(Senate - June 13, 2013)

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[Pages S4435-S4444]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S. 744, which the clerk will report.
  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.
       Grassley/Blunt amendment No. 1195, to prohibit the granting 
     of registered provisional immigrant status until the 
     Secretary has maintained effective control of the borders for 
     6 months.

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, when Alfredo Castaneda crossed the border 
from Mexico into the United States two decades ago, he didn't climb 
over a fence. He didn't swim across a river. He didn't fly over the 
border. He didn't walk through the desert. When Alfredo Castaneda 
crossed the border, he was a 2-year-old little boy perched on his 
father's shoulders.
  The choice to leave Mexico wasn't an easy one for Alfredo's father, 
but the rumble of hunger in his belly and in his son's belly convinced 
Alfredo's dad to leave behind the world he knew for a hopefully better 
life in America. He wrote me a letter; it is addressed to me. Here is 
what he said:

       I lived in a shack with one wall of my house leaning on my 
     neighbor's; the other three were made of sticks and mud 
     bricks. I wanted to give my family a better life, and so I 
     hear the U.S. is a land of opportunity. All I want is to have 
     a sliver of that opportunity for my family.

  So with his wife by his side and his son on his shoulders, Alfredo's 
father came to America illegally. Alfredo was a 2-year-old boy, as I 
mentioned, at the time. Today he is a 23-year-old man who appreciates 
the privileges that come with life in America, but he is also conscious 
of the opportunities available only to U.S. citizens--opportunities 
that aren't available to him because of his immigration status.
  When his friends applied for part-time jobs in high school, Alfredo 
knew he could never work legally. When he was researching a paper for a 
class, Alfredo was denied a library card because he had no 
identification. When he filled out an application for his dream school, 
selecting ``noncitizen'' on an online form, Alfredo received an error 
message in bold red letters that said ``noncitizens cannot apply''--
cannot apply for entry into this institution.
  Alfredo's life in Nevada bears little in common with the shack of 
sticks and mud he left behind. For him, America truly is the land of 
opportunity his father envisioned. Yet, until recently, Alfredo could 
not get a Social Security number, a driver's license, or even a full-
time job because he is an undocumented immigrant. But that hasn't 
stopped him from reaching for his dreams. This is what he wrote in 
addition to what we have already heard:

       My parents constantly reminded me to be a good citizen and 
     volunteer in my community whenever possible. They said that 
     it would pay off and would help me acquire citizenship in the 
     future. I took that to heart.

  So Alfredo worked hard in high school--really hard--volunteered in a 
local hospital, and became politically

[[Page S4436]]

active. He enrolled in the College of Southern Nevada.
  Since he can't find steady work, it has been difficult for Alfredo to 
afford tuition while he helps support his family. But he believes 
things are about to change for the better.
  Thanks to a directive issued last year by President Obama, Alfredo 
and 800,000 DREAMers just like him won't be deported and will be able 
to work and drive legally. Alfredo has already applied for several 
jobs. He has even gotten a few interviews. He looks forward to learning 
to drive, going back to school, completing his associate's degree, and 
one day owning a business.
  But President Obama's directive isn't a permanent answer. The 
Republican majority in the House of Representatives voted last week to 
resume deportation of outstanding young people just like Alfredo who 
were brought to this country through no fault of their own. Remember, 
this boy got here on his dad's shoulders. And the directive isn't a 
solution for Alfredo's parents and 10 million people just like them who 
live in the United States without the proper paperwork.
  It is more important than ever that Congress pass a permanent fix for 
this Nation's broken immigration system. Alfredo believes in us. He 
believes we will succeed. He believes we will find the political will 
to pass commonsense, bipartisan immigration reform and do it now.
  His letter contained a reminder of what is at stake in this debate. 
This is what he wrote:

       It's not just a piece of legislation; that piece of paper 
     holds our dreams, ambitions, and potential in it.

  I note the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Schatz). The majority leader.
  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, it is my understanding that the immigration 
bill was reported, so we are on that bill right now; is that right?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  Mr. REID. And the pending amendment is what?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The pending amendment is Grassley amendment 
No. 1195.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, in a brief moment I am going to move to 
table that amendment, but I want everyone to understand that I talked 
to Senator Grassley yesterday and told him I was going to do this, and 
the staffs have been advised of it as well.
  So I ask unanimous consent to move to table the Grassley amendment 
and that the vote on the motion to table occur at 10 a.m. following the 
remarks of Senator McConnell; and that at a time following Senator 
McConnell's remarks, there be 5 minutes for the opposition and 5 
minutes for those supporting the motion to table. So the vote would 
occur a little after 10 a.m., but that depends on how long Senator 
McConnell speaks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Republican leader is recognized.

                            Young Americans

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the Obama economy has been pretty rough 
on our Nation's young people. If you are a teenager looking for work 
over the summer break or if you are a high-schooler looking for a part-
time job after school, good luck with that. The unemployment rate for 
16- to 19-year-olds is 25 percent--25 percent--which is near historic 
highs. If you are a college graduate, things don't look much brighter. 
In fact, the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds is over 13 
  It hardly needs mentioning at this point that many Americans are 
likely to see their hours cut or their jobs disappear altogether as 
ObamaCare continues to come online. That is because so far we know that 
the President's new health care law will impose about 20,000 pages of 
onerous regulations and probably many more than that when all is said 
and done.
  Many of these regulations will hit small businesses, which create the 
majority of new jobs in our country. Many of these regulations will hit 
part-time workers very hard. For instance, the law punishes businesses 
if they allow employees to work too many hours. So it is no surprise 
when we read any one of the numerous stories about companies slashing 
hours. It also punishes businesses if they dare to give jobs to too 
many people, so, of course, it will probably lead them to slash jobs or 
actually limit hiring.
  I am sure the Washington Democrats who drafted ObamaCare thought they 
were striking some blow for ``fairness'' with these job-crushing ideas. 
Well, now the youth of our country are finding out what Democrats' so-
called fairness means for them. It means smaller paychecks or no 
paychecks at all. It must seem pretty unfair from where they stand.
  It actually gets a lot worse. Many experts predict that ObamaCare 
will also cause health care premiums to skyrocket, especially for 
younger Americans. Some studies show that young men in particular could 
see rate increases of 50 percent--50 percent--or more. Think about 
that. You work your tail off in high school just to get into a good 
college. You spend 4 years pulling all-nighters and cramming for 
finals, all for the privilege of putting on a gown, accepting your 
degree, and potentially spending who knows how long frantically 
searching to find work. Then, if you are lucky--if you are lucky--your 
hours get cut after you find a job or maybe your job gets cut 
altogether. You get a letter in the mail that says: Sorry, your premium 
is going up by double-digits. Can't pay the higher premium? Too bad. If 
you don't, Uncle Sam slaps you with a penalty tax. And for all the talk 
of subsidies, the studies indicate these payments from taxpayers might 
not even make up for the higher costs.
  Look, I would be pretty disillusioned if I were in that position, and 
I think everyone else would be also. Well, it could get worse if 
Washington Democrats don't start getting serious about working with 
Republicans on student loans too. As I mentioned last week, President 
Obama and Republicans actually agree in broad terms on the way forward 
for student loan reform. As the President's Secretary of Education told 
Politico yesterday--this is the Obama administration's Secretary of 

