We have no 
idea--the vast majority of them are not criminals, but a handful of 
them are, and we don't know where they live, who they are, how long 
they have been here. We know very little about them. That is not good 
for our country either. We have to deal with that.
  That is my point. If we don't do anything--let's say this bill fails 
or let's say we pass it and the House doesn't do it or let's say we 
decide not to do anything at all on immigration. All of those things I 
just described stay in place. If we don't do anything, the border stays 
the way it is, we still don't have E-Verify, we still don't have an 
entry-exit tracking system, and we don't have any idea who the 11 
million people are, and we still don't have an immigration system that 
works. That is what happens if we do nothing.
  That is why I got involved in this issue. It isn't politics, and I 
disagree with my colleagues who have said this is about politics. This 
is not about saving the Republican Party or anybody else. This is about 
correcting something that is hurting the United States of America.
  I can certainly say it is not about my personal politics because this 
is an issue that makes a lot of people unhappy, a lot of people who 
have supported me and support me now, people whom I agree with on every 
other issue. If you pull out a list of issues facing this country, I 
agree with them on every other issue, but they disagree with me on this 
issue, and I respect and understand why. They are frustrated because 
they have been told in the past that this is going to get fixed, and it 
hasn't, because they feel and see and know that this is the most 
generous country in the world on immigration, and it has been taken 
advantage of and they are frustrated by it.
  I have seen some describe opponents of immigration reform as haters 
and anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration. That is just not true. It is 
not true.

  These are people who are just frustrated that the laws have not been 
followed and they do not want to reward it. I honestly do understand 
that. What I would say to them is, look, I get it. I do. I do not like 
this either.
  I do not like the fact that we have 11 million people here illegally. 
I do not like the fact that people have ignored our laws and crossed 
our borders or overstayed visas. I do not like it either. But that is 
what we are going to get stuck with if we do not do anything about it. 
That is what this bill tries to do. Let me explain how it does it.
  First we outlined--because when we filed this bill, what was said 
was, Department of Homeland Security, here is $6.5 billion. Go out and 
design a border fence plan and a border plan. Submit it to Congress. 
Issue a letter of commencement. And then you can begin the process of 
identifying these people who are here illegally. That was our bill.
  Then I went around my State, sometimes the country--and my colleagues 
did as well--and people told us: Look, we don't trust the Department of 
Homeland Security. These people say the border is already secure, and 
you are going to tell them to design a plan?
  I thought that was a good point. So now we have an amendment before 
us by Senator Hoeven and Senator Corker that actually defines the plan. 
Let me describe this new plan because I think it is the most 
substantial border security plan we have ever had before any body of 
  No. 1, it does not say you can, it does not say you should, it says 
you must have universal E-Verify for every business in America, and you 
have to wrap that up within 4 years. It starts with the big businesses, 
until it gets to ag and the small businesses. The reason why you need 3 
to 4 years is because for a really small business, it is going to take 
them time to buy the technology to do this. That is No. 1.
  No. 2, it says you have to finish the entry-exit tracking system. 
After this bill was amended in committee, it says that eventually the 
30 major international airports in this country will have it 
biometrically--this entry-exit tracking system.
  The third thing it says is that you have to deploy upwards of $3 
billion in technology. This is technology that was not around in 1986. 
This is technology that was not around in 2006.
  Let me describe that technology: radar, sensors on the ground, night 
vision goggles, motion detectors, even unarmed drones--things that 
allow you to see people, and even if they get past you at the first 
stop on the border, you can follow them and then apprehend them a few 
miles down the road. This technology did not used to exist.
  We go further than that in the amendment. We do not just say you have 
to deploy this technology, we tell you where you have to deploy it. We 
do not even leave that to DHS. And those ideas did not come from 
Senators, they came from members of the Border Patrol on the 
frontlines. They have told us: Here is where we need this stuff. So in 
a level of detail unprecedented in the history of this body, we 
actually say: 50 goggles in this sector, 100 radar in this sector. That 
is the third thing this bill requires you to do.
  The fourth thing it requires you to do is to double the size of the 
Border Patrol, adding 20,000 new border agents. This is a dramatic 
increase in the number of people because cameras and sensors are great, 
but if you do not have people to actually do the apprehension, it does 
not work.
  The last thing it says is that you have to complete this fencing. 
That includes, where it is practical, where it is possible, getting rid 
of these vehicle barriers because one of the things they did with the 
fencing is they would put up some barrier on the road and say that is a 
fence. The problem is that may keep a vehicle out, but it does not keep 
somebody from climbing over it. We actually say that, where it is 
possible, where the terrain allows it--there are places where the 
terrain does not let you build a fence, but where the terrain allows 
it, you have to put a fence there. In some places the fence is doubled, 
especially in urban areas. It has been very successful in San Diego.
  These are five things we require. We do not say you can, you might--
you must. You must do these five things before anyone who has violated 
our immigration laws can even apply for permanent legal residency in 
the United States of America--10 years from now, by the way.
  One of the criticisms people have said is that this bill is 
legalization first. It is not that simple. Real legalization is 
permanent legalization; it is what we call a green card. You have to 
have a green card before you can apply to become a citizen of the 
United States.
  Under this bill, illegal immigrants cannot get a green card, cannot 
even apply for a green card until 10 years have passed and these five 
things I have just described--E-Verify, entry-exist tracking system, 
full technology implementation, 20,000 new border agents, finishing the 
fence--all five of those things have to happen.
  People say: Well, why are you linking the two things?
  Here is the answer: Because of the problems we had in the past. The 
only way we can make sure that a future President or a future Congress 
does not go back on these promises is if we tie it to something we know 
people want. That is why they are linked.
  So no one who is here illegally--they cannot apply for that permanent 
residency until these five things happen, and that is the trigger that 
is going to guarantee that this happens.
  Their argument is, though, legalization first because you are 
allowing the people who are here illegally now to stay in the meantime.
  Let me tell you the problem with that issue. The problem with that 
issue--first of all, we are talking about 11 million people who are 
already here. They are already here. We are not talking about 11 
million new people. We are not talking about people who are outside the 
country who might come in in the meantime. We are talking about people 
who are already here. More than half of them have been here longer than 
a decade, so that means the chances are they have children who are U.S. 
citizens. They are definitely working because somehow they are eating. 
They do not qualify for Federal benefits because--we do not even know 
who they are. OK. They are already here. You have to do something about 
them in the meantime.

[[Page S4763]]

  You cannot build a fence and you cannot hire 20,000 border agents in 
6 weeks. It takes a little bit of time. It does not take 10 years, but 
it takes some time to do that. So here is what we do. We say: If you 
are illegally here and you have been here for--you could not have come 
last week or even last year--if you have been here for a while and you 
are illegally here, you have to come forward. You are going to have to 
pass a national security background check. You are going to have to 
pass a criminal background check. You are going to have to pay a fine 
because you broke the law. You are going to have to start paying taxes 
and working. And the only thing you get--to the extent you get 
something, the only thing you get is you get a work permit that allows 
you to do three things: work, travel, and pay taxes. When you get this 
work permit, you do not qualify for food stamps, you do not qualify for 
welfare, you do not qualify for ObamaCare subsidies, you do not qualify 
for any of these things.

  People may say: Well, we are rewarding them. But I want people to 
think about this for a second. They are already here. They are already 
working. We are not going to round up and deport 11 million people, so 
it is basically de facto amnesty. The only thing that is going to 
change in their lives is they are going to start paying taxes, they are 
going to have to pay a fine, and we are going to know who they are.
  By the way, this work permit is not permanent. It expires every 6 
years. So if you come forward and get this work permit, which is 
temporary, in 6 years you have to go back and apply for it again. If it 
is not renewed because you have broken a condition, you are illegally 
here, but now we know who you are, and you will not be able to find a 
job because of E-Verify. And when you go back and renew it after 6 
years, you are going to have to pass another background check, pay 
another fine, pay another application fee, and you are going to have to 
prove that in the previous 6 years you have been here working and 
paying taxes. You are going to have to prove that, that you are self-
sustaining, that you are not dependent. This whole time, you do not 
qualify to apply for permanent status, not to mention citizenship.
  After 10 years have gone by in this status--not 10 years after the 
passage of the bill, 10 years after you, the applicant, have been in 
this status--then--and only if those five things I talked about--E-
Verify, entry-exit tracking system, the technology plan, the border 
fence, and the 20,000 new agents--only if those five things have 
happened, then you can apply for a green card through the green card 
  That is another mistake people are making. They think, all right, 10 
years is here, you made the five conditions, they are going to hand you 
a green card. Not true. You can apply for it. It is not awarded to you.
  Now, is this perfect? I do not think this problem has a perfect 
solution. But I can tell you, if we do not do anything--let's suppose 
immigration reform fails. Suppose we do nothing. We are still going to 
have the 11 million people here. We are still not going to know who 
they are. They are still not going to be paying taxes. They still will 
not have undergone a background check. And you will not have E-Verify. 
You will not have border security. You will not have the agents. You 
will not have the technology. You will not have the entry-exit tracking 
system. You will not have any of that.
  Life is about choices. Legislating is about choices. And the choice 
cannot be between what you wish things were like and this bill. The 
choice is between the way things are and this bill--or some alternative 
to it. Again, if we defeat it, then we are stuck with what we have. And 
what we have is a disaster. It is a disaster.
  I want to make clear another point. People have said: Boy, all this 
border security is overkill and so much stuff. Look, the United States 
is a special country. That is why people want to come here. A million 
people a year come here legally--1 million people a year. There is no 
other country in the world that comes close to that. Do you understand 
what that means? Other countries do not want people coming or people do 
not want to go. When is the last time you heard of a boatload of 
American refugees arriving on the shores of another country? People 
want to come here. We understand that. In fact, this country is so 
special that there are people who are willing to risk their lives to 
come here and willing to come illegally to come here. We are 
compassionate. Our heart breaks when we hear stories about that.
  But I also have to remind people that we are also a sovereign 
country. Every country in the world secures their border or tries to. 
Many of the countries that people come here from secure their border--
sometimes viciously. We are not advocating that. We have a right as a 
sovereign country to secure our border. We have a right to do that. 
While we are compassionate, no one has a right to come here illegally.
  So I will close by saying that I know this is a tough issue. I do. I 
really do. I understand that on the one side there are the human 
stories of people you have met. And this issue really changes when you 
meet somebody. It is one thing to read about 11 million people who are 
here illegally; it is another thing to meet one of them: a father, a 
mother, a son, or a daughter, someone whom you know as a human being 
and you know about their hopes and dreams and how much they are 
struggling. It is one thing to know about that. It changes your 
  But I also understand the frustration people have--that they have 
heard all these promises before, that people have violated our laws, 
they have ignored them, and that is wrong, and we should not reward 
that. I do understand that. But ultimately I ran for the Senate because 
I wanted to make a difference. I know I could have just stayed back on 
this issue and come to the floor and--I am not making any criticism of 
anybody else, but that I could have just come to the floor and offered 
up what I would have done instead and be critical of efforts that 
others were making. That was an option for me, but I could not stand 
it. I could not stand to see how this problem is hurting our country 
and leaving it the way it is. How is this good for us?
  We have to do something about this. That is what we are trying to do. 
With this new amendment, we will do more for border security than 
anyone has ever tried to do before. All I would ask my colleagues and 
members of the public to do is to think about that. Think about it. 
What do you want? Do you want things to stay the way they are or do you 
want to try to fix it? I will just say to you, our country desperately 
needs to fix it.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                               Tax Reform

  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, just outside this Chamber is a bust of 
President Theodore Roosevelt. When I walk past it, I am often reminded 
of one of my favorite T.R. quotes, which is, ``Far and away the best 
prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth 
  For the past 3 years, I have been working with my colleagues on the 
Senate Finance Committee on comprehensive tax reform. It has been hard 
work, but it has certainly been work worth doing. We have had more than 
30 hearings. We have heard from hundreds of experts about how tax 
reform can simplify the system for families, help businesses innovate, 
and make the U.S. more competitive.
  Our efforts have been ramping up over the past several weeks, and we 
are starting to build momentum. Senator Hatch and I have been working 
very closely with members of the Finance Committee on a series of 10 
discussion papers, examining key aspects of the Tax Code--each of the 
discussion papers on a different aspect of the Code. We began back in 
March, with a discussion on simplifying the system for families and 
  There have been nine others. We then met as a full committee every 
week the Senate has been in session to go through different topics, 
presenting a range of options, and sitting around a table asking 
questions of staff, what about this and that, and asking questions of 
each other. It is a very informative process that is bringing us even 
closer together, establishing trust and confidence in what we are doing 
and learning a lot more about what the code is and is not.

[[Page S4764]]

  We concluded these meetings this morning with a discussion on non-
income tax issues; for example, payroll taxes and excise taxes. That is 
not income taxes. The meetings have been very beneficial. We are 
building trust and getting everyone's buy-in. I also speak weekly with 
the Treasury Secretary about tax reform, getting his ideas and what 
seems to make sense for him and for the administration.
  I have been working for quite some time with my counterpart in the 
House, Chairman David Camp. In fact, we have been meeting weekly, 
Chairman Camp and I, face to face for more than a year now discussing 
matters that apply to the Finance Committee, as well as Ways and Means, 
but especially tax reform. He is working just as hard on his side in 
the other body.
  Our shared goal is to make the code more simple, to make it more fair 
for families to spark a more prosperous economy. I believe very 
strongly if we can simplify the code, as well as other measures that 
need to be taken, people will feel better about it. They will not think 
the other guy has a big loophole that he cannot take advantage of. It 
will help people feel better about themselves. It will certainly help 
small businesses because the code is so complex for small business. I 
think that in and of itself will help create some innovation, some 
entrepreneurship and energy for more jobs.
  Together, Chairman Camp and I have also recently launched a Web site. 
It is called The site will enable us to get even more 
ideas and to hear directly from the American people, not people in 
Washington, DC, but from around the country. People all around can tell 
us what they think. We want to know what people think, what they think 
the Nation's tax system should look like, how we can make families' 
lives easier, and how we can ensure a less burdensome Tax Code.
  We have received a lot of hits, if you will, to the Web site. Over 
30,000 so far, 10,000 submissions. That is ideas people have from every 
State in the Nation. People are overwhelmingly--I must tell you, if you 
were to categorize the character of the submissions, overwhelmingly 
they are calling for a much more simple code. People want the code a 
lot more simple. It is too complex.
  For example, a fellow named David from Redmond, WA, wrote:

       I'm a retired lawyer and I cannot prepare my own tax 


     because of the technical and incomprehensible language of the 
     code. I commend you and hope you are successful.

  That is just an example. Richard, from my hometown of Helena, MT, 
noted that the current Tax Code is outdated and does not work 
effectively or efficiently. He said, ``It needs to be simple, 
effective, and fair.''
  Again, another representative submission. I think Richard and David 
hit the nail on the head. Over and over, that is what we are hearing: 
simple, effective, and fair.
  Chairman Camp and I are going to be making a big push in the coming 
weeks to further engage our colleagues in Washington, as well as people 
all across America. How are we going to do that? Well, we are going to 
travel. We are going to travel to other cities, Chairman Camp and I 
together. We are going to travel outside of Washington, DC, where the 
real Americans reside. We are going to talk to individuals, we are 
going to talk to families, business owners, big and small, to hear 
directly what the people have in mind.
  Again, we are doing this because we want to hear directly from the 
American people, not just people in Washington, DC. We will be 
announcing our first visit outside of Washington, DC, next week. We 
want to hear what people think.
  Momentum is building. Now is the time to do reform. I might say, in 
my view, if we cannot get tax reform passed in the Congress, I do not 
think we will ever be able to address the issue for maybe 3 years. I 
doubt we will do it next Congress because that will be a Presidential 
election year. We will have to wait for the new President. It is going 
to take a long time. That is critically dangerous because the last time 
the code was significantly reformed was 1986.
  The world has changed dramatically since 1986. The code is too dated. 
I might say this: Since 1986, the last time the Tax Code was reformed, 
there have been 15,000 changes to the code--15,000. No wonder it is 
complex. No wonder people want it more simple and more fair. I think 
working together we in Congress can improve the code and update it to 
the 21st century.
  This comes down to working together. It comes down to building trust 
on both sides of the aisle, both bodies. It is going to help the 
American people when we do reform the code in this Congress. I do not 
know how many months it is going to take, but we are going to do all we 
can. As Teddy Roosevelt said: Hard work is worth doing if it is for a 
good cause. This is clearly hard work, I can tell you that, but it is 
also for a good cause.
  I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I know things seem like they are speeding 
by us at the speed of light on this bill. We received an announcement 
of a breakthrough on the part of some of our colleagues that is going 
to give this bill the momentum to pass and come out of here with a 
bunch of votes. But I think there are some questions we need to ask.
  First of all, I see the distinguished chairman of the Finance 
Committee. I know he has probably looked at this. The underlying bill 
provides that $8.3 billion is immediately appropriated as emergency 
spending to fund the trust fund that will fund at least some of the 
operations in this immigration reform bill. But when I started to look 
at it a little more closely and consider the fact that even though the 
underlying bill had zero funds for new Border Patrol personnel, this 
new bill--this new proposal, I should say, that we have yet to see--
supposedly it is going to come around 6 o'clock--has an additional 
20,000 Border Patrol. That is doubling the size of the Border Patrol.
  Senator Hoeven, the distinguished Senator from North Dakota, said 
earlier in response to a question I asked him, that would cost an 
additional $30 billion. So we have $8.3 billion, if my arithmetic is 
correct, and $30 billion. That is $38 billion.
  I noticed on page 48 of the Congressional Budget Office cost 
estimate, the CBO estimates that implementing this bill, the underlying 
bill, would result in net discretionary costs of about $22 billion 
more. That is starting to be real money, it seems to me, $60 billion. I 
know we have been having some spirited debates about whether the 85 or 
so billion dollars that was sequestered under the Budget Control Act 
was something we could live without or not, or whether it had to be 
made up through additional revenue. But this strikes me as very 
significant that we are talking about $60 billion of additional deficit 
spending--or additional spending, adding to the deficit, which has not 
been paid for, if my numbers are correct.
  I would welcome anyone else to come help me figure that out.
  Now, one of the rationale, as I was talking to our colleagues--they 
looked at the original score and said this actually generates 
additional revenue because people who come out of the shadows and are 
working will begin to pay Social Security taxes. But the $211 billion 
in the score is Social Security trust fund money, which, of course, 
must someday be paid in terms of benefits to these very same people.
  So it appears that there is double counting going on here. Our 
colleagues are saying: Hey, we have additional revenue because of the 
negative score. But that is money that is going to require an IOU to 
the Social Security trust fund and will have to be paid back at some 
point in the future.
  So, as Senator Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget 
Committee pointed out, the on-budget deficit will increase by $14.2 
billion. That is before you add the additional $30 billion for 20,000 
Border Patrol and $22 billion in additional spending to fund this 
underlying bill.
  So my only point is I think we need to take a deep breath. First, we 
need to read the proposal that is coming out supposedly at 6 o'clock. 
But already

