June 11, 2013 - Issue: Vol. 159, No. 82 — Daily Edition113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - 1st Session
BORDER SECURITY, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, AND IMMIGRATION MODERNIZATION ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 82
(Senate - June 11, 2013)
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[Pages S4086-S4093] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] BORDER SECURITY, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, AND IMMIGRATION MODERNIZATION ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED Cloture Motion The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order and pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state. The legislative clerk read as follows: Cloture Motion We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 80, S. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform, and for other purposes. Harry Reid, Patrick J. Leahy, Robert Menendez, Christopher A. Coons, Mazie K. Hirono, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Nelson, Benjamin L. Cardin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, Ron Wyden, Jack Reed, Patty Murray, Michael F. Bennet, Tom Harkin, Charles E. Schumer, Richard J. Durbin. The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the motion to proceed to S. 744, a bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform, and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close? The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk called the roll. Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Coburn), the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain), and the Senator from Alaska (Ms. Murkowski). Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Alaska (Ms. Murkowski) would have voted ``yea.'' The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 82, nays 15, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 146 Leg.] YEAS--82 Alexander Ayotte Baldwin Baucus Begich Bennet Blumenthal Blunt Boxer Brown Burr Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Chambliss Chiesa Coats Cochran Collins Coons Corker Cornyn Cowan Donnelly Durbin Feinstein Fischer Flake Franken Gillibrand Graham Hagan Harkin Hatch Heinrich Heitkamp Heller Hirono Hoeven Isakson Johanns Johnson (SD) Johnson (WI) Kaine King Klobuchar Landrieu Leahy Levin Manchin McCaskill McConnell Menendez Merkley Mikulski Moran Murphy Murray Nelson Paul Portman Pryor Reed Reid Rockefeller Rubio Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Thune Toomey Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Warner Warren Whitehouse Wicker Wyden NAYS--15 Barrasso Boozman Crapo Cruz Enzi Grassley Inhofe Kirk Lee Risch Roberts Scott Sessions Shelby Vitter NOT VOTING--3 Coburn McCain Murkowski The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 82, the nays are 15. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Manchin). Under the previous order, the time until 4 p.m. will be equally divided and controlled between the proponents and opponents. The Senate will be in order. The Senator from New York. Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the comprehensive immigration reform bill we will begin debating later today and for the rest of the month. I thank my colleagues for voting yes on the motion to proceed, which will let us debate this very important bill which is critical to the future of our security, our economy, and our society. This overwhelming vote--a majority of both parties--starts this bill off on the right foot. First, I will begin by saying that this has been the most open and transparent process we have seen in the past few years. Unlike most bills where only 1 or 2 Senators draft them, this bill was drafted by 10 of us here in the Senate. I thank each of the four Republicans and four Democrats in the Gang of 8--my seven colleagues in the gang--for their great work. The agricultural program in the bill was drafted by Senators Feinstein and Hatch. We then held a number of hearings where we debated, considered, voted on, and adopted scores of amendments during the Judiciary Committee markup under the able leadership of Chairman Leahy. Many of those amendments were bipartisan or were amendments offered solely by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. These amendments dramatically improve the bill. Our bill is better and stronger today than it was when we introduced it. Before the bill was marked up, this bill had been vetted by the eight of us. Eighteen of us here in the Senate have already had the chance to make our mark on this bill and consider all of the ways in which it should be changed. Now we are here on the floor, where all of my colleagues will have the chance to further improve the bill and discuss the changes they feel need to be made. We readily admit this bill is not perfect and can always be improved. It is undergirded by one thought about the present situation and one about the future that we hope to change. In the present situation, our country--amazingly and counterproductively--turns away hundreds of thousands of people who will create jobs and improve our economy, and at the same time we let millions cross the border and take jobs away from American workers. The system is backward and the status quo is unacceptable. Our bill is based on one simple principle: that the American people will accept and embrace commonsense solutions to future legal immigration and to the 11 million now living here in the shadows if-- and only if--they are convinced there will not be future waves of illegal immigration. Our bill does three basic things. First, it ensures that we will never again have a wave of future illegal immigration. Second, it fixes our completely dysfunctional legal immigration system to make us the most competitive Nation in the world for both this century and the next. Third, it contains a tough but realistic path for making sure that the people currently here illegally are held accountable for what they did, but it also allows them to join American society on our terms in a fair and honorable way rather than by the current amnesty-by- inaction we see today. I wish to make it extremely clear that, first and foremost, we are committed to ending the waves of illegal immigration we have seen in the last 30 years. We will accomplish this goal by building a very sturdy three-legged [[Page S4087]] stool of border security, employment verification, and entry-exit. I will now explain what our bill does in each of these areas to prevent future waves of illegal immigration. Make no mistake, our borders will be secured as a result of this bill. We appropriate $6.5 billion up front in this bill to bolster our security efforts, and that is in addition to the annual appropriations made for each year of border security. Before any legalization can even begin, the Secretary of Homeland Security is required to come up with a plan on how to deploy $4.5 billion of those resources to acquire new infrastructure, technology, and personnel that will enable the border patrol to catch 9 out of 10 illegal immigrants who attempt to cross our border. Only after this plan is presented to Congress and deployment of the resources has commenced may the legalization program begin to adjust undocumented individuals to registered provisional immigrant status--what we call RPI status. All of the resources in the plan must then be deployed on the ground and working before anyone in RPI status can ever be granted a green card and gain citizenship. After 5 years, if the Border Patrol is not catching 9 out of every 10 illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the border, a commission with border State Governors and elected officials will be empowered to make recommendations on how best to spend an additional $2 billion that this bill has already preappropriated in order to achieve this 90-percent effectiveness rate. With minimal resources and with many fewer