       My strong preference would be for a longer-term solution, 
     and not to just keep solving it this year, and then the next 
     year and then the next year.

  So it is time for Senate Democrats to stop blocking us from enacting 
permanent reform because Federal rates for new student loans are set to 
double--double--if we don't act soon.
  Several Senate Democratic leaders have basically already admitted to 
the media that they would rather have a failed bill they can morph into 
a campaign issue than a signed bill that can help 100 percent of 
  It is time for that to change, and they should not assume younger 
Americans will be that easily tricked one more time in 2014. These 
young men and women may be drowning in the Obama economy, but it is not 
because they are dumb or lazy or apathetic. It is because of policies 
dreamed up in Washington during the years of the Obama administration.
  As the days go by, these young Americans are discovering just how 
unfairly Washington Democrats have treated them in the past few years.

                          Keeping a Commitment

  Finally, Mr. President, we have been discussing on a daily basis 
whether the majority leader will keep the commitment he made at the 
beginning of the last two Congresses that no rules changes would be 
made other than by following the rules. In other words, the commitment 
was: I will not break the rules of the Senate in order to change the 
rules of the Senate.
  My friend the majority leader has made that commitment on two 
occasions. He made it in January of 2011 for the next two Congresses. 
We are in the second Congress now. At the beginning of this Congress, 
we had an extensive discussion about rules changes, after which the 
vast majority of Senate Republicans supported two rules changes and two 
standing orders, and in return for those changes we made, the majority 
leader committed once again that

[[Page S4437]]

for this Congress he would not pull the nuclear trigger, as we call it 
around here, use the nuclear option; in other words, turn the Senate 
into the House.
  So the majority leader will be confronted with his promise, his 
commitment, on a daily basis until we understand fully that he intends 
to keep his commitment to the Senate and to the American people.
  I yield the floor.

                       Reservation of Leader Time

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, leadership time is 
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum and 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. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Amendment No. 1195

  Under the previous order, the time until 10 a.m. is equally divided 
between the proponents and opponents of the motion to table the 
amendment offered by the Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
proponents be given 5 minutes and the opponents be given 5 minutes and 
then we vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise to speak against the amendment 
offered by my friend and colleague, the ranking member of the Judiciary 
  What does this amendment do? It is very simple. It says that the 11 
million people living in the shadows cannot even get RPI status, the 
provisional status by which they can work and travel, until--until--the 
Secretary of Homeland Security says the border is fully secure.
  We all know that will take years and years and years, and that is why 
an amendment very similar to this came up in the Judiciary Committee 
and was defeated 12 to 6, with two Republicans joining the Democrats in 
voting against it, Mr. Flake and Mr. Graham, who were part of our so-
called Gang of 8.
  The problem with the amendment is very simple: What do we do for 5, 6 
years until the border is fully secure? It is going to take a while to 
do it. We need to bring equipment there. We need to build fences there. 
We need to do all of the kinds of things that are in our bill. We 
provide $6.5 billion to build $1 billion worth of border fence, to 
deploy sensors, fixed towers, radar, drones that will cover the entire 
  So what are we telling those 11 million? If you hide successfully 
from the police, then maybe 5 years from now you can stay here and get 
the right to work and the right to travel. This clearly would undo the 
entire theme and structure of the immigration bill that has such 
bipartisan support that is before us today.
  Again, let me repeat, as I understand it, it is opposed by all the 
Members of the Gang of 8--the four Democrats and the four Republicans--
for the very reason it will take years and years until the border is 
secure. To wait that long, we will have millions more come across the 
borders illegally, the number of illegal immigrants in America will 
increase, and we may never get to real immigration reform that is 
needed--so desperately needed--by the country.
  I strongly urge that this amendment be defeated. The American people 
made it resoundingly clear they want us to move forward with 
immigration reform in a careful, balanced, and bipartisan way. They 
want us to secure the border, and they want us to be reasonable about 
the 11 million who are here and about future immigration so we can grow 
the American economy. That is what our bill does.
  This proposal would undo much of that without proposing any real 
solutions as to what we do before that. It has bipartisan opposition, 
and I strongly urge that it be defeated.
  I yield the rest of my time to the chairman of our Judiciary 
Committee, Senator Leahy.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, this amendment offered by my friend from 
Iowa would significantly delay even the initial registration process 
for the 11 million undocumented individuals in the country.
  We believe the pathway to citizenship has to be earned, but it also 
has to be attainable. This amendment would further delay a process that 
already would take at least 13 years.
  Bringing these 11 million people out of the shadows is not only the 
right thing to do, it is the best thing to do. It keeps our country 
safe. We would know who is here. We could focus our resources on who 
poses a threat.
  This amendment is also unnecessary. We have been pouring billions of 
dollars into border security in recent years. We have made enormous 
progress since the last immigration bills in 2006 and 2007, and this 
bill takes even more steps.
  As I said yesterday on the floor, I am going to have to oppose this 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I wish to remind my colleagues that we 
were promised an open and fair process on this legislation. The fact 
that the majority is moving to table my amendment proves this so-called 
open and fair process is a farce. The majority is afraid to have an up-
or-down vote on my amendment. They are apparently afraid to have an 
open debate and vote on a provision that ensures true border security 
before legalization, and that is what the people of this country want. 
They claim to be open to improving the bill, but this motion to table 
shows they are not ready to fundamentally change the bill.
  By tabling my amendment, the majority is stifling progress on this 
bill. They are refusing to have an amendment process to improve it. 
This is not the right way to start off on a very important bill.
  You know, we only do immigration reform once every 25 years. So what 
is the hurry? Surely, we need an amendment process in which true 
immigration reform can succeed. There is a lesson to be learned from 
the 1986 legislation that is now the law of the land. Then, we 
legalized first and thought we were going to secure the border later, 
which we never did.
  So this amendment is the first of many that will improve the bill and 
do what the authors of the bill say they want to do, secure the border 
and do what the American people expect us to do. If the American people 
are being asked to accept a legalization program in exchange for that 
compassionate approach, they should be assured that the laws are going 
to be enforced.
  But as we read the details of the bill, it is clear the approach 
taken is legalize first, enforce later, the same mistake that was made 
in 1986. My amendment would fundamentally change that. The amendment 
that is now pending would require the Secretary to certify to Congress 
that the Secretary has maintained effective control over the entire 
southern border for at least 6 months before processing applications 
for legalization.
  It is a commonsense approach: border security first, like promised, 
legalize next. If the bill passes as is, the Secretary only needs to 
submit two plans before processing people through the legalization 
program. We do not need to pass any more legislation that tells this 
administration to do a job that is already required of them that they 
are not doing. People want laws enforced. Nevertheless, the bill would 
start legalization even if the strategies the Secretary submits to 
Congress are flawed and inadequate. What if this Secretary is not 
committed to fencing? What if this Secretary believes the border is 
more secure than ever? Well, in fact, this Secretary told the committee 
she thought the borders were secure. That should concern all of us.
  Legalization status is more than probation. This RPI status is, in 
fact, legalization. Once a person gets RPI, they get the freedom to 
live in the United States. They can travel, work, and benefit from 
everything our country offers. RPI status is de facto permanent 
  We all know it will never be taken away. People who say 10 years down 
the road if we do not have the borders secure, that they are going to 