[[Page S4765]]

there is talk about what the end game in the Senate is. Potentially, 
the majority leader will file cloture on this Corker-Hoeven amendment. 
Then we will have a vote on Monday or maybe Tuesday. I think it is 
extraordinarily important when you are talking about numbers like this, 
and a bill this big, that we take our time and are careful and we know 
exactly what the impact of this bill is because if, in fact, what is 
happening is double counting, which is my suspicion based on my review 
of this CBO documentation, that is a serious matter, indeed, because 
that money is going to need to be paid back.
  On another but related note, I would say we have been told this surge 
that is going to be funded under the Corker-Hoeven amendment, and the 
additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and a whole bunch of new 
technology and other assets, that this will be sufficient to secure our 
borders and make illegal immigration a thing of the past. We have been 
told that supporters of the bill welcome a robust and extensive debate 
over its provisions. Yet when we look at the way this is happening, 
where people are announcing breakthroughs, people are saying, well, I 
am going to cosponsor that, only to find out the bill itself has not 
even been written or released, it seems to me we have the cart ahead of 
the horse. We better be careful about what we are doing.
  We have Members of the Chamber calling for a vote this weekend on an 
as yet unreleased amendment. I know, I, for one, and others, I suspect, 
would like to read it and know what is in it.
  I commend our colleagues--I mean this in all sincerity--for trying to 
do their best to improve this bill. But I worry their solution amounts 
to throwing more money at the problem without any real system of 
accountability. We have talked about how important it is to have inputs 
into the bill. But really what we all want are results or outputs. And 
what we have under this amendment, as I understand it and as I asked 
the distinguished Senators from Tennessee and North Dakota, they 
conceded that because our colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
object to any sort of contingency between the probationary status and 
legal permanent residency based on accomplishing the situational 
awareness requirements in the underlying bill or operational control, 
because they object to that, then all we have are more promises about 
future performance.
  I must say our record of keeping our promises when it comes to 
immigration reform are beyond pathetic, starting back in 1986 with the 
amnesty and promise of enforcement, then in 1996 where, as I mentioned 
earlier, President Clinton signed a requirement of a biometric entry-
exit system which has still not been deployed at the exits, at airports 
and seaports even though the 9/11 Commission noted that some of the 
terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, included 
people who came into the country legally but simply overstayed their 
visas, and we lost track of them because we had no effective entry-exit 
system. The 9/11 Commission said this is something we need to fix. That 
was 2001. Still it has not been done.
  Until today, our colleagues on the so-called Gang of 8 argued that it 
was too expensive and too impractical to add even 5,000 Border Patrol 
agents, to say nothing of 20,000 agents. As I pointed out earlier in 
asking some questions of our distinguished colleagues, Senator McCain 
from Arizona, and Senator Schumer, the senior Senator from New York, it 
is amazing how quickly their tune changed.
  Their underlying bill had zero Border Patrol agents. When my 
amendment had 5,000 Border Patrol agents, they said that was a budget 
buster. Imagine my surprise when their amendment comes out with 20,000 
Border Patrol agents, doubling the Border Patrol, $30 billion.
  I wish to know whether the proposals that have been made here are 
being sufficiently vetted. I don't know exactly what all the new border 
patrol is going to be doing. While I think it is important we get the 
advice of the experts in terms of what sorts of new technology can be 
deployed here, I worry that by being overly prescriptive about both the 
number of the boots on the ground and the technology they are going to 
use that we are going to freeze in place legislatively a solution that 
will quickly become antiquated and become inefficient.
  That is why I prefer, and why I think it is much better, an output 
for a result metric we could look at. Let the experts--let the Border 
Patrol, let the Department of Homeland Security, let the technology 
experts who developed great technology we have already paid for and 
deployed in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan through the Department 
of Defense--advise us and the Border Patrol what they need in order to 
accomplish the goals in order to meet the mark. Let's not let a bunch 
of generalists such as ourselves, who are not expert in this field, 
prescribe this solution for a 10-year period of time when it will 
become quickly outdated.
  From everything I have heard and everything I have read--and I think 
it was confirmed by the Senators this afternoon--the Hoeven-Corker 
amendment creates a border security trigger based on inputs rather than 
outputs. It is, I think it is accurate to say, aspirational. In other 
words, they promise to try to meet those goals.
  Ten years from now, I daresay half the Members of this Chamber will 
not even be here. Since 2007 we have had 43 new Senators. The promises 
we make today in exchange for the extraordinary generosity toward the 
11 million people--to provide them an opportunity to gain probationary 
status and then potentially earn legal permanent residency and 
citizenship--that extraordinary offer made in the underlying bill--we 
have no idea whether the border security, whether the entry-exit system 
or the E-Verify will actually work and accomplish the goals we all hope 
they will accomplish.
  Once again, Washington is saying trust me, trust us. We mean well. We 
are going to try.
  Do you know what. We have no means to compel the bureaucracy and the 
executive branch to actually do what we say they should do here. This 
is why we need a trigger, a hard trigger, to realign the incentives so 
that all of us, from the left to the right, Republicans and Democrats, 
join together in putting the focus on the problem like a laser and 
making the bureaucracy hit those objectives.
  We have promised a lot of things. We have had 27 years of inputs into 
our immigration system since the 1986 amnesty, and we still don't have 
secure borders. There were 350,000-plus people detained at the 
southwestern border last year.
  GAO says we have about 45-percent operational control of the border. 
Who knows how many people actually made their way across--although we 
do know that among those who made it across who were detained, they 
came from 100 different countries, including state sponsors of 
international terrorism.
  I am not suggesting there are massive incursions of terrorists coming 
from other countries, although I am saying the same porous borders that 
will allow people to come into this country from other countries around 
the world can be exploited by our enemies. It is a national security 
  When I go home to Texas, people tell me they simply don't trust the 
Federal Government when it comes to securing our borders. Why would 
they? Based on the historical experience, there is no reason for them 
to do so. Three decades of broken promises have destroyed Washington's 
credibility. The only way to regain that credibility is to demand real 
results on border security and create a mechanism that incentivizes all 
of us to make sure it happens.
  I am afraid this amendment, the Corker-Hoeven amendment, no matter 
how well-intentioned--and I do believe it is well-intentioned; everyone 
is eager to find a solution to the broken immigration system, including 
me. The status quo is unacceptable, and it benefits no one.
  In the rush to try to come up with something that seems good at the 
moment, in failing to take the care to look at the detail, whether it 
is financial or whether it will actually produce results, and based on 
text we haven't even seen yet, I think we are rushing to judgment here. 
I think it is something we ought to reconsider.
  Looking beyond border security, I am eager to know whether the 
proposed amendment includes other issues that were contained in my 
amendment that was tabled earlier today.
  I know, speaking to Senator Hoeven and Senator Corker, they did 
include a border security component. As I understand it, there are 
other Senators who

[[Page S4766]]

are coming to them and saying we want to be included in your amendment, 
so we don't know what subjects are also included in that amendment.
  I wish to know whether it includes things such as does it prohibit 
illegal immigrants with multiple drunk driving convictions from 
receiving legal status? What about people who have been guilty of 
multiple instances of domestic violence? What about immigrants who fall 
into one of those categories and have already been deported?
  Believe it or not, under the underlying bill, people could have 
actually been deported for committing a misdemeanor and be eligible to 
reenter the country and register for RPI status. I think that would be 
shocking to most people if they think about it, if they knew about it. 
Under the Gang of 8 bill, all of the people I have just described are 
available for immediate registered provisional immigrant status.
  Earlier this year, I mentioned a remarkable statistic, at least it is 
to me. In fiscal year 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, 
deported nearly 6,000 people with DUI convictions, driving under the 
influence. I challenge any Member of this Chamber to come down to the 
floor and explain why drunk drivers and people who committed domestic 
violence should be eligible for immediate probationary status. I doubt 
anyone will take me up on that challenge, because who would want to 
defend the indefensible?
  As I have said before--and I will conclude my comments with this 
because I see other Senators on the floor who want to speak. As I said 
before, the American people are generous, they are compassionate, but 
they don't want to--it is the old adage: Fool me once, shame on you. 
Fool me twice, shame on me. They don't want to be fooled again when it 
comes to unkept promises in fixing our broken immigration system.
  I know we are committed to finding a reasonable, responsible, and 
humane way to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but we should 
never ever grant legal status to people with multiple drunk driving or 
domestic violence convictions. I don't know, but I will certainly be 
careful to read and learn whether the proposed alternative to the 
amendment that was tabled earlier today contains some of these 
provisions that were in the tabled amendment. If they don't, we will be 
filing--we have filed separate amendments, on which we will urge an up-
or-down vote.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, would the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. CORNYN. I yield to the Senator.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I think the Senator was very wise in raising the 
question of the budget score. Our colleagues have been blithely 
asserting that this bill is going to pay for itself. The CBO produced a 
report. They have cited that report that says it will pay for itself. 
That is not exactly what the report says, it seems to me. This is the 
line in the report the CBO prepared: Net increases or decreases in the 
deficit resulting from changes in direct spending and revenue from the 
bill. How will it impact increasing the deficit or not? The on-budget 
deficit, even before the 20,000 new agents, adds billions of dollars in 
costs. Netted out, it would add $14 billion to the on-budget debt. That 
is negative. It makes more debt.
  Then there is the other one, the off-budget. What is the off-budget? 
The off-budget is Social Security and Medicare. This is the trust fund 
money that comes out of your payroll taxes. People pay payroll taxes. 
The average age of the legalized group is about 35, so most of them 
aren't going to be drawing Social Security right away. They pay into 
this and the government gets some extra money. They are counting that 
money as the money to show the bill is paid for.
  Let me ask the Senator one simple thing. If the individuals who are 
now given legal status are immediately given a Social Security number, 
immediately eligible to compete for any job in America, isn't the money 
they will be paying for Social Security and Medicare going to be used 
by them when they start drawing it? Aren't they going to be eligible 
now for Social Security and Medicare? Won't this money be available for 
them? Isn't it double counting to say it is going to be available for 
their Social Security and then available to pay for all the spending in 
their bill?
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I would say to the Senator from Alabama 
that he reads it the same way I read it. You can't do both. You can't 
raise the money to pay for the bill and say you don't have to pay 
Social Security benefits. These very same people are going to expect 
some day that they will get those benefits. What happens, as I 
understand it--and the distinguished ranking member of the Budget 
Committee can correct me if I am wrong--when we borrow money, in 
essence, from the Social Security trust fund, there is an IOU there 
that is going to have to be paid back.
  It does appear to me there is double counting here. I would say the 
$14.2 billion on-budget deficit, that is before you add in the $30 
billion of additional cost for 20,000 Border Patrol agents.
  As I read page 48 of the CBO, they estimate that implementing the 
underlying bill would result in net discretionary costs of about $22 
billion over the 2014-to-2023 period. It sounds to me as if the costs 
keep mounting and there is double counting going on. I think we have to 
get to the bottom of it. Given our rush, we need to slow down, 
understand the numbers, and understand the financial impact, because 
that is not going to go away if we get it wrong.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I couldn't agree more. The truth is, that is how this 
country is going broke. There are two ways the counting is done in our 
budget. One is a unified accounting process, and the other one shows 
these numbers in the fashion you and I put forward. They assume the 
money that comes in for the newly legalized people, Medicare and Social 
Security, is going to be available for their Social Security and 
Medicare. They can't then assume it is available to spend on something 
else. The weakness in our system has been manipulated before. We need 
to stop it.
  I thank the Senator for raising that.
  Of course, I remember well how many good years you spent on the 
Budget Committee, and the Senator understands it very well.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of Colorado). The Senator from 
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, the United States has always been a 
country of refuge for the persecuted, a protector of life and 
individual freedoms. This is evident in the entire purpose of our 
Nation's asylum program under which foreign nationals who can show a 
credible fear of persecution in their home country may apply for and 
receive shelter here. But flaws in the asylum program leave it 
vulnerable and open to exploitation by those who mean us harm. I have, 
therefore, proposed two amendments to the immigration reform bill, 
amendments No. 1391 and 1393, that are designed to lessen those flaws 
by giving asylum officers the tools they need to dismiss frivolous 
claims and, more important, to ensure that derogatory information about 
applicants who may wish to harm us is reviewed during the application 

  Before I outline those amendments in detail, I would like to discuss 
the circumstances under which the suspects in the Boston Marathon 
terrorist attack came to be in the United States and how that terrible 
attack underscores the need for reform of our asylum process.
  According to media reports, the younger of the two Tsarnaev brothers 
came to the United States on a tourist visa in 2002 and was granted 
asylum on his father's petition shortly thereafter.
  As I mentioned before, asylum is supposed to be only available to 
those who can show a credible fear of persecution in their home 
  Curiously, and notwithstanding his supposed fear of persecution back 
home, the father came to the United States with only one of his four 
children, leaving his wife and three other children behind in the land 
he claimed to fear.
  I can't help but wonder whether the asylum officer who reviewed Mr. 
Tsarnaev's application was aware of that fact and to what extent this 
was considered in determining whether he met the burden of proving a 
credible fear of persecution by his country, since, after all, he had 
left his wife and three of his four children behind.
  Whatever the circumstances that caused Mr. Tsarnaev to seek asylum in 
2002, after the Boston Marathon bombing, the international media caught 

[[Page S4767]]

with him back in the land where he came from and now lives.
  Even more curious are the questions surrounding the grant of asylum 
to another Chechen immigrant, the individual who was shot dead while 
being questioned by the FBI agents and local law enforcement regarding 
his association with the Tsarnaevs and a 2011 triple homicide. After 
his death, reports indicated this individual came to the United States 
in 2008 on a J-1 visa, the type of visa intended to promote cultural 
understanding that allows foreign students to work and study in our 
country, and that individual was granted asylum sometime later that 
year in 2008.
  The way in this particular case the visa operated is he was supposed 
to work for 4 months and then travel for 1 month in our country, but 
that is not what happened. Last month, I was contacted by the Council 
on International Educational Exchange, or CIEE, a J-1 visa sponsor 
organization located in my home State of Maine. CIEE told me they had 
learned this individual had come to the United States through their 
program, arriving in June of 2008. From the start, it appears he had no 
intention of complying with CIEE's J-1 visa rules and, thus, on July 29 
of 2008, CIEE withdrew its sponsorship of him because he failed to 
provide the required documentation with respect to his employment.
  That very day, CIEE, which is a very responsible organization, 
instructed him to make immediate plans to leave the country because 
they could not verify his employment, a key condition of the J-1 visa 
rules. CIEE then recorded this information in the Student and Exchange 
Visitor Information System, or SEVIS, the database used by the 
Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to keep 
track of foreign visitors who travel to the United States on exchange 
  As I understand the facts, CIEE did everything right. It followed the 
rules. When this individual was clearly out of compliance with the 
conditions of his visa, it alerted DHS and the State Department he was 
out of compliance. I have spoken to the President of CIEE, who told me 
his organization was shocked to learn this individual had been granted 
asylum and later given a green card.
  I find this very curious. How is it that a young man from Chechnya 
comes to the United States to participate in a cultural exchange 
program, immediately violates the conditions of that program, is told 
to leave our country but then is able to be granted asylum? The fact 
that he was out of compliance with his visa was correctly recorded in 
the SEVIS database. Did the asylum officer who approved his application 
review that information? Did he check the database for derogatory 
information? Were any other databases, such as that maintained by the 
National Counterterrorism Center, consulted during the review of this 
asylum applicant? When and where was his asylum application reviewed 
and approved and by whom?

  More than 2 weeks ago, I asked these fundamental questions of the 
Department of Homeland Security through staff and by letters I 
personally sent to the Office of Legislative Affairs and to Secretary 
Janet Napolitano. Despite repeated phone calls and e-mails from my 
staff, the Department has still not provided me with the answers. 
Instead, what I have received are excuses, despite the fact the subject 
of my inquiry is dead and my questions are directly relevant to the 
asylum provisions in the immigration bill before us.
  Think about the failure of the DHS to provide the basic information I 
have requested. I have not asked about the individual's relationship to 
the terrorist attack in Boston, nor have I asked about his alleged 
connection to the triple homicide. The questions I have asked relate 
only to when he applied for and received asylum, whether the 
information related to his violation of his visa requirements was 
available and reviewed by the officer who granted him asylum, and I 
have asked who made the decision to grant him asylum.
  We know from media reports his asylum application was acted on in 
2008, 5 years ago. Is the Department saying, through its silence, that 
information related to this individual's asylum application did, in 
fact, foreshadow the terrorist attack in Boston in April and his 
ultimate death last month? Why was his application approved? Why didn't 
the Department deport him from our country when it was clear he was no 
longer in compliance with his J-1 visa?
  The basic question is: Why wasn't this individual deported from our 
country when it was clear he was no longer in compliance with the 
requirements of his J-1 visa? Instead, what happens? He is granted 
asylum and then later given a green card.
  I can only take the Department's refusal to provide answers as a 
tacit admission that a flawed asylum process allowed a dangerous man to 
get into our country on false pretenses and to stay. That possibility, 
that likelihood, underscores the importance of the two amendments I am 
  The first of my amendments, No. 1391, would require that before an 
individual can be granted asylum, biographic and biometric information 
about that individual must be checked against the appropriate records 
and databases of the Federal Government, including those maintained by 
the National Counterterrorism Center. In addition, this amendment 
requires the asylum officer find that the information in those records 
and databases supports the applicant's claim of asylum or, if 
derogatory information is uncovered, that the applicant is still able 
to meet the burden of proof required by law.
  The second of my two amendments, No. 1393, would provide asylum 
officers with the authority to dismiss what are clearly frivolous 
claims, without prejudice to the applicant, and requires asylum 
officers and immigration judges to obtain more detailed information 
from the State Department on the conditions in the country from which 
asylum is sought.
  In other words, what we have discovered is this is another example of 
one department not talking to another department. It is very difficult 
for an asylum officer to make a correct decision if he or she lacks 
information about conditions in the originating country.
  This amendment also calls for increased staffing for the Fraud 
Detection and National Security Directorate at asylum offices funded 
through fees in this bill.
  We can never know for sure whether the reforms I am calling for in 
these two amendments would have kept these dangerous individuals out of 
this country and perhaps even prevented the terrorist attack in Boston 
and the triple murder in another town in Massachusetts.
  But the way in which they use the asylum process clearly demonstrates 
that it can be and will be abused. My amendments will give asylum 
officers the tools they need to help prevent that kind of fraudulent 
use of a very important and worthwhile system, and it will help to 
protect the American public from those who would do us harm.
  With these modest reforms, America's asylum process will continue to 
shelter those who legitimately fear persecution in their home 
countries, but it will be less easily taken advantage of by those who 
seek to harm us.
  I urge my colleagues to support these commonsense amendments.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the period for 
debate only be extended for 1 hour, until 7:30, with the time equally 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I am happy to report that there has been 
a lot of progress made in the last few hours on the package of 
amendments that are completely uncontested and there is no objection on 
any side.
  I wish to thank the Members who have been attentive and supportive of 
trying to get back to a more normal way of operating, which is, simply, 
we can argue about the big controversial issues. There are always going 
to be those on every bill we debate. But there will be some amendments 
that absolutely have no opposition because they are very well-thought-
out ideas that do not generate any heartburn on either side, that 
people can reason and say it helps the bill; it does something that 
improves the bill.