resources, we are more effective at the border. The effectiveness rate has gone up from 68 percent to 82 percent. Imagine what will happen with the resources we provide in this bill, all of which is paid for by provisions in the bill, both fees for those who wish legal workers to come to work for them and fines for those who have crossed the border illegally. DHS will implement the recommendations of the commission after they have been presented to the Secretary. Think of this: Crossing the border without permission from the government is a crime. When we catch someone crossing the border and prosecute and deport them, we are solving the crime and punishing the criminal. Our bill will deploy the resources needed to catch, prosecute, and deport 90 percent of the people who cross the border illegally. Ninety percent of all border-crossing cases will be successfully closed. How does that closure rate compare to other violations of our laws? According to FBI statistics, each year we successfully catch, prosecute, and detain wrongdoers in less than 50 percent of the cases where a violent crime has been committed and in less than 20 percent of the cases where a property crime has been committed. Think about the much higher standard our bill is creating for border security--90 percent. Everyone knows 90 percent is an A grade, and our bill will achieve an A-rated border. For days and weeks now I have heard Senators who would oppose any immigration bill. They say our bill does not secure the border, as if the $6.5 billion does not count. If anyone has a better idea, tell us. But to say this will not improve border security--some may disagree on whether it is the best way to do it or some may disagree on whether it does enough, but don't say it won't do anything to secure the border. History shows that of course it will. The eight of us believe it will do it well and do it strongly. It will do it far better than anything that has ever been envisioned. Now let's take a look at what we can purchase for this money. We are going to be building $1 billion worth of border fence. Our bill requires that it be built before anyone can get a green card. Our bill originally had $500 million more allocated for fencing, and the fencing money was actually decreased by the senior Senator from Texas, who thought we were building too much border fence in our bill. Second, we will be purchasing sensors, fixed towers, radar, and drones that will cover the entire southern border. When this technology is deployed, we will finally be able to see every single person crossing our border, and we will know where to send our 21,000 Border Patrol agents to go catch people. I visited the border with Senators McCain, Flake, and Bennet. It is huge. We cannot station enough people on the border. There are no roads on large parts of it. But with the drones, we can see every single person who crosses the border day or night, and we can follow their path, so they can be apprehended when they are 10, 20, 25 miles inland. It is a huge improvement. Simple math tells us we have more than one Border Patrol agent for every city block of the southern border. Imagine how low crime would be if we had a police officer on every block. Imagine, once we deploy this technology, how effective it will be. For those who say the American people do not trust the government to get the job done, I say let's look at the facts. Providing additional resources to DHS for border security has an incredibly proven track record of success. In 2010 Congress passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill for border security. I worked on that with my colleague from Arizona, Senator McCain. It was $600 million. In 2009, according to the GAO, the national effective rate for the entire southern border was 72 percent. In 2011, a year after this was deployed, it went up to 82 percent. Again, saying this will not improve border security at all or saying there is no security at the border is not fair, and it is not right. I urge my colleagues not to say it. Again, some may disagree with how or disagree with how much, but there is a heck of a lot of border security in this bill. Most of the resources in the supplemental budget went to the Tucson border sector. In 2009 the effectiveness rate at the Tucson border sector was 71 percent. In 2011 it went up to 87 percent. Given that a mere $600 million supplemental appropriation was able to increase border security effectiveness from 72 percent to 82 percent, it is reasonable to assert that spending over 10 times that money on border security in the form of a $6.5 billion supplemental appropriation for personnel, infrastructure and technology will allow us to apprehend 9 out of every 10 people who try to cross the southern border illegally. Second, visa overstays will be identified and apprehended when this bill passes. An estimated 40 percent of the 11 million people in unauthorized status are individuals who entered the United States legally but overstayed their visas. When a foreign national enters the country, he or she is fingerprinted and his or her passport or visa is electronically scanned against our data security databases. Amazingly, when this individual exits the country, no such scan occurs, leading to uncertain information as to who overstayed their visas. Forty percent of those who cross illegally do not cross the border; rather, they overstay their visas. For individuals who enter the United States by air or sea, we will require those individuals to swipe their machine-readable passport visa on an electric scanner at the gate immediately before exiting the United States. To prevent identity theft when the person swipes their visa or passport, their picture comes up on a screen at the gate. The gate agent who is given the passport has to match the picture on the screen with the person giving their passport. The exit information will be given to all of the Department of Homeland Security components to generate an accurate overstay list of people who entered the United States by air or sea. Persons on this list will be apprehended, detained, and deported by ICE. Persons entering the United States from the northern border will also be identified as exiting the country via the northern border when they are granted entry into Canada, and that is because the United States and Canada are willing to share entry information such that each country will be providing the other country with de facto exit information. There is criticism leveled by opponents of immigration reform that the exit system must be biometric in order to prevent visa overstays and that using passport or visa pictures instead of fingerprints will not work. Although this criticism is not justified because we will be using picture-matching to prevent identity theft, our bill phases in biometric exit capabilities at our largest airports. During the first 2 years of enactment the bill will require the taking of biometrics for people [[Page S4088]] leaving the United States through the 10 largest international airports. It will go to 20 more in 6 years. If it works better than the photo-match system, we will phase in the print system nationwide. We believe the photo system is just as effective and much, much cheaper. Why do we need to spend billions more to achieve the same result? In any case, the key to our bill is that we will ensure, soon after passage--even as this biometric exit system is being deployed--we will be able to detect, detain, and deport individuals who enter the United States legally from Canada by airport or seaport and then overstay their visas. We also make the completion of this entry-exit system a trigger for the path to citizenship. The path to citizenship cannot happen unless this entry-exit system is deployed. Third, even if a small number of people are able to cross the border illegally or overstay their visa--neither system will be perfect--they will still not be able to find work legally