[[Page S4438]]

back and classify these people as illegal again, that is naive. Given 
the history of these types of programs, we know it will never end.
  My amendment improves the trigger and fulfills the wish of the 
American people. My amendment ensures that the border is secured before 
one person gets legal status.
  If we pass this bill as it is, there will be no pressure on this 
administration or future administrations to secure the border. There 
will be no push by the legalization advocates to get that job done. We 
need to work together. We need to secure the border for several 
reasons, so that we are not back here in the same position 25 years 
from now saying we made a mistake 25 years ago, like we know now we 
made a mistake. We need to protect our sovereignty and to protect the 
homeland and improve national security.
  Under my amendment the Secretary would have to prove that we have 
effective control, as defined in the bill, for 6 months before the 
applications for registered provisional immigration status are 
processed. I agree with at least one of the authors of this bill that 
if the border security title is not improved this bill does not stand a 
chance of getting to the President.
  So my amendment is a first and necessary step to fixing this issue.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, my dear friend--we have served together in 
the Congress for more than three decades--I care a great deal about 
him. He is a good legislator. But I think the only criticism I have is 
he must be reading my speeches because the speech he just gave is 
almost a carbon copy of what I have been saying for a long time: that 
we should not have this 60-vote threshold on everything the Republicans 
  For him to come now and say we are going to have 50 votes, he should 
go back and reread my speeches, which maybe his staff has done.
  I move to table the Grassley amendment. I ask for the yeas and nays 
on my motion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to the motion to table amendment No. 1195 offered by the 
Senator from Iowa.
  Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  The result was announced--yeas 57, nays 43, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 148 Leg.]


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


     Johnson (WI)
  The motion was agreed to.
  Mr. REID. I move to reconsider the vote and to lay that motion on the 
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, for the benefit of Members, we have had a 
number of amendments filed, and I would like to move forward on trying 
to move this legislation along. That is what this is all about.
  So, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the following 
amendments be in order and be called up in the order I offer them here: 
Thune No. 1197, Landrieu No. 1222, Vitter No. 1228, Tester No. 1198, 
and Heller No. 1227; that the time until 11:30 a.m. be equally divided 
between the two managers or their designees for debate on these 
amendments; that at that time; that is, 11:30 a.m., the Senate proceed 
to vote on the amendments in this agreement in the order listed; that 
there be no second-degree amendments in order prior to the votes; that 
all the amendments be subject to a 60-affirmative vote threshold; that 
there be 2 minutes equally divided between the votes, and all after the 
first vote be 10 minutes in duration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, reserving the right to object----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I have a suggestion: that we agree to everything for 
the first four amendments on the list.
  I object.
  Mr. REID. So you object to the whole thing?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Yes.
  Mr. REID. I thought we had a deal there.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. I therefore ask, because of the objection, unanimous 
consent that the following amendments be in order to be called up: 
Thune No. 1197, Landrieu No. 1222, Vitter No. 1228, Tester No. 1198, 
and Heller No. 1227.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Reserving the right to object----
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I suggest to the majority leader we can agree to what 
he has suggested except for Heller amendment No. 1227.
  Mr. REID. I am disappointed my colleague's amendment is not going to 
be part of this, but maybe we can work on that at a subsequent time.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Yes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the request as modified?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, while we are determining the best way to 
move forward on these amendments that are now in order, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Senator from New Mexico Mr. Heinrich be allowed to 
speak for up to 15 minutes to give his maiden speech before the Senate, 
and during that 15-minute period of time we will try to figure out a 
way to proceed.
  That is the request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. I also ask unanimous consent that following the Senator's 
statement I be recognized.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from New Mexico.

                    Meeting 21st Century Challenges

  Mr. HEINRICH. I thank the Chair for the opportunity to address the 
Chamber today.
  Mr. President, I am a strong believer that innovation is what America 
does best, that boundless wonder and curiosity can lead to 
revolutionary discoveries, and that diligence and optimism can break 
down barriers. I am a believer that technology and, more importantly, 
the scientific method are how we can best meet many of our 21st-century 
challenges. And this is, indeed, a time of great challenge for our 
  There is no question that it is easier to legislate in a time of 
peace and prosperity than in a time of economic recovery and global 
conflict. But Americans, Mr. President, are no strangers to adversity. 
Time and again we have shown our ingenuity and our perseverance. In 
fact, the very character of our Nation has been shaped by hard work and 
innovation. That is America's story. I am certain our capacity to deal 
with the challenges we face rests heavily on our ability to make policy 
that is driven by facts, by data, and, yes, by science.
  Historically, America has responded to challenges with transformative 
innovations--electricity, radio, television, transistors, silicon 