[[Page S4768]]

  We used to do that all the time around here. We have gotten away from 
it, and it is hurtful. It is not just hurtful to the individual 
Members, it is hurtful to our constituents who would like their ideas 
brought up for consideration.
  As I said earlier in the day--and before the Senator from Maine 
leaves the floor, I wish to make this perfectly clear. I am not holding 
up the debate on any controversial amendments. I am not objecting to 
any controversial amendments. Anybody who wants to debate an amendment, 
whether it is 60 votes or 50 votes, that is the leadership's job, and 
they are managing this bill very well. I have no complaints or 
criticism about it at all.
  But as they are managing these very controversial amendments that are 
part of any debate, what I am simply saying is that of the hundreds of 
amendments that have been filed--and we have been spending a lot of 
time on this with Republican and Democratic staff--there are 
potentially about 25 to 30 amendments that have absolutely no 
  The list has changed a little bit, and I am not going to go over all 
the details. I have put it in the Record. There could potentially be 7 
Democratic amendments, 5 Republican amendments, and 10 bipartisan 
amendments that have no known opposition. All I am asking is sometime 
between now and when the leadership managing this bill calls cloture, 
we have these votes en bloc, by voice. There would be no reason to have 
any more debate on them. No one is objecting to them. So we could take 
them en bloc, by voice. It will improve the bill. Then people can vote 
on the bill.
  Many people already know they are going to vote against the bill. 
Some people are going to vote for the bill. That is the process. I 
think it would be very healthy for the Senate to get back to this kind 
of negotiation. But for these amendments that are noncontroversial, 
that simply have been worked on across the aisle in good faith, to be 
held hostage until somebody can get a vote on an amendment that causes 
one side or the other lots of political difficulties is not right.
  There are 350 amendments filed on this bill. I am only talking about 
35 or less. All the other amendments have pros and cons; people are for 
them, people are against them. I don't know how the leadership is going 
to decide on how we vote or dispense of those, but I am not managing 
the bill. Senator Leahy is doing a very good job of that with Senator 
Grassley, Leader McConnell, and Leader Reid. But there are 
approximately 35 amendments, maybe a little more, that have bipartisan 
support that people have really worked on--people such as myself--who 
are not on the Judiciary Committee. The Senator had his hands full with 
the 17 Members he has on the committee. There were 228 amendments filed 
on the Judiciary Committee. Senator Grassley himself filed 34, and he 
had 13 that passed and 21 that failed. That is a lot of amendments.
  Some of us who are not on the Judiciary Committee have been very 
fortunate. At least I have had one of my eight, which the Senator from 
Vermont helped with adopting.
  Mr. LEAHY. Would the Senator yield?
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I would love to.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Senator has several excellent 
amendments which I support and agreed to.
  We have given the other side over and over again a list of amendments 
that under normal circumstances would be agreed to in about 5 minutes 
by voice vote, including a number of the amendments of the 
distinguished Senator from Louisiana. I keep hoping we might do that.
  We had more than 200 amendments in the Judiciary Committee that were 
voted on. Of those that were adopted, all but three passed with 
bipartisan votes. We demonstrated we were willing to do this on a 
bipartisan basis.
  To assure the Senator from Louisiana--who is a wonderful Senator and 
dear friend--that I support these, I keep trying to get them accepted. 
I hope, after 2 weeks on this bill--and realizing we did the very 
extensive and open markup in the Judiciary Committee--that we can get 
to the point where we could start accepting a number of amendments--
both Democratic and Republican--that we all agree on, including those 
from the Senator from Louisiana.
  I am sorry to interrupt her. But she has worked so hard on this. She 
has gotten bipartisan support. She has talked to all of us. At some 
point, she should be allowed to have her amendments.
  I yield the floor.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. I thank the Senator from Vermont, and I appreciate his 
  But actually, having started out wanting to get a vote on my 
amendments--and I still do--I am now more focused on this principle of 
getting uncontested amendments adopted because I am not the only one in 
this vote. I have friends such as Senator Begich, Senator Carper, 
Senator Hagan, Senator Heinrich, Senator Coons, Senator Kirk, Senator 
Coats--from both sides of the aisle--Senator Hatch, Senator Shaheen--I 
could go on and on--who are in the same boat I am.
  We fashioned amendments with bipartisan support. We have done our due 
diligence with the leaders of the committee of jurisdiction, which is 
what you are supposed to do, which is normal. We have gotten their 
blessing, if you will. We have published the details of our amendments. 
We have circulated the amendments. There is no opposition.
  So to the Senator from Vermont, I wish to be very clear. I have four 
amendments on this list. I am not here just arguing for the four 
Landrieu amendments. I am here arguing for all amendments by anybody, 
Republican or Democrat, that are noncontroversial, uncontested, germane 
to this bill. They should go on the bill.
  We need to get back to legislating in the Senate. This is not a 
theater. It is a legislative body, and I came to legislate. It will be 
18 years that I have been here at the end of this term, a long time. 
There are Members who have been here longer than I have. But it has 
been a while now, 2 or 3 years, that we just sort of stopped 
legislating. We give speeches. We do headlines. We posture. We 
position. That has always been a part of the Senate. I have no problem 
with it. What I do have a problem with is doing that and nothing else. 
That is where I have a serious problem. Those of us who did not come 
here to be on the stage have had to sit on the sidelines and watch this 
theater for a long time. The people I represent are tired of it.
  We should know that, since the rating for Congress is now at 10 
percent, I think the lowest level ever or at least in the last 50 
years, ten percent--this could have something to do with it.
  Contrary to popular opinion on the floor, many people in America are 
very interested in this bill and are actually sending suggestions in 
through e-mail, through telephone, through all sorts of communications 
saying, look, I read the bill. You all should think about this. This 
could be improved. Some of us actually take those suggestions, work 
with Members on the other side of the aisle, and fashion them into 
amendments. The people we represent deserve respect.
  If anyone thinks my amendments are controversial and you cannot vote 
for them because they upset the balance of power in the world or upset 
Western civilization, then come tell me. I will work with you on it. I 
will take the amendments off the list. I will put my amendments on a 
list to be debated.
  But the days of us coming to the floor and absolutely not accepting 
bipartisan amendments so we can spend all of our time talking about 
partisan amendments that have no chance of passing are over with 
because I have enough power--just as Senators on the other side have 
enough power to push us the other way, I have enough power to push back 
and I plan to use it. Those days are over.
  When we come to the floor, you can have all of your controversial 
amendments. We can set aside as many hours of the day to vote on 
controversial amendments, an equal number on both sides or none. But 
the uncontroversial amendments, the ones Members actually do the work 
of the Senate--research, writing, talking, debating privately, and 
coming up with good ideas--no longer are those going to be swept under 
the rug. It is not respectful to our constituents, it dishonors the 
Senate, and it causes the public to

[[Page S4769]]

have serious doubts as to whether anybody around here is actually 
working in a bipartisan way to improve the bill.
  These are minor amendments. None of these amendments undermine the 
bargains, the tough negotiations by Republicans and Democrats, on this 
bill. I wish to give a lot of respect to the Gang of 8. They have taken 
on the tough big issues, very controversial. Those are not these. These 
are amendments that would help parents who are trying to adopt 
children. Now I have to wait for a bill to come to the floor to help 
these parents. They may be waiting 10 years. They are American 
citizens. They have a right for Senators to represent their interests 
and I intend to do it. There are amendments here that would make sure 
children with mental illness or who are mentally disabled--this is not 
my amendment but it is a good one--make sure they have a lawyer. Why 
can't we do that? Because we are so angry with each other that we will 
not help a child? That is cruel and it is not correct.

  I am going to end here. There are other Members who want to speak. I 
have no idea when the cloture vote will be. I am not sure. But if these 
noncontroversial amendments are not adopted by voice vote or by 
rollcall vote, en bloc or separately, before cloture, all of them will 
fall away, which means we will not be able to consider any of them. 
That is because after cloture they are no longer germane because we 
cannot get them pending. OK?
  So this is the problem. I thank my colleagues for being 
understanding. I actually think it might help us move forward.
  I yield the floor and I will be back when the cloture motion is 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I want to make a few points in response 
to the Senator from Louisiana who has been pushing to get a number of 
so-called noncontroversial amendments adopted. There have been a number 
of misrepresentations. A major incorrect point made is that our side 
responded with only a list of controversial amendments. The fact is we 
sent over, for consideration by the other side, a number of amendments 
on our list but we did not hear that we could just get a vote. But in 
addition to sending back a list of noncontroversial amendments we did 
ask if we could have a vote on a number of our amendments. So talk 
about breakdowns, we cannot even get a vote on our amendments.
  In regard to some of the amendments the Senator from Louisiana has 
suggested, they are not as easy as appears. Some are badly drafted, so 
we tried to fix them and send them back. We have not heard yet. The 
list we sent over does not say we will not agree to more amendments 
later, but we have to work through these and fix those that are messed 
up, frankly.
  The latest problem is that the Democrats want to pick which 
Republican amendments we can vote on. I have, for instance, an anti-
gang amendment the Democrats do not want to vote on. Their bill allows 
gang members to become citizens. We should get votes on our amendments 
in addition to this whole process of approving a list of 
noncontroversial amendments that can be adopted en bloc.
  I yield the floor.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, may I respond?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, as I said many times, I have the deepest 
respect for the Senator from Iowa. He and I hardly ever disagree so 
this is quite unusual. We cosponsor so many amendments together for 
foster care, adoption--his work is legendary. But I do want to say 
this. I have tried to be extremely constructive here. Again, this is 
not about our list or their list. I am not even in charge of our list 
or their list. I literally am not a floor manager of this bill. I am 
not even a member of the committee. I do not even have access to our 
list or their list. I don't want it. I do not want to review the 200 
amendments that are pro-gay, anti-gay, pro-fence, anti-fence. I am not 
interested--I am interested, but it is not in my lane. I have issues 
that I have to focus on as chair of Homeland Security. I am not a Gang 
of 8 Member, I am not on the Judiciary Committee, but I am a Senator 
and I came here to legislate.
  There are amendments. I am not sure this list is perfect but I 
promise you, out of 350 amendments filed, just by the nature of 
averages, at least 10 percent of them have to be noncontroversial. Not 
every amendment that is filed is going to arouse suspicion or concern 
or violate any principles we hold. Just by nature you are going to have 
10 percent or 15 or 20 percent of all amendments that actually, with a 
little bit of work, should be adopted.
  What Senator Leahy said is absolutely correct. We used to do that 
when we trusted each other, when we respected our constituents.
  I intend to push this body back to that place. I may be unsuccessful 
because I am only one Senator, but Senators have a lot of power, if you 
haven't noticed. We have been held up for weeks over one Senator 
because they did not get everything they wanted every day.
  Again, I want to say to my colleagues, I am not fighting for Landrieu 
amendments. I am fighting for a principle and a process that is vital 
to the functioning of this body. I am going to continue to fight and 
hope we get a breakthrough.
  Please, the other side, do not send me your list or the Democratic 
list. I am not interested. I am interested in a list of amendments that 
I believe, based on conversations with Senators, are not controversial 
and would improve the bill. We were sent here to do that. I intend to 
do it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I take the floor today to speak in support 
of the Hoeven-Corker amendment that will soon be filed. Let me say the 
goal of the so-called Gang of 8 has always been to bring forward from 
Congress a solution to our broken immigration system. We introduced our 
bill knowing full well it was to be a starting point for this 
legislative process.
  We had, under Senator Leahy and Senator Grassley's purview, a great 
markup in the Judiciary Committee. It went on for days. There were more 
than 300 amendments filed, more than 100 adopted. We had a full-
throated debate in this Chamber already on this bill.
  Out of this vetting and this debate we have had, we have had several 
consistent messages on things that need to be improved in the 
legislation. What we are doing right now is going a long way to deal 
with these concerns.
  We have heard that we have allowed too much discretion to write the 
strategy for the border security plan. We have given too much to the 
Department of Homeland Security, that they will simply spend the 
billions of dollars that will be appropriated eventually. This 
amendment includes a detailed list of technologies that will have to be 
put in place by the Department. We will set a minimum floor of what 
they have to do. Then they can go beyond that.
  In the underlying legislation, we require that a strategy is deployed 
in the underlying legislation, that an entry-exit system for all 
airports and seaports be in place, and that E-Verify be up and running 
for all businesses in the United States before anyone is granted legal 
permanent residency.
  There are persistent concerns that that still will not be sufficient 
to ensure a secure border, that we need more incentive there. This 
amendment filed by Senators Hoeven and Corker will require 700 miles of 
fence be completed and that we have double the number of border agents 
that we currently have. These things have to be done before anybody in 
provisional status adjusts to get a green card.
  This is important. This amendment dramatically increases the trigger 
that will have to be met in order for anyone, as I said, who is in 
provisional status to adjust to get a green card.
  This is a product of the ongoing scrutiny this bill has received, 
scrutiny it deserves. We said from the very beginning this bill 
deserves debate, due process through committee and on the floor in this 
Chamber, and it is receiving that today and it is a better bill for it. 
It is going to be considerably improved, particularly after the Hoeven-
Corker amendment is introduced and hopefully adopted.
  I hope in the coming days we will also have as much scrutiny on the 
positive aspects of this bill. State and local

[[Page S4770]]

governments currently deal with a sizable undocumented population; all 
of them, particularly in Arizona. Businesses are looking for a legal 
workforce they simply do not have access to right now. Right now the 
best and the brightest come here, we educate them in our universities, 
and then we send them home to compete against us because we will not 
allow them to stay on a visa.
  The U.S. economy overall could use the boost that will come if we can 
pass meaningful immigration reform.
  Again, I support this amendment. I commend my colleagues from 
Tennessee and North Dakota and all those who are working in the Gang of 
8 and elsewhere. There are some who say many people are trying to kill 
this bill and bring poison pill amendments. For the most part what I 
have seen is people who want to improve this legislation, to make it 
better, to deal with this problem in a way that will solve it for good 
so we do not have to return to this a couple of years from now.
  Again, I appreciate my colleagues offering the amendments. I look 
forward to discussing it either this weekend or next week.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, several Senators have mentioned this 
legislation has been pending on the Senate floor since the beginning of 
last week. Now we are here at the end of this week. If everybody here 
had been in favor of at least getting a vote one way or the other on 
the immigration bill, we would have started disposing of amendments 
during the first week the bill was on the Senate floor.
  Unfortunately, there are some who do not want any bill, no matter 
what we write. They will have every objection to every amendment; they 
will use every delaying tactic possible. But they are a tiny minority. 
What we ought to do is show the majority--Republicans and Democrats--
who is for and who is against the bill. The people who object to it, 
they objected to proceeding to comprehensive immigration reform--that 
cost us several days. Then when we proceeded, we got 84 Senators who 
voted in favor of proceeding. That should tell the American people 
  This week I have been working closely with the majority leader and 
the ranking member, Senator Grassley, and others to make progress. But 
every time we try to bring matters up and get them passed we face 
objection. So far, there about 350 amendments that have been filed. In 
a week and a half we have gotten to 12. That is not progress. That is 
not. No wonder the American people wonder what is going on. If we 
continue at this rate, we are going to be singing Christmas carols as 
we come to the end of this legislation and we will have done nothing 
else. Some would like that. They would like to have this take up all 
the time. We do not do judges, we do not do the budget. The other side 
objects even going to a conference on the budget, which would have more 
Republicans on it than Democrats. What is this? If people are that 
opposed to government at all, to any form of democratic government, let 
them set up an alternative government. But this is ridiculous.
  We have a system. The people who claim ``we are for the 
Constitution''--let the Constitution work. Let people vote up or down. 
This is important. It is long overdue legislation to repair our 
immigration system. Let's vote on it.
  Senator Landrieu came to the floor last night. She came again today 
to talk about the delays we have had. I agree with her. Senators on 
both sides of the aisle worked hard on the amendments that were filed 
on this legislation. Senators who are not on the Judiciary Committee 
have been waiting for their opportunity to contribute to this bill.

  Many of the amendments are bipartisan and ought to be heard. Many of 
the amendments are noncontroversial and have widespread support. Some 
of the amendments are controversial, but the amendments that have been 
proposed to me as noncontroversial all are intended to improve and 
strengthen this legislation.
  In the past we would take them up quickly and vote them all through. 
Except we have some who give great speeches about worrying about people 
coming into this country, but they are determined not to let anybody 
into this country. The Presiding Officer and I--and virtually everybody 
in this body--would not be here if these had been the rules when our 
parents or our grandparents or our great grandparents came to this 
  Let's vote. The Judiciary Committee considered a total of 212 
amendments over an extensive markup that involved more than 35 hours of 
debate, and we made sure it was public. We streamed it live. People all 
over the Nation watched it. About half of the amendments considered 
were offered by the Republican members of the committee. I went back 
and forth, one Democrat, one Republican, one Democrat, one Republican. 
We adopted over 135 amendments to this legislation all but three were 
bipartisan votes.
  We set a gold standard. This body should do the same thing the 18 of 
us did.
  I filed a managers' amendment that combines a number of the 
noncontroversial amendments that have been offered to this legislation. 
I hope the Republicans and Senator Grassley, the Judiciary Committee's 
ranking member, will join with me in disposing of these 
noncontroversial amendments. We did it in the committee. Incidentally, 
when the bill finally came out of the committee, it was by a bipartisan 
  Look at what the managers' amendments includes. They are 
noncontroversial and have widespread support. They have been filed by 
Senators on both sides of the aisle over the last 2 weeks. Many have 
been discussed at length on the Senate floor. We improve oversight of 
certain immigration programs.
  There is an amendment from the chair and ranking member of the 
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Senators Carper 
and Coburn, to establish an office of statistics within the Department 
of Homeland Security. There is an amendment by Senator Cochran and 
Senator Landrieu, chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on 
Homeland Security, that requires increased reporting on the EB-5 
program. There is an amendment by Senator Heller requiring DHS to 
report to Congress about an implementation of the biometric exit 
program that was added to the bill in committee by Senator Hatch.
  There are bipartisan amendments offered by Senators Kirk and Coons to 
support the naturalization process for Active-Duty members in the Armed 
Forces who receive military awards. Who could possibly disagree with 
that? It contains a trio of amendments championed by Senators Coats, 
Landrieu, and Klobuchar to ease the process for international 
adoptions. There is an amendment by Senator Hagan to reauthorize the 
Bulletproof Vest Program.
  Incidentally, that program had begun as a bipartisan program. There 
is an amendment by Senator Nelson to provide additional research for 
maritime security. Chairman Carper has an amendment that requires DHS 
to submit a strategy to prevent unauthorized immigration transiting 
through Mexico.
  These are sensible, noncontroversial amendments. If we had a rollcall 
vote of these amendments, they would get 90 or 95 votes, or even 100 
votes. Well, let's vote on them. Let's adopt them. Let's show the 
American people we actually care about having immigration reform.
  The Senator from Louisiana and others are right. We ought to take up 
those amendments where we share common ground. We so often get bogged 
down by divisive amendments. Why not join together and pass those that 
we agree on--Republicans and Democrats? If we do that, we might 
actually fix our immigration system.
  The one thing everybody agrees on is that the system does not work 
today. We are trying to fix it. Let's at least bring up, vote on, and 
pass those provisions that both Republicans and Democrats support--more 
importantly, the American people support--and get them passed.