in the United States due to our bill's mandatory employment verification system. Even if someone is able to get here illegally or overstays their visa, their main goal for being here--working--will be impossible after the bill is passed. That is why we have illegal immigration. The people who cross our borders are very poor people. Most of them are living in poverty and they want a job. They want some money. If they can send $10 a week home to their wife, father or children, they will cross the border to do it. But if they can't get jobs, they are not going to come. We have 11 million people here today, and we do not have a problem whereby these folks are besieging us with terrorist acts. They are simply here working and feeding their families. If we eliminate the jobs magnet, we will eliminate illegal immigration. Under this bill, every employer seeking to hire a worker must determine, using our employment verification system, whether that prospective employee is here legally and can work. If the prospective employee is either a noncitizen with work authorization, a U.S. citizen with a passport or a resident of a State that agrees to share a driver's license with DHS--and all 50 States now have driver's licenses--then the prospective employee will have to produce that form of identification to their employer that matches the photo pulled up on the E-Verify database in order to work legally. This will eliminate the identity theft problem that plagues the current E-Verify system. If the prospective employee is a U.S. citizen who does not have a passport or is not from a State that shares driver's licenses with DHS, then that individual--it is a very small number--will have to answer questions about their identity, generated randomly from their Social Security number, in order to prevent identity theft. Credit card companies have used this system to huge and positive effect. Employers who do not use E-Verify or who hire illegal workers will be given severe penalties and be jailed for repeated violations. I know many on the other side have wanted to make E-Verify mandatory and permanent. We have heard that for years. Now, all of a sudden when we do it, it is not good enough. Fourth, this bill also fundamentally alters the cost-benefit analysis for coming to the United States illegally by creating a new W visa worker program to encourage people to come here legally. Because of the bill's significantly enhanced border security, entry-exit, and employment verification, any person intending to come to the United States illegally will have to take great safety risks, at great personal and financial costs to come here. Once they are here, they will find there are no jobs available to support themselves. Alternatively, they can choose to come legally and work as part of our W visa work program that is created for individuals to work in jobs where employers cannot find American workers but only if they can't find them. Up to 200,000 visas a year will be made available for this purpose. We start with a program that can grow as our economy grows and creates more jobs and is flexibly related to the rate of unemployment. In addition, a new agricultural program will be set up to replace the previously illegal flow of agricultural workers. Given that the Census Bureau and the Pew Hispanic Center have estimated the illegal flow in past years to be around 400,000 people per year, there should be enough visas to meet any demand for additional workers that might exist. If more legal workers are needed, the newly formed Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research can provide additional visas to permit more workers to enter in occupations they find have shortages of workers. Given these new programs, it would no longer make any sense for intending illegal immigrants to spend tens of thousands of dollars and risk their lives to come here illegally. Illegal immigration will be a thing of the past. Fifth, the bill will protect American workers in four ways: Because of the new employment verification system Americans will no longer have to compete for jobs with unauthorized workers who can easily be exploited. I say to so many of my colleagues who are worried about this, I ride my bicycle around Brooklyn early in the morning. I see on various street corners congregating young men, mainly, and some guy on a truck comes over and says: I will give you $15 to work on roofing on a few houses I am building. I guarantee he doesn't say he will pay them $2 above minimum wage and give them an hour off for lunch. Those illegal immigrants are driving down the wage base, particularly in lower skilled places. That will end. Second, in the bill's legal worker programs, Americans must be recruited first before any foreign worker will be hired. In addition, all foreign workers will be required to be paid the same wage as an American would be paid for that job, meaning that a foreign worker will never be hired to undercut an American worker's wage. All foreign workers will be given portability to change employers if they don't like their current employment situation. This means employers will no longer choose foreign workers over American workers because they have more control over those workers. Finally, this is also a very fair bill--and we have, of course--I don't go into it here for lack of time--an H-1B system and a system that says if you are a foreigner who studies in an American college and gets an M.A. or Ph.D. in STEM--science, technology, engineering, and math--you will get a green card. These are the very people who in the past have created new companies and created tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America. Now, if they want to come to America after they study here or stay in America, we send them away and they go to Canada and Australia. That would not happen anymore under this bill. Finally, it is a very fair bill for legal immigration and resolving the status of the people who are here. We create a system, as I mentioned, that allows America to attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world in science, math, finance, technology, the arts, and more, fundamental to maintaining America's preeminence in a an increasingly competitive global marketplace. We also provided a JOLT--J-O-L-T--to our travel industry by making it easier for foreign nationals to come to the United States and spend their lucrative vacation dollars here instead of somewhere else. Of great importance, and perhaps the dividing line between some in this Chamber and the rest of us, we give the 11 million people here a chance to come out of the shadows and earn a path to citizenship after spending 10 years on probation, working, keeping their nose clean, learning English and civics, and paying their taxes. It is a tough path to citizenship, but it is a fair path, and it is a path we make sure will happen, providing the specific metrics in our border security provisions are met. Our bill requires all of these important enforcement resources I have described to be put in place before we give the individuals a path to citizenship. We in the Group of 8 agree that is fair to ask. The Federal Government should have to put the resources in place that we promised, as necessary, to get the job done. That is entirely within our control and we will live up to our work. But by the same token, we will not leave these 11 million people in immigration limbo forever. It makes no sense to have people living here permanently who have not invested in America. This is the huge mistake Europe has made. We see the ill effects every day on the news of what happens in European countries that have not [[Page S4089]] integrated their immigrant populations. Those populations become affected by a sense of alienation, a lack of opportunity, a lack of upward mobility. That is not America. Here we give people the chance to be all they can be through their hard work. We want people here to be serving