[[Page S4439]]

processors, and the rise of the modern distributed Internet. In my own 
State of New Mexico, we have built our economy around some of the 
greatest innovations of the modern era.
  New Mexico Tech, the University of New Mexico, and New Mexico State 
University offered advanced degrees in chemistry and engineering as 
early as the 1890s. After World War I, Kirtland, Holloman, and Cannon 
military bases in our State provided supreme training conditions for 
the new flight wing of the Army that would eventually be called the 
U.S. Air Force.
  During World War II, New Mexico was home to the Manhattan Project, 
which installed Los Alamos National Laboratory, White Sands Missile 
Range, and Sandia National Laboratories.
  Through the collaboration of its major defense and research 
installations, New Mexico has become the birthplace of technologies 
that have changed the world. Over time, our National Labs, our 
universities, and our defense installations have proven to be 
invaluable to research and development not only for our State but for 
the entire Nation. They led key research efforts during the space race 
and continue to develop modern defense and computer technology in the 
digital age, often partnering with private sector innovators such as 
Intel Corporation.
  As innovators in technology transfer, Sandia National Labs and Intel 
came together on the development of radiation-hardened microprocessors 
for space and defense applications. With the help of our State 
universities, New Mexico will continue to lead the way in low-carbon 
energy technology.
  The University of New Mexico Taos Campus is a prime example of the 
public and private sectors working together to employ cleaner energy. 
Their campus is home to one of the largest solar arrays in the State--a 
project that was successful thanks to a partnership with Los Alamos 
National Lab and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.
  On the research front, Santa Fe Community College and New Mexico 
State University are developing algal biofuels as a source of liquid 
renewable energy. In addition to our universities benefiting from 
technology transfer, Los Alamos National Lab's Labstart Initiative is 
also promoting growth in the private sector. This program encourages 
future entrepreneurs to start businesses using technologies first 
developed within our National Labs. So far, the lab-to-market strategy 
has brought $20 million in revenue for the 19 companies that have 
started under this initiative.
  Today, the technology industry, both public and private, supports 
nearly 50,000 jobs in our small State at over 2,000 technology 
establishments throughout New Mexico. It is our history of innovation 
and new technology that drive New Mexico's economy and our 
contributions to this great Nation.
  As our country faces the challenges of bringing our economy back from 
a devastating recession and reversing the effects of climate change, we 
must embrace the challenge and lead the world in innovation and clean 
energy, using science as our guide to setting public policy. Yet during 
my time in Washington, too often I have seen scientific integrity 
undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance 
ideological or even purely political agendas. I have watched as too 
many of us in elected office moved from being entitled to our own 
opinions--something which our democracy relies upon--to embracing the 
belief that somehow we are entitled to our own facts. None of us are 
entitled to our own facts.
  As someone who began my adult life studying engineering, I believe we 
must better use science as a guiding tool in our deliberations on how 
to set public policy. Whether for our national security, our energy 
independence, or our Nation's ability to compete in the global economy, 
our efforts and our solutions should be rooted in fact and driven by 
the best available science but also with a keen eye to the innovations 
that are transforming our Nation before our very eyes.
  By investing in education, in research, engineering, in our teachers, 
and in our professors, we will lead the world in scientific and 
technological innovation. Even in this challenging fiscal environment, 
we must make the investments that have paid dividends for our Nation 
time and time again.
  My own path to scientific inquiry began in the first grade. I had a 
teacher named Mrs. Taylor, who saw in me a thirst for knowledge and 
discovery. She fed that desire, even when it meant considerable extra 
work and planning a supplemental curriculum that wasn't part of her 
normal work plan. She was the kind of teacher--and I hope some of you 
have had one--who would take the extra time to make sure a student 
hungry to read never ran out of new books to explore or that a student 
interested in fossils and dinosaurs had extra projects and materials to 
feed their interest.
  I can honestly say, if it weren't for Mrs. Taylor, my own life would 
have taken some very different turns. When we ensure that every student 
has a Mrs. Taylor, we ensure that our children will not just spend 
their afternoons playing on tablets and smart phones, but they will 
have the education to grow up designing and building the next 
generation of technology and devices. We should harness their natural 
intellectual curiosity to solve humankind's greatest challenges.
  From the classrooms of our elementary schools to the research labs of 
our universities, to the grounds of our National Laboratories and 
research institutes to the offices of venture capital firms and 
innovative tech startups, the frontiers of human knowledge can be 
boundless. If we harness it, we will continue to fuel our Nation's 
  No area of innovation and science will be more important in the 
coming years than our Nation's ability to tackle climate change and to 
lead the world in clean energy technology. America can and must become 
truly energy independent, and we must move from traditional carbon-
intensive energy sources to ever-cleaner alternatives. Investing in 
cleaner energy will create quality jobs and protect our Nation from the 
serious economic and strategic risks associated with our reliance on 
foreign energy.
  I must take the opportunity to say how impressed I have been with the 
current bipartisan efforts to embrace energy efficiency.
  Whether your goal is job creation, economic vitality, saving 
consumers money, or lowering your carbon footprint, conservation is not 
only conservative, it is effective. Getting the most out of every unit 
of energy we use should be a concern for all of levels of government--
State, Federal, and local--and for community organizations as well.
  I have spent a lot of time traveling across my home State of New 
Mexico highlighting how innovation and investment in new energy 
technology can help create good jobs and grow our economy. New Mexico 
is home to innovators such as EMCORE Corporation, a leading provider of 
compound semiconductor-based components, which recently deployed a 
system that uses solar cells with a conversion efficiency of sunlight 
to electricity of 39 percent, a remarkable feat; Sapphire Energy in 
Columbus, NM, which is producing drop-in crude oil from algae, 
sunlight, and CO2; and, energy storage projects in Los 
Alamos and Albuquerque that are demonstrating smart-grid technology 
with solar PV storage fully integrated into a utility power grid. These 
are just a few examples. It is clear New Mexico is already capitalizing 
on a diversified but rapidly innovative energy sector.
  To help the Nation transition to cleaner sources of energy, I am 
supporting efforts to streamline permitting for renewable energy 
projects while still protecting access to our public lands for families 
and sportsmen to enjoy.
  Another key to further development of clean energy is to alleviate 
the bottlenecks in the electric power grid. New Mexico is an energy 
exporter, and I am working to spur substantial renewable energy 
development by adding the transmission capacity that will allow us to 
export clean energy to markets in Arizona and California. Through 
American ingenuity, we can unleash the full potential of cleaner 
homegrown energy and put Americans to work while we are at it.
  At the same time, we can, and we must, lead the world in addressing 
our climate crisis. Climate change is no longer theoretical. It is one 
of those stubborn facts that doesn't go away simply because we choose 
to ignore it. In New Mexico we are seeing bigger fires, drier summers, 
and less snowpack