[[Page S4771]]

  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time for 
debate only be extended until 8:30 and that I be recognized at that 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. And that we would have the time equally divided between the 
majority and the minority for the next hour.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. I would also say this: The amendment we have been waiting 
for I think is done. We finally got the last signoff just a few minutes 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, could I inquire as to what UC just got 
agreed to?
  Mr. REID. To extend the time for debate only until 8:30 with the time 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I appreciate the Senator from Nevada 
getting this unanimous consent agreement and that it was agreed to. I 
commend the majority leader for the work he is doing. It is a slow 
process. It would be an awful lot slower if it wasn't for the very 
accomplished hand of our majority leader.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I appreciate the distinguished chairman of 
the committee for saying some nice things about me, but my involvement 
in this is minimal compared to many other people.
  Mr. President, if we have someone suggest the absence of a quorum 
over the next 2 minutes, I ask unanimous consent that the time be 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Are there any other questions anyone has?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I appreciate the majority leader. He speaks softly, and 
I don't hear as well as I should, so I am not sure what we agreed to or 
what he propounded.
  Mr. REID. Has the Senator from Alabama heard now? It is that we 
extend the time for debate only equally divided between the majority 
and minority until 8:30 tonight.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. REID. I note the absence of a quorum.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time be 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, here we are with an intent to have an 
amendment that is supposed to solve all the problems of this 
legislation, and we had it announced earlier this morning, and we have 
not seen it yet. So we are now here.
  Earlier today we thought we had an agreement to have as many as half-
a-dozen votes tonight. So we had some today, and we were going to have 
some more tonight. We have only had nine votes on this legislation as 
of today. This is really odd.
  So we have not seen this bill. We do not know what is in it. 
Everything has been stopped, waiting on some agreement, as Senator 
Schumer said, among the allies. He said they are showing the bill to 
allies. Apparently, they have not shown it to Senator Lee, they have 
not shown it to me. So the allies of the Gang of 8 are going through 
the bill. I do not know if they are going to have Nebraska kickbacks in 
it or ``Cornhusker kickbacks'' or whatever else they are going to put 
in it to get somebody's vote on it. I hope that is not where we are 
  But what I am concerned about, having been around here a few years 
now, is that we will have a vote on cloture on this amendment--they are 
going to file the amendment, immediately file cloture, apparently, and 
then have that vote early next week--and then have a couple more votes, 
and the next thing you know, we are at final passage and no amendments 
of significance have been allowed to occur.
  I have a number of amendments. The House has done a really good job 
on working on the interior enforcement weaknesses of our current law. 
They put together some good language. I have taken a lot of it and put 
it into an amendment. I would like to have a vote on that. We ought to 
talk about it because there is some feeling around here that the only 
thing that matters is the border, but that is not so. Forty percent of 
the illegal entries into America today come by visa overstays, and that 
is not dealt with at all or in any significant way that I am aware of 
in this new amendment which we have not seen.
  So I am worried about this whole process. The American people deserve 
an open process. It was promised. I do not know how many amendments we 
had in committee, I say to Senator Lee. Lots of them. But we have only 
had nine now, and we lost a group that we were going to have today. And 
we cannot tell from our discussions with Senator Reid and others if 
there will be any more amendments next week because, I guess, the 
powers that be, the masters of the universe, have all gotten together 
and they have decided this: They have decided that everything is fixed 
by Hoeven-Corker, and we will just pass that amendment and nobody else 
will be heard. But that amendment, from what I read in the papers about 
it, in general, does not fix anything like the loopholes and weaknesses 
of the legislation.
  I say to Senator Lee, I appreciate his elegance on this issue, but I 
did want to share that I feel as if something is going awry in the 
open, debatable process we thought we were going to have for a day or 
two. It seems to have jumped off the tracks completely.
  Mr. LEE. It does indeed. I was disappointed by the fact that in the 
Judiciary Committee, on which the Senator and I both serve, we had a 
lot of amendments. I do not remember exactly how many votes we had in 
the committee, but it was in the dozens, if not scores, and we had 
extensive discussion. Now, not all the votes turned out the way the 
Senator and I wanted them to, but the important thing is we had a lot 
of discussion, we had on-the-record debate, we had amendments proposed 
and discussed and debated, and that is not how it has happened this 
  To my understanding--I was not here, unlike my friend from Alabama, 
in 2007, the last time we had a comparable discussion of a bill like 
this one, but my understanding is that there were 50-something, perhaps 
53 amendments that were debated, discussed, and received votes in 2007. 
To my understanding, this time around we have had nine votes and maybe 
two or three that were taken by voice vote. That is not enough, and it 
certainly is not enough when we are talking about a bill that is more 
than 1,000 pages long, a bill that is going to affect many millions of 
Americans, and it is going to do so for many generations to come.
  The American people deserve more. They deserve more than just debate 
and discussion, rollcall votes that can be measured in the single 
digits. They call this the greatest deliberative legislative body in 
the world, and yet we make a mockery of that description when we do 
things like this, when we allow a 1,000-page bill to be rammed through 
in a matter of days with only a small handful of amendments debated, 
discussed, and amended.
  So through the Chair I would like to ask my friend and my 
distinguished colleague from Alabama whether he has seen anything like 
this in his career, whether this is something I should anticipate 
moving forward. As I look forward to my years in the Senate, is this 
something I should expect on a regular basis with legislation such as 
this, of this complexity, of this level of importance? Is this 
something that is just par for the course?

[[Page S4772]]

  Mr. SESSIONS. I am afraid it is becoming par for the course. I 
remember we had a bill, a bankruptcy bill, a fourth of this in size. I 
think it was on the floor 3 weeks, and we had maybe nearly 100 
amendments. Everybody had their chance to speak, and we ended up 
passing the bill with well over 80 votes.

  But the point is that in this new mood in the Senate we have a 
situation in which the majority leader too often fills the tree and 
controls even the amendments that are brought up.
  Does the Senator think it odd, as a new Member of the Senate and as a 
student of law and Washington governmental processes, that a Senator 
cannot come to the floor and offer an amendment without seeking 
permission of the majority leader? And he says: No, I will not take 
your amendment; I will only take this amendment. Does that strike the 
Senator as contrary to what his understanding is historically as to how 
the Senate should operate?
  Mr. LEE. Yes. In fact, I find it appalling. I find it repugnant to 
the system of government under which we are supposed to be operating. I 
find it even repugnant to article VI in the Constitution, which makes 
clear that there is one kind of constitutional amendment that is never 
appropriate. You cannot amend the Constitution to deny any State its 
equal representation in the Senate. If at any moment we end up with a 
situation in which we have second-class Senators, Senators who may 
submit and propose for debate and discussion and a vote an amendment--
if we have to go to the majority leader and say: Mother may I, then 
perhaps we have lost something, perhaps we have lost the environment in 
which each of the States was supposed to receive equal representation.
  It also seems to me to take on a certain character, a certain banana 
republic quality that we are asked to vote on legislation in many 
circumstances just hours or even minutes after we have received it. We 
take on a certain rubberstamp quality when we do that.
  I remember a few months ago, in connection with the fiscal cliff 
debate--as we approached the fiscal cliff on New Year's Eve, we were 
told by our respective leaders: Just wait. Something is coming. Go back 
to your offices. Watch your televisions. Play with your toys. Do 
whatever it is you do, but, you know, be good Senators, run along and 
stay out of trouble. We are taking care of this. We will send you 
legislation as soon as we are ready.
  Well, at 1:36 a.m. we received an e-mail, and attached to that e-mail 
was a 153-page document. That was the bill on which we would be voting. 
That bill was one we would be called to vote on exactly 6 minutes 
later, at 1:42 a.m. So to my utter astonishment and dismay, Senators 
flocked into this room and with very, very little objection ended up 
passing that legislation overwhelmingly.
  This is just one of many examples I can point to in the 2\1/2\ years 
since I have been here when Members have been asked to vote and did, in 
fact, vote enthusiastically, willingly, and hardly without a whimper of 
objection to legislation that they had never seen, to legislation that 
they were familiar with only to the extent it had been summarized for 
  That brings us back to this legislation. We have had this in front of 
us in one form or another for the last couple of months, but for a long 
time before we even had it, what we had was a summary of this. We had a 
series of bullet points. Those bullet points were very favorable, and 
for a long time the bullet points were all we had. The bullet points--I 
exaggerate slightly to prove a point, but they read something like 
this: Is this bill outstanding? Yes. Will this bill solve all of our 
immigration problems? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with the 
bill? Heavens no. That is how the bullet points read.
  It was on that basis that groups around the country supported and 
some Members even of our own body decided they would vote for S. 744, 
even before S. 744 even existed. We had groups across the country, some 
even in my home State, that came out strongly in favor of the yet-to-
be-released Gang of 8 bill, saying: We are going to support it, and 
anyone who does not vote for it in the U.S. Senate is a backward fool. 
Well, they had not read it. They could not have read it because the 
bill did not yet exist.
  Now, in some respects, what happened with this is very similar to 
what we are now facing with the yet-to-be-released Corker amendment. I 
have not seen it. But I will tell you what I have seen. I have seen a 
set of very brief bullet points about the Corker amendment.
  The bullet point reads something like this. Is this amendment 
  Will this amendment solve our border security problems?
  Is there any problem presented by this amendment?
  Absolutely not.
  So I say to my friend from Alabama, if this is what I can expect in 
my career in the Senate, I am a little bit troubled. But I would ask my 
friend from Alabama if there is anything we can do about this, if there 
is any way we can right this ship, if there is any way we can turn this 
around, this disturbing trend? Separate and apart from the policies 
underlying this bill, is there anything we can do to make this a real 
legislative body and not a rubber stamp, the kind of legislative body 
that actually does debate and discuss things?
  We do not really have a true deliberative legislative body unless 
have we enough time to debate things before we vote on them, to where 
the Members can actually read them before they come up?
  Mr. SESSIONS. Yes, we can do that if we just follow the traditional 
rules of the Senate. The Senator is exactly right. Here we are being 
told this legislation, this 1,000 pages, is all decided because 
somebody has an amendment somewhere that nobody has seen--at least 
nobody who has any skepticism about it has seen. That is going to solve 
all of the problems. It is just rather remarkable.
  On the fundamental question the Senator raised about the Senate, I do 
believe that we need to begin to appeal across party lines and think 
more clearly about what has happened. I talked with one of the great 
historians of the Senate, someone I have known and has been here, 
worked on the floor, and has written a book about it. He said he hated 
to say it, but it is kind of getting like the old Russian Soviet Duma 
where a group of people met in secret and put out the word, then they 
all went in and voted 990 to 10 for whatever it was their little group 
  I am worried that has too much relevance to what has been happening 
here. I really do. A Senator, as the Senator said, is equal to any 
other Senator. The majority leader has the power of first recognition, 
but it was never intended that the majority leader should say: You 
cannot get your amendment, Senator from Alabama; only the one from 
Maine can get their amendment, and actually be able to execute that.
  It is rather stunning. That was not the way it was when I came. This 
filling-the-tree process started maybe not long after I came. Both 
parties have used it. But it has now gone to an extent which we have 
never seen before, and it adversely impacts the whole Senate. I think 
the Senator is right about that.
  I just saw Senator Portman from Ohio. He had worked extremely hard on 
a very significant amendment dealing with E-Verify in the workplace. He 
is not sure he is going to get a vote on it. He thought he was going to 
get a vote on it. It is very frustrating for him that will not be the 
  What is this? We are not going to be in session tomorrow, apparently. 
Nobody gets their amendments. Maybe, virtually, no more amendments get 
brought up of significance.
  So I am concerned about it. I have a couple of key amendments. I know 
Senator Cruz has an amendment too. The Senator may have amendments. 
Amendments are valuable in that they point out weaknesses in 
legislation. They provide a fix for that weakness. Why would we want to 
deny people the right to make a piece of legislation better?
  Mr. LEE. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a democracy is 
that you have choices, you have options. I am not intimately familiar 
with the inner workings of the Soviet government. But I have it on good 
authority that they had elections in the Soviet Union. But the big 
difference was the government decided who was on the ballot. They 
decided that very carefully. Only those candidates who had

[[Page S4773]]

been very carefully screened by the Communist Party officials could 
appear on the ballot.
  So people had choices. It was just the choices were very limited. 
They were limited so as to guarantee a certain foreordained outcome.
  Now, if you will forgive the analogy, what we have here makes sense. 
It makes sense that all of the 50 States are represented but only if, 
in fact, we are presented with actual legitimate choices, with actual 
legitimate options.
  One of the reasons we have seen legislation pushed through at the 
very last minute, and our colleagues in this body vote for that 
legislation overwhelmingly, is they are told at the moment they have no 
other option: You have a binary choice. You can vote yes or you can 
vote no, but you do not really have the option of making any changes. 
So a lot of times people vote for something, even if it is a bill they 
otherwise did not like, or if it had a lot of problems with it, they 
will vote for it because they conclude that on balance, voting yes is 
better than voting no. The problem is, we are supposed to have more 
options than that. In this body, we are supposed to have the 
opportunity to propose amendments and in theory to have unlimited 
debate and discussion.
  Unlimited debate and discussion necessarily entails more or less 
unlimited opportunities to amend, to make it better. That is what real 
compromise is. Real compromise involves allowing all of the 
stakeholders to come together and explain what is important to each 
member of the group, to each stakeholder. We do not have that here. We 
are supposed to have that in the Senate. Historically, it has existed.
  I know that not from my service here, but I know it from reading 
books and from talking to colleagues who have been here a little bit 
longer than I have. But it is time to restore that. It is time we 
restore what once existed but has since been lost so that our 
democratic system of government actually functions as it was designed.
  Mr. SESSIONS. The Senator led a press conference this afternoon with 
a group of tea party patriots. Jenny Beth Martin and a number of other 
people were there. They came to Washington and had a number of people 
who had immigrated to America. They spoke from their hearts about laws 
and rules and proper procedure. Maybe the Senator could share with our 
colleagues and those who might be listening the gist of that.
  I thought it was very moving to have people who came to America, some 
from countries where they had been persecuted and were so proud of the 
rule of law, who felt deeply that we need to be careful about what we 
do in the Senate to preserve the rule of law here.
  I thank the Senator for leading that press conference today and 
letting those individuals, those Americans, speak their minds. Just in 
general, I would say that whole tea party movement, which many have 
tried to demean, came right from the heart of America. It represented a 
deep concern that people in Washington were out of touch, were not 
connected with the real world, were not following the constitutional 
processes, were meeting in secret with special interests and trying to 
win elections and not serving the people in effective ways.
  I thought it was good to have them speak out today as they did in 
opposition to this monstrosity.
  Mr. LEE. That is exactly right. The movement described is a 
spontaneous grass roots movement that started in 2009 in response to an 
observation that swept across the country that the Federal Government 
has become too big and too expensive, in part because it is doing too 
many things it was never designed to do, in part because it has lost 
sight of the fact that it was always created at the outset to be a 
limited-purpose government, one in charge of just a few basic things: 
national defense, establishing a uniform system of weights and 
measures, declaring war; otherwise providing for our national defense, 
protecting trademarks, copyrights, and patents granting letters of mark 
and reprisal, which are fascinating instruments. Basically, you get a 
hall pass issued by Congress in the name of the United States that 
entitles the bearer to engage in state-sponsored acts of piracy on the 
high seas.
  So regardless of how long I might serve in the Senate, I do want to 
get a letter of mark and reprisal someday. I am going to be a pirate. I 
hope my friend from Alabama and my friend from Colorado will join me.
  Among those other powers was a power to establish uniform laws 
governing naturalization, what today we would perhaps more broadly call 
immigration. That is one of our jobs. So it was appropriate at this 
gathering today, where we were joined by a lot of supporters of this 
grass roots movement--we had some immigrants to this country, people 
who came here legally, people who sacrificed much, put a lot at risk in 
order to come to this country.
  They explained that one of the things that attracted them to this 
country, one of the unifying reasons all of them came to the United 
States, despite the sacrifices they had to make to get here and the 
risks they undertook in coming here, was the fact that they loved the 
rule of law. They see the difference, as all of us do anytime we travel 
to a country where the rule of law is absent, that the rule of law 
makes all the difference. You can tell almost immediately after you 
step off the plane whether you are in a country where the rule of law 
is respected, where it is honored. There are relatively few countries 
in the world where it is. Fortunately, this is one of them. It is our 
job to make sure it continues to be that way.
  Many of these immigrants commented on the fact that they find it 
distressing that while they expended the time and effort and resources 
to make sure they immigrated legally, they are disturbed about the fact 
that under this legislation, well-intentioned as it may have been, 
under this legislation 11 million people who came here illegally, for 
whatever reason, will eventually find themselves in a position of not 
only being able to stay here, not only being able to keep their current 
jobs, maintain their current circle of friends, they will actually 
become citizens.
  This reminds me of a letter that I received not too long ago from a 
schoolteacher in Utah, a schoolteacher who explained that she had come 
here on a visa, a visa that will expire in 2017. She explained to me 
that she has every expectation that she will be unable to renew and 
extend that visa. So, she said: I expect effectively to be deported in 
2017 because I do not intend to break the law of the country whose laws 
I promised to uphold if they would grant me this visa. She said: It is 
very distressing to me that meanwhile people who broke your laws, 
people who did not respect the rule of law, as I did, people who did 
not expend a lot of time and money and resources and took a lot of risk 
in applying for and obtaining the necessary visa to come here, a lot of 
people who broke all of those same laws will get to stay here, they 
will get to become citizens. That is not fair.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thought that group reflected those concerns very 
well. I think the whole grass roots movement did. As I recall, Senator 
Lee was involved in the election in many ways. It was a ramming through 
of the massive health care bill that nobody had read. We were told: 
Well, you have to pass it to find out what is in it. That generated 
that whole movement. Is this not in many ways similar? In the Senator's 
view, does it feel the same that we are moving rapidly through a bill, 
a massive consequence of over 1,000 pages, and there is a lack of 
understanding fully of what is in it?
  Mr. LEE. There certainly are some similarities. I will point out at 
the outset there are some differences, one of them being we have, 
fortunately, actually had the text of this for a little bit longer than 
I think Congress had the text of the Affordable Care Act when it 
passed. We have had some opportunity to amend it in committee. That has 
been nice. But, yes, there are a lot of similarities.
  Both bills are very lengthy. Both bills involve excessive--remarkably 
excessive--delegation of authority to decisionmakers in another branch 
of government, within the executive branch.
  There are, by one count, something like 490 instances of delegated 
discretionary decisionmaking authority. You know, this is a problem 
because for centuries, great thinkers, including our Founding Fathers 
but really going