on juries, serving in the military, and saying to people that they are just as American as anybody else. In my city--the city in which I was raised and in which I live--there is that beautiful lady in the harbor with that bright torch. That has been America, and that lady has said through the centuries: If you come here and work hard, stay clear of the law, no matter who you are and what your economic level is, we welcome you. We want you to become an American. We are not going to take that away. That would be just as dramatic a change in this country we love so much as tearing up the Bill of Rights. It has been part and parcel, warp and woof, of America. To those who suggest having some secondary status, to those who say let's put into the bill an excuse so someone 3 years from now can say no one can become a citizen, we say: No. We have some basic principles we will not compromise and that is at the top of the list. In conclusion, I wish to send this message loudly and clearly to all who might be listening today. We are interested in compromises that will make this bill even stronger and more secure. Our group does not claim to have a monopoly on wisdom. We will hear out any of our colleagues from either side of the aisle who have good-faith suggestions on how to improve this bill. I have heard some say we should not consider any further changes to the bill and dare the other side to vote against it. I reject that approach. We are not interested in scoring a political victory to help one party; we are interested in passing a law that changes the awful status quo, solves the problem, and makes America an even greater and better place. Just because the process has been, to date, so encouraging does not mean we can take anything for granted. So we welcome constructive input from our colleagues and we want to work with them. But the one thing none of us will do is condition the path to citizenship on factors that may not ever happen in order to appear tough. We are committed to border security. We are committed to ending illegal immigration. But we are equally committed to allowing people the right to earn their way to become an American citizen if they work hard, play by the rules, learn English, and avoid criminality. Just as I believe to my core that border security should not be a bargaining chip, I also believe to my core that leaving people in immigration limbo, uninvested in America and its successes, is also something we should not do just to pass a bill. I commit in good faith to every one of my colleagues in this Chamber who wants to work with me to improve the bill that I am open to any ideas. But for those of my colleagues who will not support this legislation, I simply ask the question: How would you solve this problem? The answers are not simple. That is why it has taken us months to get to where we are today. This bill represents our best chance for a broad bipartisan compromise on a complex issue that we have had for decades. I hope all of us take this opportunity very seriously. I hope we all do what we can to show the American people that their lawmakers do still have the ability to solve difficult problems that affect every one of our daily lives. With that, I ask that my colleagues will agree to work with us in good faith to improve this bill and to give a resounding vote--from both sides of the aisle--of support for this bill when it comes to final passage. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas. Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, I very much want commonsense immigration reform to pass. This bill is going to pass the Senate. But, as written, this bill will not pass the House. As written, this bill will not pass into law. And if this bill did become law, it would not solve the problem--indeed, it would make the problem of illegal immigration that we have today worse rather than better. If you likewise want to see commonsense immigration reform pass, then you have reason to be both optimistic and pessimistic. You have reason for optimism because there is widespread bipartisan agreement on many aspects of immigration. Outside of Washington, DC, there is widespread bipartisan agreement that, No. 1, our current immigration system is broken, it is not working; No. 2, that we have to get serious about securing the borders, about doing everything we can to stop illegal immigration--that in a post-9/11 world it does not make any sense that we do not know who is coming into this country; we do not know their history; we do not know their background--and, No. 3, that we need to improve and streamline legal immigration, that we need to remain a Nation that does not just welcome but that celebrates legal immigration. On those basic principles there is widespread bipartisan agreement. If this body were to focus on those areas of bipartisan agreement, that is how we would get an immigration bill passed into law--not just by one Chamber of Congress but actually passed into law. The reason, however, for pessimism is that to date the conduct of the White House and the Senate Democrats, who have been driving this process, suggests they are more interested in finding a partisan issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016 than in actually passing a bill to fix our broken immigration system. Of all of the issues swirling about this bill, the path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is the single most divisive issue; and that is the issue on which the Obama White House and the Senate Democrats insist. By insisting on that division, I believe they, by design, destine this bill to be voted down. I think if we do not end up fixing our immigration system, that would be a very unfortunate outcome. I would note in the Judiciary Committee we spent considerable time considering amendments to this bill. At the outset of the markup, I observed that I hoped it would be a real markup, that the majority had the votes, if they wanted, to reject every substantive amendment, but I very much hoped they would not, that they would be willing to work with the members of the committee to improve the bill to make it fix the problem. Sadly, at the end of the markup, I was forced to observe it had played out exactly as I feared it might at the beginning; namely, that the majority of Democrats on the committee voted down just about every single major substantive amendment that was presented, one after the other after the other. What they repeatedly said was there had been a deal that was cut--a deal that was cut with the union bosses, with the interest groups--and that deal could not be changed. Well, if that is the case, that deal is not going to get passed into law. In my view, this legislation has two major problems. The first is it does not fix the problem. In 1986, Congress passed major immigration reform--the last time we addressed and successfully passed immigration reform--and that bill had two major components: No. 1, it granted amnesty, explicit, full-out amnesty for some 3 million people who were then here illegally. The American people were told: This amnesty will be in exchange for securing the borders. In 1986 Congress told the American people: We are granting amnesty, but in exchange we will fix the problem so illegal immigration will go away as a problem. Once these 3 million get amnesty, there will be no more. Now, sadly, we are here some 30 years later and instead of 3 million there are roughly 11 million people here illegally. Because what happened in 1986 is the amnesty happened and the borders never got secured. If this bill were to pass into law, in 10, 20, 30 years we would be back here talking about another 10, 20, 30 million people here illegally. Because, like the 1986 bill, this bill will not fix the problem, and, indeed, it will exacerbate it. This bill is enormously complicated. Indeed, this bill, as currently written, is 1,076 pages--1,076 pages. It is longer than the Dodd-Frank bill, which