[[Page S4440]]

in the winter. And as I speak these words, too many of our high 
elevation forests are burning. With humidity levels lower and 
temperatures higher, we are dealing with fire behavior that is markedly 
more intense than we have seen in the past. Over the last 3 years 
alone, we have seen two of the largest fires in New Mexico's history. 
With elevated temperatures, studies at Los Alamos National Labs predict 
that three-quarters of our evergreen forests in New Mexico might be 
gone as early as 2050.
  At the same time we are experiencing our driest 2-year drought since 
recordkeeping started in the mid-19th century. Flows in the Rio Grande 
are less than 20 percent of normal. Since the first of the year, 
central New Mexico, where I live, has seen less than 1 inch of rain. 
This is a tragedy, and we must start taking active steps to reverse it. 
We owe that to our children. We owe that to the next generation.
  In 1961 President John F. Kennedy made a bold claim that an American 
would walk on the Moon by the end of the decade. Eight years later, 
Neil Armstrong did just that.
  Today we face a similarly audacious challenge when it comes to 
addressing climate change. We need to think big and we need to execute. 
We did that when President Kennedy said we would go to the Moon--and we 
made it happen as Americans. Climate change is our greatest future 
challenge, and we must commit to solving it within the decade.
  I am by nature an optimist. I have seen this great Nation defy the 
odds again and again. And, yes, I believe compromise and even 
bipartisanship are still possible. Our country is strong because of 
rigorous debate, but debate doesn't mean endless gridlock. Despite our 
differences, there are issues where both parties can come together and 
find common ground. Using science to rise to our Nation's challenges, 
whatever those may be, should be one of those areas. It is one I am 
committed to, and I look forward to working with my colleagues so our 
Nation and my home State of New Mexico can achieve the greatness and 
future all of our children deserve.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative 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 am going to ask consent that we have a 
vote on some judges in an hour. But prior to saying that, I want to say 
this. This is a very important bill. People want to offer amendments on 
this bill. We have five amendments that are now pending. There are ways 
we could move forward expeditiously, but sometimes that is not the 
right thing to do.
  We have a number of issues I want to focus on for just a minute. No. 
1, we have a storm coming--we all know about that--in a couple of 
different waves. We have meetings going on today in the Capitol with 
different groups of people trying to figure out a way to go forward on 
this important legislation. I think what we should do is have these 
judges votes, have people go ahead and do their meetings--for example, 
there is one at the White House late this afternoon with some Senators.
  But I do say this: We are going to finish the work on the floor soon 
on this bill, but we are going to come back Monday and we are going to 
be on this bill. I want to alert everybody that next weekend we will be 
working on this bill. We are going to finish this bill before the July 
4 recess. Everyone should understand that. Everyone has had adequate 
warning, notice, that we are going to work next weekend. That means 
Friday, Monday, and that includes Saturday and Sunday to get this 
legislation done. If something comes up and we do not have to do that, 
good, but as things now stand, I see that is something we have to do. I 
want to make sure people know. They know because we have to move 
forward on this legislation.
  We have a lot we have to finish during the July time period. We will 
be on this legislation. I have had a couple of Senators say: Can we be 
next? Mr. President, everyone is alerted. We are working. Both sides 
are working in good faith to get this bill done, and we are going to 
continue to do that. Hopefully we will not have to terminate all these 
amendments with procedural votes. If we have to do that, we will, but I 
would rather not do that.
  I hope everyone will continue working to come to an agreement on how 
we can improve this bill. I kind of like it the way it is, but I am not 
the one who is going to make this determination. The ranking member is 
here, and he will have plenty of time for speeches this afternoon on 
this legislation. I also appreciate everyone being reasonable. My 
friend the Senator from South Dakota is always very easy and pleasant 
to work with. I talked to him about how we should move forward on his 
amendment, and we had a good conversation. Hopefully what I have said 
will pacify everyone for the time being and hopefully for a long period 
of time so we can get this done.

           Unanimous Consent Agreement--Executive Nominations

  I ask unanimous consent that at 11:30 today the Senate proceed to 
executive session to consider Calendar Nos. 47 and 49 under the 
previous order. Therefore, under the order, the Senate would have one 
or two votes beginning at noon, beginning on the confirmation of Nitza 
Alejandro and Jeffrey L. Schmehl to be U.S. district judges for the 
Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both of these judges are from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. So people can plan, we hope the first one will be by voice. 
This one vote after noon will be the last vote of the week.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.

                           Amendment No. 1197

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I thank the majority leader for trying to 
work with us in a fashion that will allow us to get to some votes on 
amendments. We have several amendments pending, one of which is the 
amendment I have offered, amendment No. 1197. I spoke to this subject a 
little bit the other evening as we commenced debate on the immigration 
bill. I would like to, if I might, elaborate a little bit further on 
why I believe this amendment is important and why I think it 
strengthens and improves the underlying bill.
  I said the other evening that I am very convinced--I think we all 
are--that we need an immigration system that works. The immigration 
system we have today is broken, and it must be fixed. Unfortunately, 
each time Congress has tried to fix our immigration system, promises of 
a more secure border have never held. The bill in front of us is well-
intended, but it is following the same path as past immigration bills.
  Under this bill, it is certain that 12 million undocumented workers 
will receive legal status soon after the bill is enacted. However, the 
border security provisions of this bill are nothing more than promises 
which, again, may never be upheld. I have said this before. When I talk 
to constituents back in my State of South Dakota, there are couple of 
questions they ask. The first question is, When will our Federal 
Government keep its promises on border security? They also ask a second 
question; that is, Why do we need more laws when we are not enforcing 
the laws that are currently on the books?
  It is time that we follow through on promises of a more secure 
border. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act 
of 1996 required 700 miles of reinforced, double-layered fencing along 
the southern border. That goal was reaffirmed when Congress passed the 
Secure Fence Act back in 2006. To date, less than 40 miles--36, to be 
exact--out of the 700 miles of fencing required by law has been 
  My amendment No. 1197 simply requires that when we implement current 
law prior to legalization--that is an indication that we are serious 
about border security--as specified by this amendment, 350 miles of the 
fencing would be required prior to RPI status being granted. The 
completion of this section of the fence would be a tangible 
demonstration that we are serious about border security. After RPI 