[[Page S4774]]

back even before them, have warned that legislative power involves the 
power to make laws, not the power to make lawmakers.
  To a very significant degree, the lawmaking power is not subject to 
delegation. It should not be delegated to someone else. Obviously, we 
have to delegate a lot of tasks to the executive branch. It is the 
executive branch's job to implement, to enforce, to apply the laws that 
we pass. But on some level there is a difference that we can tell 
between giving someone the task of implementing and enforcing a law and 
giving someone else the task of coming up with policy, either policy as 
embodied in the Code of Federal Regulations or policy as embodied in 
the exercise of pure discretion that will evolve and over time become 
its own form of laws.
  This law, much like the Affordable Care Act, involves hundreds and 
hundreds of instances of delegated policymaking authority.
  One of the problems with that is when you delegate the policymaking 
authority to the executive branch, to the executive branch regulatory 
state, so to speak, you give it to people, however well-intentioned, 
however well-educated, however wise, who are not themselves elected by 
the people. They themselves don't stand accountable to the people at 
regular intervals. They themselves can act in much the same way as 
despots might have centuries ago.
  Sure, their actions could be subject to challenge in court under the 
Administrative Procedures Act, challenge them in court under a standard 
that is very deferential and not to the challenger, to the government. 
One thing that is certain, we can't go to them and say: Look, if you 
don't change this law, I am not going to vote for you again. They will 
laugh at us if you tell them that because they don't work for us. They 
don't ever have to stand for election. That is one of the problems I 
have with it.
  One of the problems it shares in common with ObamaCare is this 
excessive delegation of authority. It also shares in common with 
ObamaCare the fact that it is long. It is not quite as long as 
ObamaCare, but it is still long. Very often we find that long bills go 
hand in hand with bills that have an excessive delegation of power to 
the executive branch of government. This is what we have here.
  I find it significant that James Madison warned us in Federalist No. 
62, it will be of little benefit to the American people that their laws 
may be written by men and women of their own choosing if those laws are 
so voluminous and complex that they can't be easily read and understood 
by those governed by the same laws.
  Madison was right to point that out. It is true it is difficult to 
pick up a law like that, or twice its size, in the case of ObamaCare. 
It is difficult for the American people to pick that up, read through 
it and say: Yes, I get it, I understand what my obligations are. I 
understand what the obligations of government officials are. I can 
understand it.
  It is 10 times worse than that when this is just the tip of the 
iceberg, when this will be a tiny fraction of the paperwork that will 
be entailed and the laws that actually implement laws such as this one 
and laws such as ObamaCare. To put it in Madison's words, it is bad 
enough when the laws are so voluminous and complex they can't 
reasonably be read and understood and read by those governed by them. 
It is that much worse when most of the actual law isn't even made or 
chosen by the voters.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator for sharing those insights. It is 
important, because we are getting to a situation where we are 
delegating extraordinary power to unelected bureaucrats. What we have 
seen with regard to the current administration and their enforcement 
laws is one of the most dramatic, willful, deliberate failures to 
enforce the law I have ever seen.
  It has resulted in a most amazing circumstance. The ICE agents, the 
Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement agents, who are out there trying 
to enforce the law every day, who took an oath to enforce the law, have 
been so directed by their unelected supervisors to not enforce the law. 
They have reached the point where they have filed a lawsuit in Federal 
court against their supervisors. They sued Secretary Napolitano, and 
they said she is issuing directives and orders that contradict with our 
sworn duty as law officers to enforce the law and follow what Congress 
directed. Some of this simply came down to the fact that they are 
required to deport certain people if they are apprehended doing certain 
things. They just issue guidelines that say don't deport people.
  Think about it. Secretary Napolitano and John Morton, her ICE 
Director, who has now resigned, were directing these agents to do 
things that undermined their ability to do the most basic part of law. 
They filed a lawsuit in Federal court. The judge has heard the lawsuit 
and heard the complaints. The Department of Justice sought to dismiss 
the complaint initially, and it has not been dismissed. The judge has 
let it proceed. He, in effect, as I read the news article about it, 
basically said the Secretary is not above the law. I thought we learned 
that from Richard Nixon. No President is above the law. Nobody is above 
the law in America. This lawsuit is still ongoing.
  It is one of the most amazing things I have seen, and how little it 
has been commented on and how significant that is.
  We have the Citizenship and Immigration Services officers. Like the 
ICE officers, they have written Congress and told us they cannot do 
what the law requires them to do in this bill. They can't do what the 
law is requiring them to do now. They are overwhelmed by the 
requirements that have been placed upon them. They said the law that is 
being considered today, S. 744, makes the situation worse. Both of 
those agencies have written to Congress and said it would weaken our 
national security and place our safety at risk in America. It wouldn't 
make things better, it would make them worse.
  I think we need to say how did we get here? I believe we got here 
fundamentally because well-meaning Senators decided if you are going to 
pass a bill--we had to have La Raza happy, we had to have the unions 
happy, we had to have the business groups happy, and we had to have the 
chicken processors happy, and they all met with them. They met with 
their pollsters, their political consultants, and the politicians.
  Chris Crane, the head of the ICE officers association, wrote them 
repeatedly, saying: Let me come tell you what it is really like out 
there. They refused to hear from him. They refused to hear from him and 
his ideas. He tried everything he could. He wrote them and asked if 
they would meet with him, and they wouldn't do that.
  The legislation was written by people not connected to how the 
immigration system actually operates. The people tried their best every 
day to make this system lawful, make it effective, and make it 
something we can be proud of.
  Even under the legislation, it does not require people who want to be 
citizens and want to be given legal status in America to have a face-
to-face meeting with a single person.
  In fact, the DREAM Act, the DACA cases that are out there, they are 
not meeting with them face to face. They just give papers, read those 
papers, and process them in a way that they have no capability of 
ascertaining whether those claims of legality are legitimate.
  It is very clear from experts in the 9/11 Commission that face-to-
face interviews make a huge difference. One of the hijackers who was 
supposed to be the terrorist, who was supposed to be on the plane that 
may have hit the Capitol of the United States or the White House, the 
one that went down in Pennsylvania, one of those was identified in a 
face-to-face meeting by an alert officer. He held him up, and he was 
not on that plane. Who knows, one more terrorist on that plane might 
have enabled them to control that plane and succeed in wreaking 
devastation on Washington, DC. Maybe those patriots who brought that 
plane down, giving their lives to save this Capitol, may not have been 
able to do so had there been one more terrorist on that plane. I have 
to say this is important material. I don't know what the language is 
about the border and how many agents they have there.

  I know this, we have had testimony from witnesses and the 9/11 
Commission that we need an entry-exit visa system. We already have most 
of it. When you come into the country, they

[[Page S4775]]

take your fingerprints, and you are clocked into the country. We are 
not clocking people out of the country.
  The 9/11 Commission, in a followup meeting of that commission to 
review how America had complied with their original suggestions, 
repeated their concern that we need this entry-exit visa system. The 
current law that has been passed, about six times, and is current law 
today, says we should have a biometric entry-exit visa system at all 
air, land, and sea ports.
  This legislation guts that requirement. It eliminates the biometric, 
which means you don't use something like a fingerprint, which would be 
the most common thing to use. It would be some sort of an electronic 
system that is recognized to be weaker, and it doesn't require it to be 
in place at the land ports. The 9/11 Commission explicitly reviewed 
that, and they said the system won't work because people can fly in to 
Houston, fly in to Los Angeles, go back across the border, fly in to 
New York and exit through New Mexico. They can do these things and, 
therefore, the system won't work. We don't know who overstayed and who 
didn't overstay.
  What we learned was it is not too expensive. They claimed it was 
going to be $25 billion. Where did this figure come from? It was raised 
in committee, you may remember. Senator Schumer said it will be $25 
billion. What we found was they did a pilot project in Atlanta and I 
believe Philadelphia. People came through to get on a plane to depart 
America. They put their fingerprints on a machine. They go right on by, 
and those who are in violation have warrants out for their arrest or 
are on a terrorist watch list, are picked up.
  Amazingly, amazingly, in Atlanta they did 20,000 people as a pilot 
project. They failed 134, I believe, who had warrants for their arrest 
and got hits on the watch list. Some of these could be serious 
  I think that is one more example of weaknesses in the legislation 
that apparently are not being addressed. This is one more proof that 
the bill before us today weakens current law, directly weakening our 
entry-exit visa system that the 9/11 Commission has said we must 
  There are a lot of things I am concerned about in the legislation. 
This is one of them. It has to be fixed. I am afraid we are not on the 
path to do that. Special interests have opposed that over the years. It 
has been debated, debated, and debated. Finally a decision has been 
made. Multiple times Congress has directed this to occur, but it still 
has not occurred.
  I wanted to share that. Maybe the Senator has other thoughts he 
wishes to share.
  Mr. LEE. The Senator mentioned a few moments ago that in some 
circumstances there has been some indication that perhaps the Secretary 
of Homeland Security believes she is above the law. In some respects, 
when reading through this bill, we can conclude that if it passes she 
will become the law. She will be the law. With hundreds and hundreds of 
instances in which she will be given vast discretion to make all kinds 
of determinations about who stays and who doesn't, what happens under 
what circumstance and what program, she actually sort of becomes the 
law. This becomes an active administrative discretion, rather than an 
act that helps bolster the rule of law. That certainly is a concern we 
have over time.
  We do wonder at times also why it is we have legislation that remains 
secret for so long. In other words, we have commented on the fact that 
we have been waiting for this mysterious amendment. We have wondered 
why we haven't seen it. I wonder if the reason why we haven't seen it 
is because they are still negotiating in secret trying to sweeten the 
pot so they can ram it through. It makes me wonder whether we can 
anticipate another ``cornhusker kickback,'' another ``Louisiana 
purchase,'' yet another parallel between the Affordable Care Act and 
this legislation we have before us today. It is another concern I have.
  I am also concerned about the same talking points to which I alluded 
earlier, the same talking points we have had since before we even had 
this bill--the talking points I alluded to earlier that I described as 
being to the effect of saying: Is there anything wrong with this bill? 
No. Is this bill excellent? Yes, absolutely it is. Those are the same 
talking points that convinced a lot of people to come out and support 
the bill before the bill even existed.
  Mr. SESSIONS. If the Senator will remember, in committee my able 
colleague Senator Schumer said this was the toughest bill ever, as I 
recall. And it was tough as nails. But it looks like now we are being 
told it wasn't so tough because we have added an amendment that is 
going to make it tough.
  So is that kind of what the Senator is saying when he refers to the 
talking points, that we have to go beyond the bill? If it was so tough 
to begin with, why did they have to pass another amendment now to make 
it a lot tougher now?
  Mr. LEE. I guess it wasn't tough enough and they are trying to make 
it even tougher. Yes, that is an interesting point. A lot of people got 
caught up in that kind of mindset even before the bill was released.
  The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, an institution in my own home 
State, came out overwhelmingly in support of this bill. But the problem 
was the bill didn't even exist. They were going off the talking points. 
And here is the problem: The talking points were wrong. The talking 
points proved to be grossly misleading.
  The talking points told us--and the proponents of the bill have 
continued to tell us for months, even after the bill text came out and 
even after we had reason to know better--quite a few things. They told 
us, No. 1, illegal aliens who would be legalized and who would be put 
on the path to citizenship under this bill would have to pay back taxes 
as a condition of their legalization. Did that turn out to be true? 
Absolutely not.
  When we read the fine print, one thing is very clear. They have to 
pay only those back taxes that have previously been assessed by the 
Internal Revenue Service. What does that mean? Well, they have to be 
found due and owing. They have to have been assessed by the IRS. An 
individual doesn't have taxes assessed by the IRS if, as is often the 
case for someone who has been working here illegally, they are working 
off the books.
  This is what we call an illusory promise. They offered us the sleeves 
off their vest. They offered us something that didn't exist in the 
first place.
  We were also told a number of other things about this bill. We were 
told there would be a lot of people who would be excluded. Yet we 
discovered there are a lot of people who, even after having committed 
crimes in this country, even after having illegally reentered the 
country following a previous deportation, which, by the way, is a 
felony, many of those people will still be able to get legalized and 
not just remain in this country and continue working but also continue 
on the path to citizenship and eventually become voting citizens of 
this country.
  We were told those people who are illegal aliens currently, who would 
be eligible for legalization and eventual citizenship, would not be 
eligible during their provisional status, during their interim status, 
or RPI status, as we call it under the bill, wouldn't be eligible for 
means-tested welfare benefits.
  Did that turn out to be true? No. They are still eligible, for 
example, for the earned-income tax credit, which some have described as 
the most generous and largest, in some respects, means-tested program 
we have.
  So these things turned out not to be true. Yet a lot of people are 
still asking their Members of Congress to support this very same 
legislation, and not because they have read it, not because any of 
those promises are true, but because they are still believing the 
promises contained in the original set of talking points, which most 
people think are the bill. That is disturbing.
  Mr. SESSIONS. It is. I think it is like smelling the sizzling steak 
that turns out to be shoe leather. It sounds good when they talk about 
it. I said: Wow, that sounds good. And if it accomplished all the 
things they promised, I would be intrigued by that legislation. It 
would have a chance to get my vote.
  Well, we made a list, just as Senator Lee did, of some of the things 
we were told repeatedly about this legislation. We were told it was 
border security

[[Page S4776]]

first. Now, I don't think anybody denies that amnesty is the one thing 
that will happen. Everything else is going to be promised to occur in 
the future. So that was not an honest and correct promise.
  Then it was said it was going to be the toughest enforcement ever. 
Well, I would just say to my colleague, this legislation is not as 
tough as the 2007 bill. As an example, it weakened the standard of 
enforcement at the border from current law that they are still debating 
and can't reach an agreement over. It weakens the current law's 
  As I just established earlier, it weakened the entry-exit visa system 
absolutely on a key and fundamental point, making the entry-exit visa 
system not workable; whereas today, if the administration did it 
properly, it would work.
  The Senator just mentioned back taxes. That is a flimflam if there 
ever was one. We hear that over and over--people are going to pay their 
back taxes. The IRS is not going to go out and try to run down 11 
million people who have been here illegally and have been working and 
try to find out how much they owe and then collect taxes from them. It 
is not physically practical. It will never happen. It is a talking 
point, just as the Senator said, and not reality.
  They are going to learn English. That sounds good. We are for making 
people learn English. But if a person is going to get legal status, a 
Social Security number, the ability to go to work almost immediately, 
and 10 years later, if they haven't learned English, under the language 
of the bill all they have to do is to enroll in a course. They do not 
have to complete the course or anything. It only occurs when they are 
at the point of becoming a legal permanent resident. That is 10 years 
  Then no welfare benefits. The Senator just mentioned the biggest is 
the earned-income tax credit. I offered an amendment to validate the 
sponsors' promise in the Judiciary Committee, if the Senator will 
recall, and it was voted down. So they said we are not going to have 
any welfare, but the Congressional Budget Office--well, it is obvious. 
The earned-income tax credit is not a tax deduction, it is a direct 
payment from the U.S. Treasury to people who qualify for this subsidy. 
So that is one of the biggest ones we have, and it is still protected. 
They can still obtain it.
  Then they say: We will end illegal immigration. That was a firm 
promise--to end illegal immigration. The toughest bill ever. The 
Congressional Budget Office report that came out yesterday said it 
would only reduce illegal immigration by 25 percent. I think it was a 
difference of we would have 7.5 million people enter the country 
illegally instead of 10 million people entering the country illegally 
over the next 10 years. How pathetic is that?
  So we are going to give amnesty, benefits, and all of this, and we 
are going to promise the American people we are going to fix the broken 
border, but it is not there. The promises aren't there.
  We haven't even seen this new amendment. Now we are going to have all 
these agents, we are going to fix the border, everything is going to be 
taken care of, and we say: Well, we would like to read your bill. The 
last time you weren't so accurate, were you? Last time the promises 
weren't fulfilled in your bill. Now you are scrambling around, your 
bill is in big trouble, people are asking some real tough questions, 
you don't have answers for them, and so a group comes together. They 
are secretly meeting over here today, and now they have the toughest 
amendment ever, I guess. But when do we read it? When do we see it? We 
were told we were going to have it at 6 o'clock. It is now 8:30.
  So I agree with the Senator from Utah. I don't think talking points 
are going to cut it. Doesn't the Senator agree the power is in the 
legislation and not in talking points?
  Mr. LEE. Yes. Yes.
  One of the most galling aspects of this entire debate and what has 
occurred today, as this amendment is being crafted behind closed doors 
in secret, we have had dozens and dozens of amendments that are 
written, that have been filed, that have been prepared, some of which 
are now pending before the Senate. Have we had a chance to have a vote 
on those? No. We are told we have to wait for the Corker amendment, 
which isn't even written.
  So those who have been working on this for months and months and 
months, who have written our own amendments and have aired them 
publicly, allowed our constituents and people throughout the country to 
view our amendments, we are shut out. We are shut out and we are shut 
down and we are told we don't get a vote on them because we have to 
wait for the Corker amendment. That doesn't seem fair or just to me.
  Now, let's look around the room. It is not as though this place is 
jam-packed with people. It looks like we have kind of been abandoned. A 
few hours ago we had all of us here and we were ready to vote on those 
amendments. We could have had a lot of votes. We were told to expect 
votes. I was hoping to have votes. I had a very important amendment on 
which I wanted to get a vote. It was a vote on an amendment to make 
sure the 40 percent of the border owned by the Federal Government could 
be accessed by our own Border Patrol agents so they can do their jobs.
  The Senator referred earlier to a problem we have had with our law 
enforcement personnel being told they can't do their jobs. This is one 
of those many instances where they can't. Forty percent of our border 
is owned by the Federal Government. I am sympathetic to this because 
two-thirds of the land in my State is owned by the Federal Government, 
and it is terrible because we can't access most of that land. We can't 
even walk on that land without saying ``Mother, may I.'' And most of 
the time, to walk on it, it is like a sand trap on a golf course. You 
have to walk in with a rake behind you. You rake your way in, rake your 
way out, and ask permission for everything you do. The border is kind 
of the same way. There are federally owned areas of the border. We have 
huge stretches of border--40 percent of it--where they can't enforce 
the law because it is owned by the Federal Government and there are 
environmental laws that prohibit these agents from doing their jobs.
  It would be one thing if that actually protected the environment, but 
it doesn't because what happens is those same areas--those same 
environmentally sensitive, federally owned areas--are the ones illegal 
immigrants most prefer when they choose to cross into this country. So 
what do we have? We have a long trail of litter and environmental 
destruction in the areas where they cross through illegally.
  This is just one of many amendments that have been filed, that are 
already written, that we could have and should have been voting on and 
we haven't been.
  I have a dire prediction to make. I suspect when we come back next 
week, we might be told, even though the place doesn't seem to be in any 
hurry right now, all of a sudden we will be in a hurry next week. So 
much so I fear we will be told we have to pass this bill now. It all 
has to be passed now. We don't have time for any more of these pesky 
amendments from these pesky Senators from all over this great country 
of the United States of America. We have to pass this now.
  Well, we have had time to vote on other amendments, and we have 
squandered that opportunity or we have had it squandered for us. The 
Senator from Alabama and I, and a number of others, have been ready to 
vote on our amendments--amendments that have been prepared for a long 
time, that have been aired for the public to view for a long time--and 
we haven't been allowed a vote. I have a problem with that.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, it is going to be that way, it does look like. We 
have been talking about trying to find out what the plan is and what 
kind of process we can use to go forward, but the ability to get 
amendments does seem to be slipping away. And there are a lot of 
excuses and reasons, but all I would say is we are getting ready to 
vote on a huge important bill that will change immigration law in 
America, and the American people deserve to have their Representatives 
fix it and make it better, if they can.
  I truly think there will be no excuse if we get into a rush, as the 
Senator correctly predicts, I am afraid, next week. That will just 
slide by if we have