was 848 pages. It is roughly half the size of ObamaCare, which was over 2,000 pages. In these 1,076 pages, there are, right now, over 1,000 waivers given to the [[Page S4090]] Secretary of Homeland Security and other members of the executive branch to waive law enforcement provisions, to waive border security, to give to the executive more standardless, unreviewable discretion. That, unfortunately, would only serve to exacerbate the problem. Illegal immigration is an enormous problem. It is an enormous problem in my home State of Texas, where I have spent real time down on the border visiting with ranchers, with farmers, with people living on the border, who every week have people coming illegally across their property, who no longer lock their doors at home because they have discovered if they lock their doors, they just get broken into. So it is simpler not to lock the doors rather than deal with the damage of the locks being broken or the doors kicked in. If you look at the numbers, in fiscal year 2012, the Border Patrol reported 463 deaths, 549 assaults, and 1,312 rescues. Let me point out, this current system is the opposite of humane. This current system ends up having vulnerable people coming here seeking freedom, entrusting themselves to coyotes, to drug cartels, to traffickers, and being left--sometimes women and children--to die in the desert, being left sometimes subject to sexual assault, to exploitation, to trafficking. The U.S. Department of State estimates that 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States every single year. And when it comes to the drug cartels and their role in facilitating illegal immigration, the volume is staggering. Between 2006 and 2013, there were 9.28 million pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin seized in Texas alone. To put that in perspective, the space shuttle weighs about 4.5 million pounds, which means there was twice as much--two space shuttles' worth--of illegal-drugs-seized traffic across the border. But the second major failing of this bill: It is not likely to pass. There are not 218 votes in the House of Representatives to pass a pathway to citizenship. My friends on the Democratic side of the aisle know that, but I think they have made a political judgment that they want to campaign on this issue rather than rolling up their sleeves and saying: How do we actually get a bill that can pass into law? That is what I hope this body does. In the course of the markup, I worked very hard to try to improve this bill because I want to see a bill that fixes the problem passed into law. Specifically, I offered five amendments to fix the bill, to fix the problem. Those amendments were all voted down, with every Democrat on the committee voting against them. On the floor of the Senate, I hope to offer the same amendments. If they are voted down again, and this body passes that bill, I very much hope the House of Representatives will look to these amendments as providing a pathway to fixing this bill, to actually addressing the problem. The first amendment I offered was an amendment to actually secure the borders. The amendment I offered, unlike the current bill, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a plan--and the trigger is, when the Secretary prepares a plan, that triggers the legalization provisions of this bill. Well, a plan to plan is, by design, toothless. Instead, the amendment I offered would have tripled the size of the U.S. Border Patrol to put manpower on the ground, boots on the ground, to solve the problem. It would have increased fourfold the helicopters and fixed-wing assets and technology on the ground to solve the problem. It would have put in place a biometric entry-exit system because 40 percent of the illegal immigration we have comes from visa overstays. Unfortunately, every single Democrat on the committee voted against that amendment. I offered two amendments to improve and substantially increase legal immigration. On this point, let me pause for a second to note there is no more enthusiastic advocate of legal immigration in the Senate than I am. I am the son of an immigrant. I am the son of one who had been imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, who came to this country with nothing, seeking freedom, and we need to welcome and celebrate legal immigrants. So I offered two amendments focusing on improving legal immigration so we can continue to welcome those from all around the world coming here seeking freedom. First, I offered an amendment concerning temporary high-skilled worker H-1B visas. H-1B high-skilled worker visas are overwhelmingly progrowth. The economic data indicates that for every 100 H-1B high- skilled workers who come into this country, 183 jobs are created for U.S. citizens. The amendment I offered would take the current cap of H- 1B visas, which is at 65,000, and increase it fivefold to 325,000. The current bill, the Gang of 8 bill, goes up to 110,000. That is a step in the right direction, but it does not go nearly far enough. There is far more demand than that. Right now, every year, we educate tens of thousands of foreign students at our universities. They get graduate degrees in mathematics, in engineering, in computer science. They get Ph.D.s, and then we send them back to their countries, where they start businesses there, they create businesses there, they create jobs there, and they compete against us. It makes absolutely no sense. I think we need to expand dramatically high-skilled workers, and my amendment would increase it fivefold. Every single Democrat on the committee voted against it. I would note that the proponents of the bill often find themselves in Silicon Valley telling our friends in the high-tech industry how they are champions for helping get more programmers, engineers, computer scientists into this country. Yet I note again every single Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted against increasing H-1B high-skilled workers. We need to increase that cap. The second amendment I offered that would increase legal immigration would double the overall cap on legal immigration from 675,000--the current statutory cap--to 1.35 million per year so we can have a legal system that has employment-based immigration. When people have jobs, they can meet areas of need, whether in agriculture or elsewhere. And they can also come for family unification. I am sorry to say many of my friends on the left side of the aisle-- who often describe themselves as advocates of the Hispanic community, advocates of immigrants--every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted in party line against increasing legal immigration and against doubling the caps of legal immigration. Finally, I introduced two other amendments that were both directed at respecting and maintaining the rule of law. One amendment simply eliminated the pathway to citizenship. What it provided is those people who are here illegally shall not be eligible for citizenship. It is important to note that under the existing bill, if my amendment had been adopted, those who are here illegally would be eligible for what is called RPI status, a legal status, and, indeed, in time would be eligible for legal permanent residency. So the underlying bill gives legal status to the 11 million people who are here illegally. The amendment I introduced simply said there needs to be a consequence for having violated the law. It is unfair, in my opinion, to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules--who stayed in line, who stayed in their home country years or decades--to reward those who broke the law with a path to citizenship. I believe it is also critical to passing this bill to remove the path to citizenship, and yet every single Democrat on the committee voted party line against this amendment. The final amendment I introduced was an amendment that provided that those who are here illegally shall not be eligible for