[[Page S4441]]

is granted, the remaining 350 miles required by current law would have 
to be constructed during the 10-year period before registered 
provisional immigrants can apply for green cards.
  There are still many problems with this bill that need to be 
addressed. I think that is what the amendment process is all about. But 
I say to my colleagues here in the Senate that if we want to show we 
are serious about border security and not just talking about it but 
actually making real changes to make our border more secure, then this 
amendment is one way to show we are serious.
  There has been a lot of discussion about the various costs associated 
with building a fence. If we look at the different estimates about 
border fence costs, there are quotes from private contractors 
suggesting that the cost of constructing a double-layered fence is 
about $3.2 million per mile. Putting that in terms of a 700-mile fence, 
we are looking at about $2.2 billion. Remember, it would cost a lot 
less than that if we reach the 350-mile mark, which is what my 
amendment calls for, prior to RPI status. But it is a reasonable cost.
  There are dollars allocated in the legislation that are designed to 
strengthen border security. I suggest to my colleagues that one of the 
best, simplest, plainest, most straightforward ways of doing that is to 
build the fence--the fence that is required by law, that was required 
in the 1996 act and in the 2006 act and to date only 40 miles of which 
has been built.
  This makes a lot of sense. I suggest that as we talk about the 
various other elements of the immigration debate and the legislation in 
front of us, we start with this. If we start with this, I think we can 
convince the American people we are serious.
  I think it is difficult for Americans to trust Congress, trust the 
government to do the right thing on the border when past promises have 
not been fulfilled. If we go back to the 1986 immigration reform 
legislation, there were promises made about border security that were 
never kept, and we allowed people to come in at that time. Since that 
time, here we are many years later with the same set of circumstances 
in front of us today, trying to figure out how to deal with the 
undocumented workers who are currently here but absent anything having 
happened that would ensure to the American people that the border 
security requirements are being met.
  I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to express our commitment to 
the American people that before RPI status is granted, we are serious 
about securing our border, ensuring that the commitments made about 
building a fence there are fulfilled--again, 350 miles of which would 
be constructed prior to RPI status, and the other 350 miles of that 
700-mile fence would happen subsequent to a green card being issued and 
moving into that next status that is allowed for in this legislation.
  This is not something that is complicated. I think if you are an 
American citizen in this country, you ask a couple of very 
straightforward questions. One is, why do we have to pass new laws if 
we are not going to enforce the laws already on the books? The 700 
miles of border fence is on the books--in 1986, when it was first 
called for, and then in 2006, subsequent to that, it was again 
stipulated that a fencing requirement be completed on the southern 
  Interestingly enough, I would add that at the time when that vote was 
held in 2006, then-Senators Obama, Biden, and Clinton supported that 
bill, along with a lot of the current Members, authors of the 
legislation that is before us today.
  It makes perfect sense to the American people. I think it is a 
necessary and essential, actually, requirement to be met not only for 
us to move on to the other elements of the immigration debate but, more 
important, to secure the American border.
  I ask that amendment No. 1197 be made pending.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from South Dakota [Mr. Thune] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 1197.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To require the completion of the 350 miles of reinforced, 
double-layered fencing described in section 102(b)(1)(A) of the Illegal 
  Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before 
 registered provisional immigrant status may be granted and to require 
   the completion of 700 miles of such fencing before the status of 
registered provisional immigrants may be adjusted to permanent resident 

       Beginning on page 855, strike line 23 and all that follows 
     through page 858, line 10, and insert the following:
       (c) Triggers.--
       (1) Processing applications for registered provisional 
     immigrant status.--The Secretary may not commence processing 
     applications for registered provisional immigrant status 
     pursuant to section 245B of the Immigration and Nationality 
     Act, as added by section 2101 of this Act, until after the 
     date on which--
       (A) the Secretary has submitted to Congress the notice of 
     commencement of the implementation of the Comprehensive 
     Southern Border Security Strategy pursuant to section 
     5(a)(4)(B); and
       (B) 350 miles of Southern border fencing has been completed 
     in accordance with section 102(b)(1)(A) of the Illegal 
     Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 
     (8 U.S.C. 1103 note), as amended by section 1122 of this Act.
       (2) Adjustment of status of registered provisional 
     immigrants.--The Secretary may not adjust the status of 
     aliens who have been granted registered provisional status, 
     except for aliens granted blue card status under section 2201 
     of this Act or described in section 245D(b) of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act, until the Secretary, after 
     consultation with the Comptroller General of the United 
     States, submits to the President and Congress a written 
     certification that--
       (A) the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, 
     which was submitted to Congress, has been substantially 
     deployed and is substantially operational;
       (B) the Southern Border Fencing Strategy has been submitted 
     to Congress, implemented, and is substantially completed;
       (C) 700 miles of Southern border fencing has been completed 
     in accordance with section 102(b)(1)(A) of the Illegal 
     Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 
     (8 U.S.C. 1103 note), as amended by section 1122 of this Act;
       (D) the Secretary has implemented the mandatory employment 
     verification system required under section 274A of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 3101 
     of this Act, for use by all employers to prevent unauthorized 
     workers from obtaining employment in the United States; and
       (E) the Secretary is using an electronic exit system at air 
     and sea ports of entry that operates by collecting machine-
     readable visa or passport information from air and vessel 
       On page 942, between lines 17 and 18, insert the following:

                   SOUTHWEST BORDER.

       Section 102(b)(1)(A) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and 
     Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is 
     amended by adding at the end the following: ``Only fencing 
     that is double-layered and constructed in a way to 
     effectively restrain pedestrian traffic may be used to 
     satisfy the 700-mile requirement under this subparagraph. 
     Fencing that does not effectively restrain pedestrian traffic 
     (such as vehicle barriers and virtual fencing) does not 
     satisfy the requirement under this subparagraph.''.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.

                           Amendment No. 1222

  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to call up 
amendment No. 1222, the Child Citizenship Act, for lawful adoptees.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Louisiana [Ms. Landrieu], for herself, Mr. 
     Coats, and Ms. Klobuchar, proposes an amendment numbered 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To apply the amendments made by the Child Citizenship Act of 
   2000 retroactively to all individuals adopted by a citizen of the 
   United States in an international adoption and to repeal the pre-
adoption parental visitation requirement for automatic citizenship and 
to amend section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act relating to 
 automatic citizenship for children born outside of the United States 
                who have a United States citizen parent)

       On page 1300, between lines 11 and 12, insert the 

                   ADOPTED INDIVIDUALS.