[[Page S4777]]

to pass the bill essentially as is, after the experts tell us it has 
all been fixed now.
  So I just would ask the Senator about this border situation. Just as 
a normal citizen, I would think if the U.S. Government wanted to have 
the ability to work on the border and do things on the border, it would 
be easier if the government already owned the land than if it were in 
the hands of someone else. At a very minimum we ought to be able to 
protect the border of the United States, our national sovereignty, in 
that fashion. Not to even be able to use land the government already 
owns is pretty baffling to me.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  There is an order to recognize the majority leader at 8:30 p.m.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair. That is correct.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the previous 
order be extended; that is, that there be 1 additional hour for debate 
only equally divided between the two parties; and that any quorum calls 
during this period of time be charged to both sides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the previous order said I would be 
recognized when the time ran out. So I ask that it be the case that I 
be recognized at 9:30.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, again, I thank the majority leader.
  I have heard some talk tonight from some saying they wished there 
would be votes.
  I finally have given up handing long lists of amendments we are 
prepared to vote on to the Republican side, both Republican and 
Democratic amendments. Each time, that was rejected. Most of them were 
amendments with no controversy, Republican and Democratic alike, and 
would have been accepted.
  I think back to the debate we had in the Senate Judiciary Committee 
where we actually voted on amendments. We brought up 140 or so. All but 
two or three passed with bipartisan votes. About 40 Republican 
amendments passed on bipartisan votes. Yet when it came onto the floor 
of the Senate, my friends on the other side, time and time again, 
objected to bringing up amendments that would pass unanimously, both 
Republican and Democratic.
  I suppose in one case we have some who don't want any immigration 
bill, and others are probably waiting for a cloture vote.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum, and I ask the time be equally 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is the order.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, we have another hour waiting now to get 
this magic amendment we have been waiting for that is going to cause us 
all to be able to sleep well tonight, and everything is going to be 
taken care of if the Hoeven-Corker amendment is blessed. Apparently, 
they are running people into a secret room trying to get them to sign 
up to vote for it and vote for final passage and promising them some 
corn, I guess, a Louisiana Purchase or something to try to line them up 
and get the system done.
  But I would indicate that this side had agreed to about as many as 16 
amendments earlier. As this exciting new ``superamendment'' came along, 
it does seem what has happened is the train jumped the track. The 
amendments we thought we would be voting on even later in the afternoon 
got jumped off the track. Now we are all waiting on the favored 
amendment, the amendment that everyone seems to think has to get 
preference over everybody else; whereas, we could be voting right this 
minute on many of the amendments. If we started voting on the ones that 
had been agreed to and cleared on this side, I think we would even be 
finished long before now.
  I would look to Senator Lee.
  Mr. LEE. It certainly would have been the case that had we started 
voting earlier today, I think we could have gotten through the list.
  I was surprised by what our friend from Vermont said a few minutes 
ago, suggesting that Republicans have held up all this.
  My understanding is that last night we were close to a unanimous 
consent on a proposal to bring some 16 amendments to the floor for a 
vote. We were getting closer and closer to that.
  It was at that point when the senior Senator from Louisiana came to 
the floor and demanded that all of this cease, unless or until such 
time as 27 amendments that she was pushing for not only would be 
brought to the floor for a vote but be passed by unanimous consent.
  It was a rather unusual request, from what I can tell. I am still a 
new Senator. I have only been here 2\1/2\ years, but it seems to me to 
be something that doesn't happen very often. But it certainly was a 
different sequence of events than what was described by our friend from 
Vermont a few minutes ago.
  Look, we wanted amendments. Some of us have been working on this bill 
for many months, and we have prepared amendments. We have had those 
amendments. We have made them available to members of the public for a 
long time so they can be reviewed. We just want to debate them, discuss 
them, vote on them, and move on.
  I suppose it is important that we proceed, with a matter of 
legislation as important as this one--this very significant bill that 
will affect many millions of Americans and will do so for many 
generations to come. It is important that we proceed with all 
deliberate speed, meaning we proceed just quickly enough but not so 
quickly as to blow past important opportunities to consider every 
option, every possible amendment that needs to be brought forward.
  So perhaps it is with that in mind that we have suspended things a 
little bit, we have slowed things down a little to wait for this one 
amendment. I still don't understand why we couldn't have been voting on 
other amendments--amendments that are already written.
  But still, just the same, if this is what we need to do--and the 
place doesn't appear to be in any hurry--we can do it that way. I hope 
I can take that with some encouragement, as an encouraging indication 
that this is how we are going to proceed on this bill because it is so 
important and that is perhaps some indication that next week we will 
still be able to vote on other amendments, amendments that preceded the 
Corker amendment in time and in preparation--that we will still get 
votes on those. Because if we are willing to wait this long for one 
amendment that is just being written now, we ought to have those other 
votes on other amendments that are ahead of it in time, that were filed 
previously, that were made public much earlier.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I think the Senator is making a valuable point. I don't 
believe there is any justification for the process stopping today.
  I would say it is convenient to say to the press and the American 
people: A big development has occurred. Everything is on hold. We are 
going to move this amendment. It is going to fix everything that you 
are concerned about.
  That is part of the drive, the vision, the message being put out 
  I suspect a number of Senators--maybe in the majority party 
particularly--felt like they didn't want to vote on these 16 
amendments. Some of them would actually make the bill work better. Some 
of them have some tough law enforcement provisions in them, tough in 
the sense they are fair and will work and actually tighten this system 
that is so out of control, and they didn't want to vote on those 
amendments. So I am sure maybe they complained to the distinguished 
majority leader and others.
  But all I know is that we were moving along. People were saying from 
the other side let's get some votes. I said I am ready to vote. Let's 
vote. So agreements were being reached, and all of a sudden it 
stopped--on one favored amendment. That is what we are all focused on 
  I agree with Senator Lee that somehow all of us are supposed to be 
equal in this spot, that one Senator is not

[[Page S4778]]

supposed to be better than the others, and we all ought to be able to 
come to the floor and offer a legitimate amendment, debate it, and get 
a vote.
  Mr. LEE. I suppose in that respect all Senators are equal, but some 
are simply more equal than others. It is disturbing that happens from 
time to time, when we discover that the equality that is supposed to 
serve as the hallmark of this institution, that is supposed to separate 
it from the House just down the hall from us and from other legislative 
bodies throughout the country and throughout the world is, perhaps, 
faded a little bit in our public consciousness. Perhaps that is faded a 
little bit in the way it operates, but it should not be and we ought to 
be able to restore it. We ought to be able to focus on the real, 
pressing needs of this country.

  Immigration reform is something I think every one of us can agree 
needs to happen. There is not one Member of this body--at least not one 
of whom I am aware--who does not want real, robust immigration reform, 
nor do I believe there is one Member of this body who would dispute 
that there is a real opportunity for broad-based bipartisan consensus 
when it comes to immigration reform. I think the best way we could 
achieve that is to start in those areas in which there is the most 
broad-based bipartisan consensus.
  I have yet to meet a single Senator or single Representative from 
either political party who is willing to say, for example, that we 
don't need to bolster border security. Maybe such a Senator or maybe 
such a Representative exists. If that is the case, I have yet to meet 
that Senator or that Representative. I have yet to meet a single 
Senator or Representative from either political party, by the same 
token, who has said we don't need to update and modernize our legal 
immigration system, we don't need to review our visa programs--which, 
as I have said before, are sort of stuck in the Buddy Holly era. These 
are things we need to do, and I think we could pass bills dealing with 
each of those. I think we could pass both of them with overwhelming 
bipartisan consensus.
  So that begs the question: Why, then, would you want to wrap those up 
and tie them up with the single most controversial element of 
immigration reform, which deals with the pathway to legalization and 
citizenship? Why do you suppose it is so important that we move 
directly to that?
  Mr. SESSIONS. It does raise a question. It has really not been 
properly discussed. I believe my colleague makes a reference to the 
citizenship path? Is that what the Senator said?
  I have given a lot of thought to it over the years. In 2007 it was 
discussed. I reached a serious conclusion. Other people might disagree. 
This is what I concluded. I concluded that after 1986, when every 
benefit the Nation could give was given to people who came here 
illegally and it did not work and we had even more people come and 
enforcement never occurred, then really a great nation such as the 
United States, which is in a position to allow somebody legal status in 
their country, is not required to give every single benefit to somebody 
who comes illegally as somebody who comes legally.
  In fact, I believe it is very important, as a matter of principle, 
that the United States say, based on our experience in 1986: You come 
to the United States lawfully, we will allow you to have a path to 
citizenship; your children born here, they will be citizens. But if you 
do not come lawfully, we might agree out of compassion, out of concern 
to allow you to live here the rest of your life and work and give you a 
Social Security card and allow you to benefit in America, but you don't 
get everything. You don't get every honor this Nation can give if you 
did not follow the law when you came here.
  I think that is legitimate as a matter of principle, as a matter of 
fairness, as a matter of the Constitution and law. That is where I am 
on that subject.
  Mr. LEE. Perhaps it is for that reason that for many people the 
pathway to citizenship component of this bill is perhaps the single 
most contentious issue. I don't think there is any issue that even 
comes close to the pathway to citizenship in terms of its ability to 
divide Americans along partisan lines or along other ideological lines. 
It makes me wonder why it is so important for us to pack this all in 
one bill. Why do we need a single thousand-page bill? Why can't we pass 
this in steps, especially when we come to an understanding of the fact 
that if we do it in the proper sequence, much of the problem will be 
easier to resolve? Much of the problem will be more amenable to a more 
clear solution.
  Many of those among us who are undocumented are here in an 
undocumented state not necessarily because they want to become 
citizens, not necessarily because they want to live here in perpetuity. 
In many instances I am told a lot of these people are here year in and 
year out because they are afraid that if they leave and go home, they 
will not be able to get back in.
  But if we had updated and modernized our legal immigration system--if 
we could do that, if we could get those laws implemented, I suspect a 
lot of those people would choose to be able to go back home to their 
home countries, be with families and loved ones, knowing that the next 
time they wanted to come back to the United States to work, they would 
have a fair shot at doing it, that there would be a clear pathway for 
them to apply for some kind of legal status coming into this country to 
work for a time. If they had greater certainty that they would actually 
be able to get back in, perhaps they would not choose to remain here 
year in and year out. At that point, we might have a different 
circumstance on our hands. Rather than 11 million people, perhaps the 
number would be different than that. I am not sure.
  But one thing I do know is that if there is one way to make it more 
difficult to enact immigration reform, if there is one way to make it 
less likely that we will have broad-based bipartisan consensus for 
immigration reform, the one way to do that, the one way to ensure that 
it is going to be as contentious, as partisan, as difficult as possible 
is to fold it all into one, put it in a thousand-page bill and say: You 
have to take all of it. You have to take every bit of it, all of it, or 
you get none of it.
  We are told in this town all the time that we have to compromise. It 
is interesting. I get a lot of phone calls in my office from 
constituents. Some of those phone calls say: You need to compromise; 
make sure you compromise. Other phone calls say: Never, ever, ever 
compromise. Those in the first group are inclined to say: Compromise in 
a box with a fox in the rain on a train--all kinds of things. Anytime 
you get a chance to compromise, do it. But both sets of callers making 
one point or the other are sort of missing the point. Compromise is not 
an end destination, it is not a substantive end in itself, it is a 
  In the case of a legislative body consisting of more than one person, 
it is an inevitability. The question is not where to compromise or 
whether; the point of compromise is under what circumstance are you 
willing to and, more importantly, under what circumstance are you not 
willing to compromise.
  If the objective is to find those areas where there is the greatest 
possibility of compromise, what we ought to be doing is passing a 
series of bills in a proper sequence: one bill dealing with border 
security; another perhaps dealing with an entry-exit system; another 
dealing with an update to our existing visa programs. In time, once 
those things are passed and they have been implemented, I think we will 
be in a much better position to achieve broad-based bipartisan 
  On the vexing, difficult question of how best to treat the 11 million 
undocumented workers in this country in a manner that is both 
compassionate and just, I think we can get there. I know we can. And I 
am equally certain that this bill--this bill that tries to lump 
everything into one, tries to ram the entire issue right through this 
body--is not the answer. This is not how we are going to get 
immigration reform.
  If what you want to do is to stall out true immigration reform, then 
by all means put all your eggs in this basket right here. But if you 
want real immigration reform, proceed with the step-by-step path. That 
is where you are going to get bipartisanship. That is where you are 
going to get compromise. In fact, that is where compromise is to be 
found because that is where more people will get more of what they want 
out of government.
  Would the Senator tend to agree with that analysis, that we would be 
better off with a step-by-step approach?

[[Page S4779]]

  Mr. SESSIONS. I really do. I think the American people would feel 
better about it. I remember after the immigration bill last time, and 
the ObamaCare, Senator Lamar Alexander, one of our more respected 
Members, said: We don't do comprehensive very well in the Senate. I 
think that is right because these matters are so complex. For example, 
I have offered a very detailed amendment dealing with simply how the 
ICE agents will have to identify and deport people they apprehend who 
came in violation of the law. That is very difficult. We talked earlier 
about the entry-exit visa system. We have been working on it for years. 
The law requires it now. We simply need to go the last distance and get 
it done. But this bill backs away from it. It would take some time. It 
really should be a separate piece of legislation to deal with the 
entire visa system.
  Then you have how many people come and what skills they should bring 
and should they not be more merit-based. The bill claims to make 
progress in that regard, but it is very--it is really not because the 
nonskilled percentage goes up even though we do have more skilled 
workers. But the percentage still is out of whack because most people 
will be coming without reference to their skills. That really needs a 
lot of time, thought, and effort.
  Then the border itself is a complex issue.
  Then, how should we best create a seasonal worker, guest worker 
program for our agricultural industry, which does need seasonal 
workers? And we can create something that will work for them, but, boy, 
that takes a lot of care too.
  This bill says people come--many of them in these guest worker 
programs--for 3 years with their family, and they get to stay another 3 
years and maybe another 3 years. Presumably, if they do not have a job, 
they are supposed to go home. Do you think we are going to try to round 
up people and deport people who have been here for 6, 9 years, deport 
them and send them home if they are out of work for a while? It just 
doesn't sound like a practical solution. So a real temporary guest 
worker program, it seems to me, should be drafted with great care, and 
to the extent possible a person would come without family to do a 
specific job and then return.
  There are lots of other examples in the bill that should have 
fundamentally separate pieces of legislation, thoughtfully considered, 
with law enforcement officers participating, economists being 
considered, and studies being conducted to see the best way to serve 
the American interests. That should be our goal--serving the legitimate 
national interests of America, including security. That could be the 
subject of another bit of it, how to enhance our national security from 
terrorists and other dangerous people who would enter the country.
  Mr. LEE. It is interesting. When I have individuals and groups come 
through my office telling me they would like me to support this bill, I 
ask them, of course, why. Inevitably they will point to usually just 
one or two of the countless provisions in this thousand-page bill. It 
is almost always because of one very discrete component within the bill 
that they like. Perhaps they like the high-skilled visa reform. Perhaps 
they like the low-skilled visa reform. Perhaps they like some piece 
here or there. But it is always one or two very discrete provisions. 
That is what caused them to say: I want you to vote for this thousand-
page bill.
  Inevitably I will ask them: Have you read the whole bill? If you 
haven't read the whole bill, have you at least studied the whole bill? 
Have you studied each of the constituent parts? Have you studied the 
implications of all the other provisions for which you would be asking 
me to vote?
  Inevitably the answer is no. It is an unqualified, unapologetic no, 
and in many cases it is a no that is uttered in a way that makes me 
realize they have not considered the question. I don't fault them for 
that. Their job is not to legislate, their job is to advocate. In many 
instances, they are advocates. In other instances, they are citizen 
groups who are just expressing their opinions, and they have every 
right to do so. But my job is to legislate. Before I am asked to vote 
for a bill, before I am going to vote yes on something to make it law, 
I have to read it. I have to understand it. And I have to like not just 
one or two provisions, I have to be convinced that on balance this bill 
makes sense for the American people and it will do considerably more 
good than harm. At a minimum, it won't do more harm than good. I can't 
answer that question that way with this bill. I just cannot get there.
  So I invite all of the American people, anyone who might be hearing 
my voice, to join me in this dialog, to join in this discussion. If you 
want to be part of the immigration solution, read the bill. If you 
don't want to read the whole bill, just study the whole bill. At least 
read a robust summary--not the cheerleading talking points put out by 
the bill's principal advocates, but read a really robust synopsis that 
tells you how all the pieces connect together, and then tell me whether 
you think I should vote for it.
  Most of the time, if people do it that way, they are going to come at 
this with a very different conclusion.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I had the pleasure to talk a little with Congressman 
Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and have 
followed some of the work they are doing over there. I think they are 
doing exactly what the Senator has referred to.

  The first piece of legislation they are working on--and they have a 
large number of experienced House Members who signed on to it: former 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, Jim 
Sensenbrenner, and others such as Trey Gowdy, who was a Federal 
prosecutor for many years, so he understands the law. They have written 
a bill that deals with the internal interior enforcement.
  They heard from ICE officers, they heard from Border Patrol officers, 
and they studied the reality of the situation. They carefully worked 
through it, and they produced a piece of legislation that I believe 
would be a tremendous asset to the effective enforcement of law in 
America on the internal side--one of the aspects of reform that ought 
to be done right if we do reform at all. If we do a comprehensive 
reform, every part has to be done right.
  They can't have a bucket, fix two holes, and leave three more or the 
water will run out. I think that is where we go off base. If you bite 
off more than you can chew, it becomes a political thing.
  So I am selling a vision. My vision is that my bill is going to end 
illegality, make everybody happy, make money for America, reduce our 
deficit, and everybody should thank me. But the bill, as the Senator 
and I have studied it, doesn't do that. There are too many flaws in it 
because it is too big.
  The Members who worked on this bill are busy Senators. They are 
involved in tax reform, they are involved in Libya and Syria, they have 
defense issues, and all kinds of issues. They don't have time to 
rewrite the entire immigration law of America in a detailed, effective 
way all at one time. So that is what we have. We have a document that 
seeks to justify talking points, visions, images, and feel-good 
  The Senator from Utah is a good lawyer and the Senator knows that 
what is in the bill is what counts. Will the words actually and 
effectively accomplish what has been promised for it?
  I was a Federal prosecutor for almost 15 years. My judgment tells me 
it will not work. It is not what has been promised, and we ought not to 
have the American people saddled with a bill that promises good, but in 
reality is not good. So that is my fundamental concern about this.
  Mr. LEE. That is one of the reasons why I think if we were to break 
it up into its constituent parts and debate and vote on each one as a 
separate bill, I think the American people would be better served. I 
think more of the American people would get more of what they want out 
of immigration reform if we were to do it that way.
  So in many ways the people who come into my office and tell me: I 
want you to support this bill, and I want you to support it because I 
like section 345, or whatever section they are talking about, in a lot 
of ways they are making my point for me. We ought to address this one 
piece at a time, just as they are addressing it with me.
  They are not really saying: I want you to vote for S. 744. I mean, 
technically, they are saying that; but in reality what they are saying 
is, I want you to vote for the section I like. That