State, local, or Federal means-tested welfare payments. This is an interesting issue because the advocates of the Gang of 8 bill frequently go on television and tell the American people: None of those granted amnesty in their bill will be given welfare. I have seen that. That is a central talking point. If that talking point were true, this should have been a very easy amendment to adopt. Yet every single Democrat on the committee voted against this amendment. One of the reasons is, although the Gang of 8 bill for a period exempts those here illegally from Federal welfare, roughly $300 billion a year is spent in State welfare, and those [[Page S4091]] given amnesty under this bill would be eligible for a great portion of that State welfare immediately, means-tested welfare. In my view we should welcome people from across the world, but the people we should be welcoming are those who are coming here to seek the American dream, to work hard. I believe that is the vast majority of immigrants who are coming here for a better life. We should not be putting into place systems where the hard-working American taxpayers are being taxed to provide welfare for those who are here illegally. I think that respects the rule of law to say we will welcome you here if you are working to provide for your family. Each of those amendments was rejected. Often my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle would say something like: I may agree with this particular amendment, but there was a deal cut. I may agree, but the union bosses, the special interests, the people in the closed-door rooms who negotiated this deal, we agreed on a level and we cannot increase it. It may be good to increase high-skilled workers to 325,000, but we cut a deal with the union bosses and we cannot change it. That is not how legislation should be drafted. We should be fixing the problem. We should be making our economy stronger. Right now, in my opinion, this bill is headed for failure. There should be no drama. There should be no confusion. Let's be clear. This bill, I am convinced, is going to pass the Senate. In fact, I think it is going to pass the Senate with a substantial margin. In all likelihood, near the end of this process there will be an amendment or two directed at border security that the American people will be told: OK, this finally puts teeth into the border security provisions. I hope those representations prove true. Regardless of what happens on that, I believe the votes are already precooked that this bill is going to pass the Senate. Absent major revisions, absent revisions along the lines of the amendments I introduced in committee and intend to introduce on the floor again, this bill will crash and burn in the House. It is designed to do so. So how do we save it? If we actually want to fix the problem, not have a political game but fix the problem, the answer is the American people. The American people have to speak. If you want to see the border secured, pick up the phone and let your elected Representative know. Let Senators know, let Members of the House know. Speak out online, speak out publicly. When the American people speak out and speak out loudly, their voices are heard. If you want legal immigration improved so that we welcome high- skilled workers, we welcome those seeking the American dream, speak out. If you want to respect the rule of law and not grant amnesty without securing the borders, speak out and speak out loud. Let me say, what needs to happen to change this dynamic is the key stakeholders need to decide that failure is not an option. The high-tech community, the business community, farmers and agricultural leaders need to decide that they are not willing to have this entire bill held hostage to a provision providing a pathway to citizenship that is certain to fail and designed to fail. I want to speak finally to the Hispanic advocacy groups, to the many who passionately pour their hearts into trying to improve the conditions of those in this country, including the 11 million who are here illegally. I believe the current path this bill is on is a path that is, by design, going to yield it to being voted down. I think that is why the Obama White House is insisting on a pathway to citizenship. I would note in 2007 then-Senator Obama stood on the floor of this Senate and played a key role in killing immigration reform then for the same reasons, for partisan reasons. Indeed, I would suggest a moment of clarity came in the Judiciary Committee markup when a senior Democrat, who is one of the sponsors of this bill, said: If there is no path to citizenship, there can be no reform. I think that sentence summed it up. I certainly thank that senior Democrat for his candor because he made clear there was one overwhelming partisan objective, which is a path to citizenship. In his judgment, if that partisan objective could not be accomplished 100 percent, he was willing to do nothing, zero, to improve the border. He was willing to do nothing, zero, to improve legal immigration--nothing, zero, to expand high-tech immigration; nothing, zero, to improve farmers and agricultural workers; and most telling, nothing, zero, to improve the condition of the 11 million people currently here illegally because, based on the Obama White House position that with no path to citizenship we will take our marbles and go home, we will crater this entire bill. That outcome means those 11 million remain in the shadows, have no legal status. Whereas, if the proponents of this bill actually demonstrate a commitment not to politics, not to campaigning all the time, but to actually fixing this problem, to finding a middle ground, that would fix the problem and also allow for those 11 million people who are here illegally a legal status with citizenship off the table. I believe that is the compromise that can pass. But, at least right now, the partisan advocates of this bill are not willing to accept that. The only thing that can change that is if the American people speak out. The only thing that can change that is if the stakeholders make clear to the Obama White House, to the Senate Democrats, failure is not an option; that if this fails, because as a political matter you insisted on a path to citizenship and threw everything else overboard, that failure would be unacceptable. I very much hope we work together in a bipartisan manner to fix this problem in a way that secures the border, in a way that respects the rule of law, and in a way that improves legal immigration so we remain a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey. Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I have a more robust statement that I intend to make later. But since I understand the time is truncated, I will wait for that because I am not going to equivocate on something that I feel passionately about and something that I have worked on a long time as part of the Gang of 8 to achieve. So, hopefully, I will get to that later today. I did want to take advantage of the time that is available to just create a certain context having just heard from my colleague from Texas. I am glad he acknowledges this bill will pass the Senate. I believe the bill will pass the Senate because the American people are tired of a broken immigration system that neither meets our values, preserves our security, or promotes our economy. That is what is driving the American people in poll after poll and saying it is time to fix our broken system. Now, I have heard the comments about this bill will pass the Senate, but it will not pass the House. Well, having served in the House, I am not quite sure anybody can make that determination. Part of it will be what leadership wants to achieve in the House and what it does not seek to achieve. I would not negotiate against myself, against a process in the House which I am unaware of at this moment of exactly how they are going to pursue it. So why would I seek to diminish the