       (a) Automatic Citizenship.--Section 104 of the Child 
     Citizenship Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-395; 8 U.S.C. 1431 
     note) is amended to read as follows:


       ``The amendments made by this title shall apply to any 
     individual who satisfies the requirements under section 320 
     or 322 of the

[[Page S4442]]

     Immigration and Nationality Act, regardless of the date on 
     which such requirements were satisfied.''.
       (b) Modification of Preadoption Visitation Requirement.--
     Section 101(b)(1)(F)(i) (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)(F)(i)), as 
     amended by section 2312, is further amended by striking ``at 
     least twenty-five years of age, who personally saw and 
     observed the child prior to or during the adoption 
     proceedings;'' and inserting ``who is at least 25 years of 
     age, at least 1 of whom personally saw and observed the child 
     before or during the adoption proceedings;''.
       (c) Automatic Citizenship for Children of United States 
     Citizens Who Are Physically Present in the United States.--
       (1) In general.--Section 320(a)(3) (8 U.S.C. 1431(a)(3)) is 
     amended to read as follows:
       ``(3) The child is physically present in the United States 
     in the legal custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a 
     lawful admission.''.
       (2) Applicability to individual's who no longer have legal 
     status.--Notwithstanding the lack of legal status or physical 
     presence in the United States, a person shall be deemed to 
     meet the requirements under section 320 of the Immigration 
     and Nationality Act, as amended by paragraph (1), if the 
       (A) was born outside of the United States;
       (B) was adopted by a United States citizen before the 
     person reached 18 years of age;
       (C) was legally admitted to the United States; and
       (D) would have qualified for automatic United States 
     citizenship if the amendments made by paragraph (1) had been 
     in effect at the time of such admission.
       (d) Retroactive Application.--Section 320(b) (8 U.S.C. 
     1431(b)) is amended by inserting ``, regardless of the date 
     on which the adoption was finalized'' before the period at 
     the end.
       (e) Applicability.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to any individual adopted by a citizen of the 
     United States regardless of whether the adoption occurred 
     prior to, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Child 
     Citizenship Act of 2000.

  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I am going to speak about this amendment 
in just a minute, but first I want to respond to Senator Thune. I wish 
we could get a vote on my amendment as well as this one because I would 
like to vote and strongly express my objection to his amendment. I will 
comment for just a minute.
  I chair the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that is 
actually building the fence. The money that builds it comes through my 
committee. I have looked at the fence they are trying to build. It is 
shocking to me, and would be shocking to everyone in America if they 
could see it. No matter if we build a single fence or double fence with 
spacing in between, it will be easy for people to get over it or under 
  I will vote against Senator Thune's amendment because I am not going 
to waste taxpayer money on a dumb fence, and that is what his fence 
would be. We need to build a smart fence. A fence is not just a 
physical structure which can be built out of a variety of different 
materials with or without barbed wire on the top.
  A smart fence is what Senator McCain and I want to build. Since he is 
from Arizona, I think he knows a little bit more about this than the 
Senator from South Dakota who doesn't have a border with Mexico but 
only with Canada, and that is quite different. If Senator McCain were 
on the Senate floor, I think he would say we absolutely want to build a 
barrier of security, and this would be a combination of a physical 
structure that is built to the great standards we can with the 
technology that will actually shut down illegal immigration.
  It is not correct for anybody listening to this debate to think that 
people on the Democratic side of this aisle or people supporting this 
bill do not want to secure the border. Nothing could be further from 
the truth. I may be overridden, and people may vote against it, but I 
am going to hold the position that we cannot waste billions and 
billions of dollars building a fence that doesn't hold anybody on one 
side or the other. We have wasted enough taxpayer money.
  While I didn't come here to talk about this at this moment, I am 
going to talk about it for just a few minutes.
  This immigration bill is about fixing a broken system, not dumping 
taxpayer money down a rat hole. And some people want to talk about 
building a fence. I went to look at the fence. I have been in tunnels 
that go under the fence. I watched people climb over the fence, and so 
has anybody who actually lives along the border, which is why Senator 
McCain's voice is so important in this debate.
  No one should think that Senator McCain, who has been the leader on 
border security in this Senate for 20 years, is not interested in 
building a strong fence. His State gets affected--just like California 
and Texas--more directly than any of us.
  The Presiding Officer knows geography well. So for my colleagues to 
come to the floor and suggest that the eight people who put this bill 
together are not interested in border security is just truly false, 
misleading, and unfortunate. That is what this debate is going to be 
  I have respect for my colleague. I absolutely oppose his amendment, 
but I am going to come back and give some more facts about how we are 
building a smart fence, how we are going to keep using new technologies 
to keep people out that we don't want and keep people in we want to 
keep in.
  I want to say one thing about this immigration bill as well. We are 
the most open society in the world. It is a great source of pride to 
our country. We are an open, transparent democracy that is trying to 
create a broad middle class not only here in America but around the 
world, and trade and commerce are essential. We need secure borders 
that open for trade and create jobs. As chairman of this committee, I 
am not going to waste more money building something that doesn't work 
just so some people can get a headline in their local press. It is just 
not going to happen.
  So we are going to put money in this bill to build a smart barrier 
that is going to have all the new technology we need to track down 
illegal immigrants and close that off. Then we are also--which is in 
this bill--going to use new technology, such as what we have seen on 
television and these fancy shows, to find the 40 percent of immigrants 
who came here under visas and overstayed, for the queue so they can pay 
their taxes, learn English, and become citizens.
  I will come back and speak more on the record about this issue, and I 
am sure the Senator from South Dakota will have a response.
  Happily, I don't think there is an objection to my amendment, the 
citizenship for lawful adoptees. I am very happy I have the 
cosponsorship of Senator Coats, Senator Blunt, and Senator Klobuchar. 
This amendment does not go to the heart of the immigration bill, but it 
does touch the hearts of many parents and children who have been caught 
up in a very unfortunate situation.
  A couple of years ago Senator Nickles from Oklahoma, whom I had the 
great pleasure of working with across the aisle on many important 
adoption bills, and I passed a bill that is very important to the 
adoption community. The bill basically says when a child is adopted 
overseas--we mostly do adoptions in America, but we have anywhere from 
10,000 to 20,000 adoptions internationally.
  When somebody adopts a child overseas, it is very expensive, time 
consuming, and more bureaucratic than it needs to be. Several years ago 
our bill said once that process is over and the adoption is finalized, 
those children will automatically become citizens. It was a great step 
forward because now we have at least 10,000 to 20,000 kids who are all 
various ages--infants, teenagers, all the way up to 18--who, once they 
come to the United States, don't have to go through another process to 
get their citizenship; otherwise, we would obviously have a backlog of 
  This is sort of giving the adopted kids a little express lane, which 
is what we wanted to do, and we did. Unfortunately, when we pass bills, 
many times the bureaucracy gets ahold of the law and starts to 
interpret it in a different way than we wanted and starts throwing 
barriers in the way.
  Simply put, my amendment, which is supported by the Members I said, 
is going to fix three important provisions in that law. First, it says 
if a child is adopted into this country and later commits a misdemeanor 
or felony--just as if it was a biological child who committed 
a misdemeanor or felony--that person would not be deported. Deportation 
is not an option for adoptees. It may be an option for illegal 
immigrants but not children who have been adopted by American citizens. 
So we are going to correct that. They are going to have the full 
penalties against them. They can go to jail for a long time. They can 
do whatever the law