[[Page S4780]]

is exactly what we ought to be doing. We ought to vote for the section 
they like, and we ought to vote for it one section at a time, one piece 
at a time. We will be in a much better position if we do it that way.
  I want to commend our chairman who is with us in the Chamber right 
now. I commend him for the manner in which he conducted the markup 
within the Judiciary Committee.
  After being in the Senate now for just 2\1/2\ years, I have been 
disappointed at the number of instances in which we have debated, 
discussed, and ultimately voted on the bills on the floor without a lot 
of opportunities for amendments. Our chairman did a good job in the way 
he ran the markup. We had countless opportunities to introduce 
amendments, which our chairman allowed, and I appreciated that. I think 
he did the right thing by opening that up and saying: Look, if you have 
an amendment, I, as the chairman of this committee, want to be sure you 
have the chance to air your amendment. I think that is the way we ought 
to work here.
  It is not the way things have been working here. Perhaps we can take 
some hope in the fact that since things have slowed down for about 12 
hours now with this one single amendment--perhaps that is an indication 
that our friends in the majority are willing to slow down and give this 
the time it needs to make sure we all have adequate time for our 
amendments. Perhaps not to give this much time to all other amendments 
someone wants to write on the fly, but at a minimum it ought to mean we 
get enough time to vote on all of those amendments that were prepared 
before the Corker amendment came to be an issue.
  Yet I fear and I worry a little bit that it might not mean that. I 
worry a little bit, based on what I have seen over the last 2\1/2\ 
years, that come next week, we might all of a sudden transform from a 
very sleepy Chamber, which we are now--practically vacant and moving 
very slowly, if at all--to a Chamber that is being told we have to run 
as fast as we possibly can, that we have to pass this 1,000-page bill 
in haste, that there simply is not time to consider amendments that 
have been prepared and aired publicly for weeks because we have to pass 
it right now.
  We will not be given specific reasons as to why we have to pass it 
right now, but I fear we could be told we have to pass it this week, 
and it cannot wait a single additional week, it cannot wait a single 
additional day. At that moment I hope we will remind our friends in the 
majority--particularly our friend the majority leader--that on days 
like today, the Senate was moving really slowly, and most of the time 
the Senate was moving not at all.
  I hope he will give us time to air the amendments that the American 
people deserve to have considered fully.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Well, it is now 10 minutes after 9. We were told that 
this special amendment that is going to fix everything in the bill 
would be produced at 6 p.m. Apparently, Senators have been going out of 
the secret room somewhere and being hot-boxed or had their arms twisted 
or given promises to get them to sign on to this new train that will 
move rapidly forward. At least that is what it looks like to me.
  What we are hearing is--and I don't doubt it--as soon as that 
amendment is brought forth and filed tonight, some may ask: Why do you 
want to file it tonight? Well, they want to file it tonight so they can 
file cloture immediately. They want to file cloture so they can shut 
off debate immediately so they would be able to move the bill forward 
early next week. So that is the process, and it is favoring one 
amendment above everything else.
  I am willing to look at it, and I look forward to receiving it, but 
it is almost past my bedtime. I normally would like to think I was 
heading to slumberland at this time, if not in the bed, and try to 
start earlier around here in the mornings.
  So here we are, waiting for the bill to be filed. Senators have gone 
home for the most part. They have already gone home for the weekend. 
There is no real business or votes going to occur, but they could have 
if we had started earlier today like the plans were, as I understood 
  I am uneasy, as is my colleague, that this place is not going to be 
relaxed next week. I think the speed is going to pick up, and we are 
going to be told: We have to move, move, move, so there is not enough 
time for your amendment. Sorry.
  That is the pattern too often here, and we end up with just a piddly 
few amendments that are not worthy of the great subject of this debate, 
and I am just sad about it. I thought for a while there we were going 
to really get into some amendments this week, and I thought it would be 
the right thing. We will see what happens.
  Mr. LEE. We will see, indeed. There have been just a couple of 
occasions when I have seen the Senate work as I think it should work 
and casting a lot of votes. That is how it is supposed to function. 
That is the kind of body we all thought we were joining when we were 
elected to the Senate--a body that debates, discusses, and most 
importantly, votes.
  The legislative process doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot if all 
that happens is we wait for just a few people to emerge from a back 
room with a document that no one has read, and people are told to vote 
up or down on this, and this is the only vote we are going to get on 
this issue, or this is one of only a small handful of votes we are 
going to get on this issue. It doesn't mean a whole lot.
  When it means a whole lot is when we have an opportunity to cast a 
lot of votes and every Senator is given an opportunity to have an input 
on a piece of legislation, every Senator is given an opportunity to 
express his or her mind, and to express the views, the concerns, the 
needs, of his or her respective constituents from around the country.
  Remember a few weeks ago when we were discussing the budget 
resolution, we stayed here all night. We stayed here until about 5:30 
in the morning, as I recall, casting vote after vote after vote. It was 
exhilarating. It was refreshing. It was necessary. I thought: This is 
how a republic is supposed to operate.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Constituents have a right to hold us accountable. It 
has become the mood of the leadership--really of both parties--to 
protect Members from tough votes. Members say: Of those 16 amendments, 
there are 2 that I don't want to vote on because I will make somebody 
mad back home. But we are paid to vote. We are paid to be 
representatives. We are paid to be accountable.
  The American people ought to be able to hold us accountable, and if 
we don't vote, they have a difficult time knowing what we are actually 
doing up here. They have a difficult time of holding us accountable--as 
they have a right to do in a democratic republic where elections 
count--and they need to be able to judge us before they reelect us or 
vote us out of office. I think this is a big part of this trend to 
avoid voting to protect Members.
  Now Senator McConnell--a very experienced Senator who loves the 
Senate--used to always say that the burden of the majority was they 
have to move legislation. They have to actually move bills, and that 
means they have to subject the bill to amendments on the floor and 
Members have to vote. They have to be held accountable. There is no 
avoiding it. That is what they have to do.
  The majority has the responsibility--if they are going to be a leader 
and actually change the country and advance their agenda--they have to 
bring legislation to the floor, and traditionally then the Senator 
would be subject to debate, criticism, and amendment. We have curtailed 
that in a way that I don't think is healthy for the Republic, as well 
as making the legislation better, which can occur with votes and 
  So I think the Senator has raised some valid points there.
  Mr. LEE. I think that is an important observation my friend has made. 
In so many ways, this practice that the Senator has described--a 
practice that results in minimizing rather than maximizing the number 
of votes we cast--has as its ultimate objective, not the enhancement of 
the finished legislative product, but instead the perpetual protection 
of incumbency.
  We were not chosen by our constituents just to come here and stay 
here for as long as we possibly could. We were chosen by our 
constituents to come here and to make law, and to make the law as good 
as we could possibly make it. We were brought here to

[[Page S4781]]

improve it to the greatest extent of our ability regardless of the 
consequences to us personally.
  It is interesting what the Senator said just a few minutes ago. We 
are paid to vote. In a very real sense I think that is right. Wouldn't 
it be interesting if we were literally paid according to how many votes 
we cast?
  As a lawyer, the Senator is probably familiar with what may well be 
anecdotal, but some have suggested that one of the reasons why certain 
types of contracts in olden times were so long is that sometimes 
lawyers were paid not by the hour but by the word in a 
contract. Sometimes, as a result, the vestigial remains persist to this 
very day. They were so long because lawyers were trying to maximize 
their fee for the contract they were writing up. I am sure that wasn't 
helpful to clients back then and it wasn't necessarily good for the 
practice of law, but it did result in a lot of words. I am sure if we 
were paid according to each vote, if we got paid more for each vote we 
cast, we would be casting thousands and thousands of votes every single 

  Don't get me wrong, I am not necessarily suggesting that is how it 
ought to work. I am not necessarily suggesting that is a good way to 
run things here. But at least in that circumstance, we would have an 
incentive to do what we were sent here to do, which is to vote. At 
least in that respect, there would be something to offset what has 
apparently become an instinct that is inherent in serving in this 
place, an instinct which at least perhaps the majority shares or the 
majority leader believes in, which is we should in some cases cast as 
few votes as possible.
  Look, we have known this was a problem for a long time. We have known 
we have needed to fix our immigration system for a long time. We could 
have been casting votes this entire week. We haven't. We could have 
been casting votes throughout much or all of last week and we didn't. 
So I hope in the coming week we will cast a lot of votes and we will 
more closely resemble the productive markup we had in the Judiciary 
Committee thanks to our chairman who has now joined us on the floor.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. King). The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, what is the parliamentary situation?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time for debate goes until 9:30. The 
Senator from Vermont has 13 minutes.
  Mr. LEAHY. I thank the distinguished Presiding Officer and my 
  I thank the Senator from Utah for his kind words about the markup in 
the Senate Judiciary Committee. As he knows, we had some 300 amendments 
before the committee and I brought them up and had them all filed 
online a week and a half prior to our committee meeting. I called them 
all up one by one, Republicans and Democrats. We debated them and voted 
on them. But the difference between what we were able to do in the 
committee--incidentally, we voted on something like 140 or so 
amendments. About 40 of them were Republican amendments that were 
accepted. Of the 140 amendments accepted, all but 2 or 3 were accepted 
with both Democratic and Republican votes. Then we passed the 
immigration bill by a bipartisan majority. The difference is people 
cooperated when we would bring them up.
  I have given the Republicans a list of 20 or 30 amendments, both 
Republican and Democratic amendments, most of which could be accepted 
by voice vote, if they would allow us to bring them up. There are 
actually 29 of them. They won't let us bring them up. Talk about 
regular order in voting.
  We have Begich amendment No. 1285 regarding the Social Security 
Administration. We have Cardin-Kirk No. 1286, providing social service 
agencies the resources to help holocaust survivors. We have Carper-
Hoeven-Pryor No. 1408, preventing unauthorized immigration transiting 
through Mexico. We have Carper-Coburn No. 1344, establishing a DHS 
office of statistics; amendment No. 1255, as modified; a Coats 
amendment No. 1288, changing alternatives to detention programs. We 
have Feinstein-Kirk No. 1250, authorization for the use of the CIR 
trust fund; Hagan No. 1386, reauthorizing the bulletproof vest 
program--something that began as a bipartisan bill, Ben Nighthorse 
Campbell, a Republican from Colorado and myself. We have Heinrich No. 
1342, extending hours of operation at port of entry in Santa Teresa, 
NM; another requiring DHS to submit a report to Congress on how the 10 
airport biometric exit pilots impact wait times. We have Kirk-Coons No. 
1239, allows certain naturalization requirements be waived for U.S. Air 
Force active-duty members to receive military awards; Klobuchar-Coats, 
adoption amendment; a Landrieu No. 1338 about E-Verify; Landrieu-
Murkowski No. 1302, public-private partnerships expanding land ports of 
entry; Landrieu-Cochran No. 1383, requires reports on EB-5 programs. We 
have Landrieu No. 1341, requiring DHS to attempt to reduce detention 
daily bed rate; Leahy-Hatch No. 1183, and I mention that one only 
because it is cosponsored by the senior Democrat and the senior 
Republican. Leahy No. 1454, a technical amendment; Leahy No. 1455, EB-5 
clarification; Murray-Crapo No. 1368, prohibiting the shackling of 
pregnant women absent extraordinary circumstance in all DHS detention 
facilities. Gosh, there is one we can pass unanimously. We have Nelson 
No. 1253, providing additional resources for maritime security; Reed 
1223, increasing the role of public libraries in the integration of 
immigrants; Schatz-Kirk No. 1416, GAO report on visa processing; 
Shaheen-Ayotte No. 1272, expands the INVEST visa program; Stabenow-
Collins No. 1405, requiring a number of administrative changes; Tom 
Udall No. 1241, expanding the Border Enforcement Security Task Force; 
Tom Udall No. 1242, $5 million available to strengthen border 
infectious disease surveillance.

  We have a few others. These are all totally noncontroversial, both 
Republican and Democrat. Normally--and I hate to sound like here is the 
way we did it in the old days, but normally on a bill of this 
complexity, we take all the noncontroversial Republican and Democratic 
amendments, lump them together, voice vote them, and then start voting 
on the controversial ones.
  There is the list we gave the other side. We said they are all 
noncontroversial, can't we accept them? It takes 10 minutes, 20 
minutes, to do a unanimous consent request and accept them all. They 
said no. They said, We have to have controversial amendments. Well, why 
not do the noncontroversial ones and then set up a time for boom, boom, 
boom, controversial ones. We did it in the committee and it worked.
  I see my colleague from Utah. I will yield to him without losing my 
right to the floor.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, if I may ask my friend from Vermont, we would 
love to see us move forward. Why don't we both propose three of our 
respective side's top amendments, come up with a unanimous consent 
agreement right now, and there would be six amendments we could take up 
for a vote.
  Mr. LEAHY. I would say to the distinguished Senator from Utah, I made 
such suggestions to the Republican side. They were unable to accept it, 
or unwilling. That was not objected to by the distinguished Senator 
from Utah but by some on his side who have said they won't accept any 
agreement, and that is why we are here.
  It makes me think when the distinguished Republican came to the floor 
and asked the majority leader: What is holding up the judge from my 
  The leader said: Every single Democrat is prepared to vote for your 
  And we said, Let's have a unanimous consent and let's bring up the 
judge that the Republican Senator asked for and we will have a vote on 
it right now. Now, to his credit, that Republican Senator was perfectly 
willing to, but he was told no by his leadership. And weeks and months 
and a long time later we finally voted on that judge. I think it was a 
unanimous vote.
  But we have cleared every one of the amendments I have talked about, 
Republicans and Democrats. There are 28 or 29 amendments. If we are 
really serious, let's pass them all and then take whatever is left that 
is controversial and take them up one by one. I am happy to vote all 
night long, all day tomorrow, an hour equally divided on each vote. But 
the fact is, with the distinguished majority leader's concurrence, we 
proposed 29 or more amendments that could be done in 2 minutes and we 
were told by the other side they

[[Page S4782]]

don't want to bring up any of these amendments.
  We have to understand, a majority of Senators in both parties--we had 
84 who voted for cloture--want to finish this bill. The fact is there 
are a small number on the other side who want no immigration law and 
they will try to stall it forever.
  I talked about us all being here in December singing Christmas 
carols. I hope we can avoid that for two reasons. One, it would be a 
terrible way to legislate. Secondly, now that we have TV coverage in 
the Senate--something that wasn't here when I came here--for the 
American people to be subjected to my singing voice, it would be cruel 
and unusual punishment. I believe it is something that is prohibited by 
the Constitution. And as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I 
would hate to be the one to violate the Constitution by inflicting such 
cruel and unusual punishment.
  So I would suggest as an alternative we listen to the distinguished 
majority leader, the senior Senator from Nevada: Get an agreement, go 
forward, vote on all of these things, avoid my friend from Utah and 
others having to hear me sing Christmas carols as we wrap this thing 
up, and do as we did in the Judiciary Committee.
  I think it was about this time, the Senator from Utah may remember, 
or maybe it was a little bit earlier than this, the last evening we 
were voting and we finished. I had provided so-so pizza in the back 
room. I think some liked it, some didn't, but it encouraged everybody 
to finish and we finished. We passed out a bill to the floor.
  I see the distinguished majority leader has arrived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. The hour of 9:30 being momentarily here, I ask unanimous 
consent that the prior agreement that was in effect the last hour be 
continued for another hour until 10:30. It means I will be recognized 
at 10:30, that we will--this will be for debate only, the time will be 
divided between the two sides, and that any quorums called during the 
hour will be equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, before we wrap up, we were told that 
this special amendment--the one with the highest priority that the 
leadership all seems to think is so valuable--would be filed at 6 
o'clock. Now it is 9:40 p.m. and we still have not seen it. Perhaps 
they are adding special clauses in to get special Senators' votes 
before they file it. But I suspect it will be done tonight because the 
plan, obviously, is to file cloture on it immediately and try to move 
it to a vote as soon as possible.
  I want to conclude my remarks tonight on one subject. The American 
people are good and decent people. They believe in immigration. They 
have always supported immigration in this country. But they have been 
demanding, pleading, praying for this government to develop a good and 
decent system of immigration that serves our national interests and 
makes them proud. And for 30, 40 years we have had a situation in which 
people have been coming in massive numbers illegally, and it is not 
right. The American people are not happy about it. They are angry with 
their politicians.
  I remember saying in 2007 that the people were not mad at immigrants. 
They were mad at those of us in Congress and in the White House and in 
the departments and agencies of government for not doing our jobs.
  That is what they are angry about. I saw a poll not long ago that 
said 88 percent of the people said they were angry at Congress and only 
12 percent said they were angry at people who entered the country 
illegally. I think that is where the American people are. So we 
promised and promised and promised that we would pass legislation that 
would end the illegality and that we would make the American people 
proud of the system we have. It has not happened.
  So this amendment claims it has 700 miles of fencing in it, according 
to the newspapers, although we have not seen the amendment that is 
about to be here. It was not in the original bill. But now, after it 
ran into tough sledding--people started reading it, and it began to 
sink in popularity with the people and with Members of the Senate--they 
came up with, they say, a bill that adds fencing in it. Not long ago 
they were saying it was stupid to have a fence. Now we have an 
amendment that says 700 miles of fencing. Well, let share a thought or 
two about that.
  In 2007, 2008, we passed bills to build fences--700 miles. I was one 
of the main sponsors. I think I was the sponsor of 700 miles of double-
wide fencing. Eventually, it came out of the House, I believe. We did 
not have money in our appropriations bill to pay for it. We had voted 
for having a fence, but they did not put up the money. We complained 
about that and complained about that, so they got embarrassed, and I 
remember saying: Boy, isn't this clever? You go home and say you voted 
to authorize a fence, and when it came time to put money up, you did 
not vote for it. So we put up the money, actually agreed to fund it.
  Oh, then they decided: Well, we did not really want to build a fence. 
We would have a virtual fence. I believe Senator McCain said the other 
night that we spent $800-and-something million on a virtual fence that 
never worked. Every bit of it had to be abandoned--some high-tech 
scheme--and the fence never got built. This was in 2008.
  Now, the first bill comes forward, they claim they had fencing in it. 
But when you read the bill, do you know what it said? Secretary 
Napolitano was supposed to send forward a plan for fencing--a plan for 
fencing. But the truth is that Secretary Napolitano is on record 
publicly--more than once--saying she did not think we needed any 
fencing. So what kind of plan was she going to submit under this bill?
  So we mocked that, made fun of it. But that was their goal. The goal 
was to pass an immigration bill that pretended to say we are going to 
build barriers and fencing at the border and not have it in there. That 
is what the plan was when they offered the bill. But after it hit tough 
sledding, now we have 700 miles. But it is single fencing, not double, 
and that is not nearly as good because a person can penetrate a single 
fence and get by pretty quickly, but if they have to do double-fencing, 
they have a real problem, and you can run a government vehicle on a 
roadway between them, and it is very effective.
  That was done fundamentally in San Diego a number of years ago. San 
Diego's area at the border was lawless--drugs, crime, degradation of 
real estate values, and it was just awful.
  They built a good, solid double fence. All of a sudden property 
values went up, crime dropped, and the area is doing so much better 
today. So the fences in these kinds of areas are not damaging. Fences 
can make things better. As they say sometimes, good fences make good 
  I am not impressed with that so much. I do think it is important for 
us to ask ourselves will it actually get built this time if we pass it. 
I have my doubts because they do not have the trigger on it, as I 
understand from the reports; the trigger being you do not get the 
amnesty until you get the fence built. Then you might get some fencing.
  Senator Thune offered a good amendment. Senator Thune's amendment 
said, before we give the first bit of amnesty, we should build at least 
350 miles of the double fencing. Then the other 300 has to be built 
after that. That was voted down. But after the bill got in trouble, now 
they have 700 miles in there of at least a single fence.
  So that is the why this process has worked. I believe the American 
people are absolutely right to be unhappy with their government because 
we have not served them well. They have asked us and pleaded with us to 
produce a legal system of immigration to end the illegality, and we 
have failed time and time again to do that which they have asked us to 
do. That is the truth. I have been here. I have seen the amendments.
  What happens time and again is amendments that do not make much