Senate's prerogative to send what they think is the appropriate reform on immigration to the House for their consideration. I would not want to do that. That is what conferences are all about. So if the House has a different view as to how we reform our broken immigration system, has a different view as to how we ensure the national security of the United States, has a different view as to how we promote the economic interests that immigration reform does promote, has a different view as to how we ensure that workers' wages are not suppressed by having an underclass of millions of people who are exploited and therefore bringing down the wages of all other American workers, fine. Let them express their view and then we can come together in a conference and negotiate what hopefully can be a final version to be sent to the President. I find it ironic that my colleague from Texas consistently refers to Senate Democrats insisting on a pathway to citizenship. I assume he takes the mantle of the Republican Party and says all Republicans believe there should be no pathway to citizenship. That, obviously, is rejected by the four [[Page S4092]] colleagues who worked with me for months: Senator McCain, Senator Graham, Senator Flake, and Senator Rubio, who believe a pathway to citizenship is an important ingredient toward achieving the comprehensive reform we all want, as well as others who have expressed support for that concept. I know it may be popular with some of my colleagues to invoke President Obama's name as some type of red herring in this process. The bottom line is the bill we are debating, or I hope we will be debating after the motion to proceed shortly, is about finding the fixes to our broken immigration system that was devised by four Democrats and four Republicans and has since been supported by more. So it is not about President Obama. It is about getting the Senate to function and to solve one of the critical issues facing this country. I heard the suggestion that only Senate Democrats got amendments they wanted and they opposed amendments of Republicans in the Judiciary Committee. My understanding is that there were 136 amendments adopted in the Judiciary Committee, of which all but three were bipartisan amendments or Republican-sponsored amendments. So I respect that the Senator had amendments and maybe his view did not prevail, but it is not true that there was not a bipartisan process that led to 136 amendments to the original proposition of the Gang of 8 put forward in order to be able to move forward. As a matter of fact, I think some of those who have opposed and still oppose comprehensive immigration reform--I know there are some that if 10 angels came swearing from above that this would be the right policy for America, they would say, no, you are wrong to the 10 angels. I get it. I understand where they are, but the process held in the Judiciary Committee was about as open, transparent, and fair as you could have. That is why there are 136 changes to our proposal by virtue of the Judiciary Committee. Finally, this reference to union bosses. I don't know any union bosses who were in any room. As a matter of fact, part of the compromise is that labor didn't get everything it wanted, neither did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But they both agreed, and they were standing behind us when we announced this legislation, in saying this is good for America. Big business, the AFL-CIO, United Farm Workers with the big agro growers in this country, the most progressive pro-immigrant groups with Grover Norquist and the Americans for Tax Reform, all say this legislation is what is important and necessary for America. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. I expect, during the course of this debate, to make sure that at least when we are debating, we are debating the same facts. This legislation is good for our country. It will reform our broken immigration system. It will let me know who is here to pursue the American dream versus who might be here to do it harm. It will create economic opportunity for all Americans. It will add more taxpayers to the rolls of this country so there can be true, shared burden at the end of the day. It will create greater enterprise, as is exhibited by the high-tech companies, of which so many have been created by immigrants in this country. I look forward to a fuller opportunity to present all of the reasons why this legislation, including tough border security provisions, more than ever before, more money spent than ever before--that this, in fact, will be spent in an intelligent way and in a way that ultimately, cumulatively, creates for border security more money than we are spending in domestic law enforcement as a whole. I look forward to that opportunity. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa. Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I rise to talk about four claims this bill makes, these four claims that are on the chart, to disprove those claims under certain circumstances. Before I do that, everybody who has spoken so far has said we have to pass a bill. I don't disagree with that but not just any bill. A bill that secures the border is very necessary. The status quo is not justifiable. We have to realize the reality of the fact that we can't gather 11 or 12 million people to deport, and if we did that, we would hurt the economy. That is the reality. To get around that, we have to get a bill that gets through the Senate, the House of Representatives, and that the President approves. My main goal throughout these next 2 or 3 weeks is to develop a bill that accomplishes that but to stress that a lot of things that have been said by the authors of this legislation are not accurate. I will take a few minutes to discuss how the authors have tried to sell the immigration bill and what I see as false advertising. Legislators are in the business of selling ideas. With this bill, the American people are being sold a product. They are being asked to accept legalization and, in exchange, they would be assured through this legislation that the laws are going to be enforced. Normally consumers are able to read the labels of things they are about to purchase. They would have to read about 1,175 pages of this bill to know what it truly says. Even a quick read of the bill would leave many shaking their heads in confusion. You have heard the phrase, ``The devil is in the details.'' At first the proposal that the bipartisan group put forward sounded very reasonable, but we need to examine the fine print and take a closer look at what the bill does. As I noted yesterday, I thought the framework; that is, when they started working on it, held hope. I realized the assurances the Gang of 8 made didn't translate when the bill language emerged. They professed that the border would be secured and that people would earn their legal status. However, the bill, as drafted, is legalization first, enforcement later, if at all. I would like to dive into the details and give a little reality check to those who expect this bill to do exactly as the authors promise. What do the proponents of this bill say the legislation will do? The first thing on my chart is, ``People will have to pay a penalty'' to obtain legal status. The bill lays out the application procedure. On page 972, a penalty is imposed on those who apply for registered provisional immigration status. It says that those who apply must pay $1,000 to the Department of Homeland Security. It waives the penalty for anyone under 21 years. Yet on the next page it allows the applicant to pay the penalty in installments. The bill says: The Secretary shall establish a process for collecting payments . . . that permit the penalty to be paid in periodic installments that shall be completed before the alien may be granted an extension of status. In effect, this says the applicant has 6 years to pay the $1,000. That is how long it takes