[[Page S4783]]

difference but sound good, do not work. They pass. But you put up an 
amendment that would actually have a substantial impact, such as 
actually building substantial fencing, and it goes down. It gets voted 
down. It is almost unbelievable. But I have seen it. My first 
experience of that was when I learned that people who come for visa 
overstays--it is not same kind of crime that crossing a border is. It 
is a civil penalty of some kind.
  Some people have contended--I do not think correctly because I did a 
law review article on it--they have concluded, I don't think correctly, 
that the local police who apprehend somebody for drunk driving or 
speeding, they find they are here illegally as a result of a visa 
overstay, and they cannot hold them. They have to let them go, and they 
cannot turn them over to Federal law enforcement officers.
  So I offered an amendment to make it a misdemeanor to overstay your 
visa. It does not have to be long. But we need to clarify any confusion 
that arises from that subject. I thought everybody was going to pass 
it, until, lo, they figured it out. Someone who was watching the 
legislation said: Wait a minute. If you pass that, it will help them 
apprehend and deport people. You cannot pass that. All of a sudden the 
opposition arose and it went down. That would have worked. It would not 
have cost us any money. It would have given greater power to do the 
right thing to the law enforcement community. Boom, it went down.
  So under President Bush, he reluctantly came along and got more 
favorable to a lawful system of immigration. After his bill failed, he 
agreed to establish a 287(g) program. Governor King may be familiar 
with that. It was a situation in which local law enforcement officers, 
people who work in prisons, people at the State trooper headquarters 
and other officers could go to a Federal training for up to 2 weeks, or 
maybe more than that, and they would then be trained to properly help 
the Federal officers do their duty with regard to people who entered 
the country illegally.
  President Bush signed off on it. The program was growing. It was very 
popular. Alabama was one of the States that sent people to be trained 
because we did not want to violate anyone's rights. President Obama has 
basically killed it. They basically ended the program. I will just say 
to my colleagues, if we do--and at some point I think we will provide 
legal status for millions of people who are in our country illegally in 
a compassionate way and try to do what we can--be generous to them, 
even though they violated the law. If we do that, are we not going to 
have the ability to enforce the law for somebody in the future who 
comes illegally?
  Is that where we are heading? Because if we do not fix interior 
enforcement, we are not ever going to be able to do that. We have a 
larger and larger number each year coming legally by visa and 
overstaying. Some 40 percent now of the immigrants illegally in our 
country are here by virtue of overstaying their visa after coming 
legally. So what do you do about that?
  We have to have a system in which we welcome the assistance of State 
and local law officers. They are not entitled to prosecute people. They 
are not entitled to deport people. That can only be done by Federal 
judges and Federal officers. But they have always been able to take 
somebody who came in across the border illegally, detain them, and then 
turn them over to the Federal officers for deportation. They do not 
want that to happen.
  This has been blocked systematically. Groups such as La Raza have 
made this a high priority. Members of the Senate have responded every 
time they have asked for help and blocked all legislation that would in 
any way advance the ability of good State law officers to assist the 
Federal Government in enforcing the law. A State law officer can arrest 
a bank robber and turn him over so they can be prosecuted in Federal 
court for bank robbery. They can arrest them on any misdemeanor and 
turn them over to the Federal Government. They can arrest them on 
illegal immigration charges and turn them over to the Federal 
Government. There is no doubt about that.
  But the government will not take them, will not come and get them. 
Ask your local officers what happens if they arrest somebody they know 
is in the country illegally. They will tell you nothing happens. ICE 
officers are undermanned. They have policies and rules that do not even 
allow them to come out and participate. Nobody is participating in the 
joint Federal-State 287(g) training program anymore. This is over.
  In fact, what we have is the Attorney General of the United States 
suing States that want to be helpful to the Federal Government and try 
to enforce Federal law. So this is the area to which we have sunk. This 
is how far we have gotten away from having integrity in the legal 
process of immigration. The American people are not happy. I hope they 
are watching this debate because I have spent a lot of time looking at 
this, this legislation, 1,000 pages.
  Who knows what this amendment will be tonight, how many more pages 
will be added. It will not accomplish what the American people have 
pleaded with Congress to do. It is focused overwhelmingly, totally has 
been focused on getting the amnesty first, even though they told us it 
would be enforcement first. They have to admit it is amnesty first. 
That is what it is and then a promise of enforcement in the future.
  So that is where we are. I wish we could do better. I know we can do 
better. We can make the border lawful. We can make the entry-exit visa 
system lawful. We can make the workplace E-Verify system serve the 
national interests and make it much harder for illegal workers to get 
  Remember, under the bill, we will legalize the people who are here 
illegally. We are talking about people coming here in the future. Are 
we going to allow them to get jobs? Are we not going to allow ICE to do 
their job in the future? Are we not going to empower them? Oddly, all 
of the resources are going to the border but none to deal effectively 
with the visa overstays.
  The Congressional Budget Office that analyzed the bill and gave us a 
report 2 days ago, the CBO report says this legislation that we have 
heard is so marvelous will only reduce the number of people entering 
the country illegally by 25 percent. Can you believe that? Just 25 
percent. That is unthinkable, especially after we have been hearing the 
great promises of how effective it is.
  I wonder about that. One of the concerns CBO expresses, the experts 
whom they have who do the best they can, one of the concerns they 
express is one I have been talking about since this legislation has hit 
the floor: We are going to see a great increase in visa overstays if, 
for no other reason, there are going to be twice as many people coming 
to America on visas to work under this bill for temporary periods of 
time than there are today.
  Many of them are not going home when they are supposed to go home. 
That is what the numbers show. Many of them in these programs will come 
with their families, be able to stay several years, and then they are 
asked to go home. Fewer of them are going home. They may have children 
in junior high school. They are not going to go home when the law says, 
unfortunately. That is the experience we have been seeing. They could 
go home. They should have every moral obligation to go home, every 
legal obligation to go home.
  A very fine lawyer here wrote a piece I was pleased to read recently. 
It was the editor of the Yale Law Review, a marine. He said: We tell 
our soldiers to go and they go. We tell them, go to Iraq in harm's way, 
1 year, 15 months, 18 months, and they go. What do you mean, someone 
comes to America for 1 year should not be made to follow the commitment 
and the contract we signed? We make our soldiers do it. We are in some 
sort of deal here. We cannot expect anybody to follow the law. But my 
experience, and the experience I have seen over the years with 
immigration is a large number of people are not complying with the law. 
We can expect that to happen.
  So we are going to see a large increase in visa overstays. It is 
going to be more than the border--over illegal entries at the border. 
That is going to be a larger and larger part of the problem. CBO 
basically found that in their recent report. I think that is truly 
  This legislation comes nowhere close to fixing it. The key to it is 
an entry-

[[Page S4784]]

exit visa. Current law requires that there be an entry-exit biometric 
visa that covers air, sea, and land ports. This bill eliminates the 
biometric fingerprint requirement--eliminates that and says it only has 
to be effective at air and seaports and not land ports.
  This bill is dramatically weaker than current law. We passed six 
pieces of legislation calling for entry-exit visa systems over the last 
decade. Never been done. So why should we have enforcement first? That 
is the reason. We pass a law to build a fence, it does not get built. 
We pass a law repeatedly that says, let's have an entry-exit visa 
system. It does not get built. It does not occur.
  So we need to put the heat on the people who run this government, 
including us, to make sure that if we pass something it is going to 
actually occur. That is why there has been a broad consensus. There 
needs to be a requirement that enforcement occur before legality 
occurs. That is why the sponsors were originally saying their bill was 
enforcement first. There is every reason for the American people to 
doubt that this Nation will follow through on those commitments.
  I am concerned about where we are. I am pleased with the way the 
House is proceeding. They are moving step by step taking individual 
parts of our immigration problem and fixing them.
  The first one they are dealing with is interior enforcement. I have 
taken a good bit from their bill, and I have an amendment pending. It 
will be hugely beneficial to the ability of our ICE officers to enforce 
law in the United States and help bring this whole system under 
control. It is a very large part of what we do. I am not sure we will 
ever get a vote on it. I think I was in the 16 amendments that were 
going to be approved for a vote.
  What is happening? Everything was put on hold today waiting for the 
favorite amendment. It was supposed to be here at 6 o'clock. Now it is 
10 p.m. We still haven't seen it. When are we going to get it? Well, 
how long will it be? What all will they have in it? We don't know, but 
it is not going to be a pristine document, I can tell you that.
  My staff and I intend to look at it. We are going to evaluate it, and 
we are going to see if it solves all the immigration problems. We are 
going to find out if it is great, and we can go home and go to bed at 
night and know this problem has been fixed. That is what we are being 
told, but I don't think it is going to show that. Why? Because this 
bill doesn't, and they said it did. They said it fixed all the 
problems, but it does not.
  They said they didn't believe in a fence. They said the Senator said 
it was stupid to have a fence. Now all of a sudden we have 700 miles of 
  They said Senator Cornyn was overreaching. He wanted 5,000 new border 
agents. Now the bill gets in trouble and they come in with 20,000 
border agents and say it is paid for. There is plenty of money to pay 
for all of this, $30 billion, this article says it is going to go for 
that. If it was actually needed and it would work out, I would help 
deal with that.
  I have my doubts that this is the best way to spend our money. I 
think this is a political response to a failing piece of legislation, a 
dramatic, desperate attempt to pass a dramatic piece of amendment so 
they can say it does everything you want and more.
  We will see. Hopefully it does improve the border. Again, the border 
is just one part of the overall failure of our immigration system.
  The right thing for America to do is to continue to welcome 
immigrants, to have a legal system that is based on the national 
interests of America, very much like Canada, where they give points. If 
you are younger, you get points. If you have more education, you get 
points. If you speak the language, you get points. If you have special 
skills, you get points. You get points for that.
  I think a majority, maybe 60 percent of Canadian immigration, is 
based on a merit-based competitive system. People apply, and the ones 
who are most qualified, the ones who are going to be likely to be the 
most successful in Canada, are the ones who get admitted--not the ones 
that aren't able to speak the language, who don't have skills that 
Canada needs, and who are going to struggle in Canada.
  Why shouldn't you choose the ones who have the best opportunity to be 
successful? This is so basic. We were told this is a move to merit-
based immigration.
  We have done an analysis of that. I did a speech on it. They said 
they were moving away from brothers and family connections, and they 
were going to have a merit-based system. We have looked at it. About 10 
to 15 percent of the total flow is based on this merit-based system.
  Then we looked at the details of it in this long 1,000 pages. Clever 
people had written it. If you are two children, two young people in 
Honduras or Argentina who wish to come to America, one of them has a 
brother in America, one of them has dropped out of high school, does 
not speak English, has not held a job before, and has no real skills, 
the other one was valedictorian of his high school class, he has 2 
years of college, speaks English well, studied hard, and is preparing 
himself to come to America. Let's say he has 4 years, a college degree. 
Under this merit-based point system, the brother gets 10 points and the 
young man with the college degree gets 5. It is chain migration by 
another name. It takes a master's degree to get as many points as 
having a brother in the United States. We were told we were going to 
move away from that and more to an honest and competitive system. Even 
that small part of the bill that focuses on a merit-based, point-based 
system has huge advantages for people with family connections, and very 
large advantages for people who come from countries that do not have 
many people come to America. They get points and things of that nature 
that don't make much sense, frankly.
  I am hopeful the legislation that we are going to have filed tonight, 
at least we have been promised it will be filed tonight, will enhance 
enforcement at our border. I am going to read it carefully to make sure 
it does. Then I am going to be looking very carefully to see if it 
improves all the other flaws in this system. If it doesn't, I am not 
impressed. If it doesn't make this system one that is likely to work, I 
am not impressed. That is not enough, to fix one part of the system.
  Finally, let me close by saying what the Congressional Budget Office, 
our own best advisers on economic matters, told us 2 days ago in their 
report. This is what they said. They said this legislation that is 
before us today will reduce the amount of illegal immigration by only 
25 percent, not what we were promised, only 25 percent.
  They said this legislation that is before us today will reduce the 
average wage of Americans in this country, reduce wages at a time when 
wages have been declining regularly. They have said if passed, this 
bill before us today, and unlikely to be changed by the Corker-Hoeven 
amendment, would increase unemployment. It would make more people out 
of work, make more people go on unemployment compensation, go on food 
stamps, go on SSI, and maybe go on disability if they can get it, 
because they can't find a job. We will have this very large flow of 
workers into our country, beyond I think what the country can absorb at 
a time of high unemployment. Wages will go down. Unemployment will go 
up. Illegality in this system is only marginally reduced.
  I don't think that is a bargain. I don't see how we can go to our 
constituents and say that is what we are going to pass. I really don't 
think so.
  Let's don't do this, colleagues. Let's stop and push back here. Let's 
let the House proceed, as they seem to be doing. Let's send our bill 
back to committee and consider some of these issues such as will it 
help people get jobs or will it hurt people's ability to get jobs. Will 
it help their wages go up or will their wages go down. If it is pulling 
wages down, why are we doing it? This is where I think we are. I 
believe it ought to be reviewed, reviewed carefully. The American 
people need to know what is happening here. They are going to have to 
watch what happens because there is a politically correct movement in 
this body to move this bill out for all kinds of reasons unrelated to 
the substance of the legislation.
  We are here to pass legislative substance, not some political vision, 
not some scheme to get votes. That is what we need to be doing. We are 
not doing that effectively, in my opinion.

[[Page S4785]]

  This legislation is defective. It should not be passed, and I am 
confident tonight, if we get an amendment that deals with the border, 
it still will leave huge parts of this legislation defective and 
unworthy of support.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I urge all Senators who say that deficit 
reduction is important to them to join us and support the Border 
Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act as 
reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our bill will help us 
achieve nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction according to the 
estimation of the Congressional Budget Office, CBO.
  To those Senators who are interested in growing our economy, I say 
join us and support this bill that CBO expects will lead to hundreds of 
billions of dollars of economic activity, and help increase our gross 
domestic product by 5.4 percent when its full impact is reached over 
the next 20 years. If we are able to pass and implement a fair program 
reflective of American values, the beneficial economic impact should be 
even better. I think passing comprehensive immigration reform is the 
right thing to do and will be good for the economy and the country.
  One of the themes of the Senator from Alabama throughout committee 
consideration of the bill and now before the Senate is his contention 
that bringing undocumented people out of the shadows and into the 
economy as full participants will hurt the wages of American workers at 
the lowest end of the pay scale. I disagree because I believe that 
wages are already being depressed by the reality that undocumented 
workers are often forced to work for subminimum pay and that already 
depresses wages and job opportunities for other American workers.
  The recent CBO report uses conservative assumptions to estimate that 
once immigration reform is implemented, average wages would actually 
increase and be one-half of 1 percent higher than they would be if we 
did not pass it. That is their estimate of the longer term impact of 
the legislation.
  It is also notable, if not surprising, that opponents of 
comprehensive immigration reform focus on isolated numbers without 
acknowledging the overall impact of the bill. Senators need to remember 
that CBO has estimated that the bill will decrease Federal deficits by 
nearly $1 trillion when implemented.
  Moreover, the CBO report explains that the limited period in which 
average wages are estimated to be slightly lower is ``primarily because 
the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as 
rapidly as the number of workers.'' It concludes, however, that ``the 
rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation . . . 
throughout the next two decades.''
  Further, CBO expressly notes that it does not mean to imply what 
opponents contend; namely, that current U.S. residents would be worse 
off, on average, under the legislation. Finally, CBO concludes that the 
legislation would result in raising the productivity of both labor and 
capital and boost the amount of capital investment in this country.
  That is not what the Senator from Alabama said on Wednesday 
afternoon. Instead, he incorrectly asserted a number of points. In 
particular, he said that the CBO report indicates that the 
comprehensive immigration reform legislation ``will reduce the wages of 
American citizens.'' That is not true. The CBO report does not say 
that. I wish the Senator from Alabama were more precise in his analysis 
and his statements.
  The CBO cost estimate and report go out of their way to note that the 
initial estimate is on ``average wages'' and ``do[es] not imply that 
current U.S. residents would be worse off, on average, under the 
legislation.'' The estimate is a ``difference between the averages of 
all U.S. residents under the legislation.''
  The report continues to clarify that ``the additional people who 
would become residents under the legislation would earn lower wages, on 
average, than other residents, which would pull down the average 
wage.'' That does not mean that current U.S. citizens will be paid any 
less than they are currently making or be worse off, which is what the 
Senator from Alabama was implying.
  Here is what I think this all means. Those coming out of the shadows, 
who had been exploited and working for less than even minimum wage, 
would as registered provisional immigrants be expected to make more 
than they had been making.
  Adding them to the work force would nonetheless mean that ``average 
wages'' for the working population would be slightly lower at the 
outset of the implementation period. Average wages do not mean that any 
American citizen's wages will be ``reduce[d],'' which is what the 
Senator from Alabama said. He made it sound like passing the bill will 
mean a pay cut for citizens. That is not true.
  Moreover, the Senator from Alabama either stopped reading or stopped 
caring when the report went on to say that average wages would increase 
thereafter. The report goes on to say that ``over time, as capital 
investment increased,'' ``average wages would be higher than under 
current law.'' Opponents of the bill should stop trying to use scare 
tactics and misleading statements to stir up emotional reactions 
against the bill and against the undocumented immigrants we should be 
encouraging to come out of the shadows and fully join American life.
  America protects the most vulnerable among us, which include 
survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as 
pregnant women, and children. I am proud to report that there are 
strong protections in this bill for the treatment of kids caught in the 
broken immigration enforcement system.
  I know that some may want to punish the 11 million undocumented 
people currently living here in the shadows, and the bill specifically 
contains a steep financial penalty for that purpose. The undocumented 
also need to go to the back of the line and take classes to learn 
English, but those tough steps are not enough for those who oppose the 
bipartisan bill.
  While some may want to look like they are being even tougher on the 
undocumented population, we all need to consider how further punitive 
measures may deter people from coming out of the shadows. When kids and 
pregnant women are put at risk by an urge to punish millions of people 
who are trying to make a better life for their families, we do not live 
up to our American values and we do not make this a safer country.
  I oppose amendments to deny or delay protections for the millions of 
people who will apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant status. If 
we are talking about programs that literally feed the hungry or provide 
vaccinations to children, we hear lectures about how we cannot afford 
those programs in the current fiscal environment. It is a cruel irony 
that when some on the other side of the aisle consider programs that 
help kids who live near the poverty line, they raise fiscal concerns, 
but they have no problems with massive Government expenditures on 
fencing and expensive visa exit technology and programs.
  The bill we are considering prohibits immigrants in Registered 
Provisional Immigrant status from access to any Federal means-tested 
public benefit programs throughout their time in provisional status.
  In addition, as a result of the Personal Responsibility and Work 
Opportunity Reconciliation Act, even qualified Legal Permanent Resident 
immigrants must wait an additional 5 years after they are legalized to 
receive any safety net protections. Most immigrants who are working 
their way through the path to legalization will have to wait anywhere 
from 13 to 15 years before having any access to safety net programs. 
Given the penalties and fines they have to pay, it is wrong to further 
deny these low-income families protections that some may desperately 
  I have seen similarly harmful amendments on the issues of the Earned 
Income Tax Credit, EITC, and the Child Tax Credit, CTC, which were 
designed to help hardworking families who pay taxes. The Earned Income 
Tax Credit is available only to families that are working and paying 
payroll taxes. The EITC is a core part of the tax code--like any other 
tax credit that adjusts Federal tax liability based on families' 
circumstances. It is not, and has never been considered a ``public 

[[Page S4786]]

  Yet, amendments have been filed seeking to deny the EITC for all 
registered immigrants for eternity, even after the individual has 
obtained legal status. One of these amendments was offered during the 
committee process, and was rightly rejected. I will strongly oppose any 
amendment to deny hard working families from participating in these tax 
credits when they are paying payroll taxes.
  While CBO estimates refundable tax credits may total $127 million 
during the first 10 years after passage of comprehensive immigration 
reform, those tax credits are more than fully offset by the payment of 
taxes. Remember that revenues increase and the deficit decreases under 
our legislation. So when those tax credits are seen in the context of 
the increased taxes being paid, they are offset by increased revenues 
every year.
  Some who oppose comprehensive immigration reform had raised the false 
alarm that this immigration bill would drain our Social Security Trust 
Fund and bankrupt our Medicare system. Nothing could be further from 
the truth. In an editorial dated June 2, 2013, entitled ``A 4.6 
Trillion Dollar Opportunity,'' The Wall Street Journal stated 
unequivocally that ``Immigration reform will improve Social Security's 
finances.'' That has now been substantiated by the CBO report, which 
estimates decreases in the off-budget deficit every year beginning in 
2014 following enactment this year.
  The goal of this bill is to encourage undocumented immigrants to come 
out of the shadows so we can bring them into our legal system and so 
everyone will play by the same rules. If we create a reason for people 
not to come out and register, then it will defeat the purpose of this 
bill. Amendments that seek to further penalize the undocumented will 
encourage them to stay in the shadows. These steps will not make us 
safer and will not spur our economy.
  One of the many reasons we need immigration reform is to ensure that 
there is not a permanent underclass in this great Nation. As part of 
this effort, we need to continue the vital safety net programs that 
protect children, pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations. Too 
often, immigrants have been unfairly blamed and demonized as a drain on 
our resources. The facts are--as substantiated by the CBO report--just 
the opposite. Immigrants reinvigorate and grow our economy.
  The bottom line is that enacting our judiciary committee reported 
bill will significantly reduce our budget deficit and grow the economy. 
It is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do.