to get RPI status. In addition to the penalty, applicants would pay a processing fee, a level set by the Secretary. The bill says the Secretary has the discretion to waive the processing fee for any classes of individuals that she chooses and may limit the maximum fee paid by a family. The fact is, the bill doesn't actually require everyone to pay a penalty. In view of the waiver, it doesn't require anyone to pay it when they apply for legal status. In fact, they may never have to pay a penalty. Let's go to No. 2 on the chart. ``People will have to pay back taxes'' to receive legal status. In reality, members of the Gang of 8 stated over and over that their bill would require undocumented individuals to pay back taxes prior to being granted legal status. However, the bill before us fails to make good on the promise. Proponents of the bill point to a provision in the bill that prohibits people from filing for legal status ``unless the applicant has satisfied any applicable Federal tax liability.'' It sounds good, right? As always, the devil is in the details. There are two important weaknesses with how the bill defines ``applicable Federal tax liability.'' First, the bill limits the definition to exclude employer taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes. Think of that exclusion. Second, the bill does not require the payment of all back taxes legally owed. What it requires is a payment of taxes assessed by the Internal Revenue Service. Think of the IRS assessing. In [[Page S4093]] order to assess a tax, the IRS first must have information on which to base this assessment. Our tax system is largely a voluntary system on self-reporting. It also relies on certain third-party reporting, such as wages reported by the employer; that is, the W-2 form. If someone has been working unlawfully in the country and working off the books, it is likely that neither an individual return or third- party return will exist. Thus, no assessment will exist and no taxes will be paid. Similarly, it is very unlikely that an assessment will exist for those who have worked under false Social Security numbers and never paid a tax. A legal obligation exists to pay taxes on all income from whatever sources derived. Nothing in this bill provides a requirement or a mechanism to accomplish this prior to granting legal status. One of the gang members in January said this: Shouldn't citizens pay back taxes? We can trace their employment back. It doesn't take a genius. While it may seem common sense, the other side of the aisle is going to argue that establishing the requirement to pay back taxes owed, rather than assessed, is unworkable and costly. They will also claim that imposing additional tax barriers on this population could prevent undocumented workers and their families from coming forward. The sales pitch has been clear. To get legal status, one has to pay back taxes. Let me provide a reality check. The bill doesn't make good on the promises made. Third, they say people will have to learn English. In reality, the bill as drafted is supposed to ensure that new Americans speak a common language. Learning English is a way new residents assimilate. This is an issue that is very important. Immigrants before us made a concerted effort to learn English. The proponents are claiming the bill fulfills this wish. However, the bill does not require people here unlawfully to learn English before receiving legal status or even a green card. Under section 2101, a person with RPI status who applies for a green card only has to pursue a course of study to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding of civics. If the people who gain legal access ever apply for citizenship--and some doubt this will happen to a majority of the undocumented population--they would have to pass an English proficiency exam as required under current law. Yes, after 13 years one would have to pass an exam, but the bill does very little to ensure that those who come out of the shadows will cherish or use an English language. The reality is that English isn't as much of a priority for the proponents of the bill as much as they claim it is. Fourth and last, they say, ``People won't get public benefits'' when they choose to apply for legal status. The reality is Americans are very compassionate and generous. Many people can understand providing some legal status to people here illegally. One major sticking point, for those who question a legalization program, is the fact that lawbreakers could become eligible for public benefits and taxpayer subsidies. The authors of the bill understood this, thank God. In an attempt to show that those who receive RPI status would not receive taxpayers' benefits, they included a provision that prohibited the population from receiving certain benefits. There are two major problems with the bill on this point. First, those who receive RPI status will be immediately eligible for State and local welfare benefits. For instance, many States offer cash, medical, and food assistance through State-only programs to lawfully present citizens. Second, the bill contains a welfare waiver loophole that could allow those with RPI status to receive Federal welfare dollars. The Obama administration has pushed the envelope by waiving welfare laws. If this loophole isn't closed, they could waive existing laws and allow funds provided under the welfare block grant, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, to be provided to noncitizens. Senator Hatch had an amendment during committee markup that would prohibit U.S. Department of HHS from waiving certain requirements of the TANF Program. His amendment would also prohibit any Federal agency from waiving restriction on eligibility of immigrants for public benefits. The reality check for the American people is that there are loopholes and the potential for public benefits to go to those who are legalized under the bill. Again, the devil is in the details. I hope this reality check will encourage proponents of the bill to fix these problems before the bill is passed in the Senate. The American people deserve truth in advertising. We can't maintain the status quo on immigration. A bill should pass, but the bill that passes should actually do what the authors say it will do. I have tried to point out some of the promises that may not be kept. Authorized waivers in this bill--and I have used that word a few times--delegate to the Secretary to actually take action contrary to what is claimed by the authors and, hence, can undercut the intentions of the authors. We should legislate then and not delegate. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on agreeing to the motion to proceed to S. 744. Mr. GRASSLEY. I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be a sufficient second. The clerk will call the roll. The bill clerk called the roll. Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain). The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 84, nays 15, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 147 Leg.] YEAS--84 Alexander Ayotte Baldwin Baucus Begich Bennet Blumenthal Blunt Boxer Brown Burr Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Chambliss Chiesa Coats Coburn Collins Coons Corker Cornyn Cowan Donnelly Durbin Feinstein Fischer Flake Franken Gillibrand Graham Grassley Hagan Harkin Hatch Heinrich Heitkamp Heller Hirono Hoeven Isakson Johanns Johnson (SD) Johnson (WI) Kaine King Klobuchar Landrieu Leahy Levin Manchin McCaskill McConnell Menendez Merkley Mikulski Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Nelson Paul Portman Pryor Reed Reid Rockefeller Rubio Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Thune Toomey Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Warner Warren Whitehouse Wicker Wyden NAYS--15 Barrasso Boozman Cochran Crapo Cruz Enzi Inhofe Kirk Lee Risch Roberts Scott Sessions Shelby Vitter NOT VOTING--1 McCain The motion was agreed to. ____________________