[[Page S4443]]

says, but deportation is not one of the options.

  There have been very sad circumstances where adults were brought here 
as children, but the parents failed to get their certification. Many of 
them have been deported back to a country they never lived in a day, 
and they don't speak the language. As far as they know, in their mind 
they are completely American, even if they did know their country of 
origin. It is very unfortunate, and it has happened. This is going to 
bring help to maybe dozens and hundreds--it is not going to be more 
than that--of families to prevent any deportation of adoptees in the 
  Secondly, it will clarify the residency requirement. Over time the 
Child Citizenship Act has been misinterpreted so that the adopted 
children of Americans living abroad--particularly for military, 
diplomatic, and other reasons--do not receive automatic citizenship 
upon entering the United States. We intended, when we passed our bill, 
for this to apply to our military families and diplomats. As a result 
of serving in a foreign country, they have the opportunity to take in a 
child who is completely homeless and has no parents. They are doing 
God's work, and many times they end up in some bureaucratic haggling. 
So we are going to try to correct that.
  Finally, it clarifies that when parents are required to travel 
overseas to adopt a child--some countries require two parents, some 
countries require one. Whether the country requires one or two parents, 
one will be sufficient to meet our standard. If two are required, then 
two have to go; but if only one is required, one is enough to meet our 
  There have been months and months and years and years where parents 
who go through all of this trouble to do something they really believe 
God has called them to do--to adopt a homeless or unparented child or a 
sibling group--have come home to find that their own government, which 
would be our government, is nitpicking this law to prevent them from 
getting an easy path forward.
  I hope there will be no opposition to this amendment. I am happy if 
we are required to have 51 votes or 60 votes. I will take any vote of 
any number for this bill. I hope the Members will support it.
  I am sorry I have to oppose Senator Thune's amendment, but I will be 
opposing all amendments that I don't think support the underlying 
nature of a smart barrier, which is a fence that is both physical and 
virtual and has new technologies that will actually do the job.
  I could not even express how shocking it was to go down to the border 
and see the number of tunnels that were built under the fence. If we 
build three fences, they will still build tunnels under those fences. 
They could build four fences. I am very sorry, but I am not going to 
waste people's money on that.
  We are going to figure out a way to use technology to find these 
improper entrances to our country and close them down. It may be an 
actual fence in some places. It is going to be a virtual fence in other 
places. It is going to be special technology, lasers, helicopters, 
infrared, et cetera, et cetera.
  Senator McCain actually had a list of the equipment that we intend to 
buy with taxpayer money, and I am going to come to the floor and maybe 
spend some hours reading off the list so people know about this. We 
most certainly are not saying no to a fence because we don't want to 
secure the border. We are saying no to the fence because it is a waste 
of money, and we don't have any money to be wasted around here. We need 
smart technologies.
  Now, I am going to read Senator Thune's entire amendment because I 
have not read the details of it. I do believe I will be opposing it. It 
may be that his words did not appropriately say what his amendment 
does, but if it is an amendment that requires a complete fence and not 
a virtual fence, I will oppose it. If his amendment says I want a smart 
fence and we need to build more of a smart fence, then I will support 
  I want everyone to know there are going to be amendments about the 
fence, and this is the position I will take. I will try to encourage as 
many people as I can to assume the position I have because I think it 
is the right position, and I think the taxpayers will support this.
  We want a secure border that is smart with the smartest technology 
possible, not one that just spends untold amounts of money decade after 
decade and fail and fail again.
  I yield the floor, and I see the Senator is still on the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, if I might, I will make a response to the 
Senator from Louisiana. I understand that there is not going to be a 
barrier that will be 100 percent effective, but the type of double-
layered fencing mandated by the law would be a significant physical 
deterrent, demonstrating that we are serious. It would prevent some of 
the pedestrian traffic but not all of it.
  In the legislation of the fence that was required, we really don't 
know all that much about how effective it has been. I think it has been 
somewhat effective in States such as Arizona, but we have only built 36 
miles of it.
  In response to my colleague from Louisiana, we all voted for this. 
She described it as a dumb fence. She voted for the dumb fence. I guess 
I voted for the dumb fence. I didn't realize it was a dumb fence. I 
thought it was a commitment we made to the American people to secure 
the border.
  I will certainly concede that there are other ways in which we can 
combine manpower, technology, and infrastructure along the border to 
make it more secure. However, a border fence is a cost-effective 

  I would say to my colleague from Louisiana, there are dollars in this 
bill, $6.5 billion for border security, some of which is dedicated--
$1.5 billion is dedicated to fencing infrastructure and those sorts of 
  The cost I mentioned in my earlier remarks, if we look at it on a 
per-mile basis to build the fence--$3.2 million per mile--we would be 
looking at somewhere around $1 billion less than the amount allowed for 
and allocated in the bill for fencing and infrastructure and those 
sorts of things.
  But this is not a new issue. The Senator from Louisiana voted for the 
dumb fence. I think many of us in the Senate at the time--and I 
mentioned earlier many of the Senators here, including Obama, Clinton, 
and Biden, all voted for that fence.
  We made a commitment to the American people we would get serious 
about doing this. We need to do it in the most cost-effective way, and 
there are many components of that. I fully understand that. But I also 
think a fence is a very serious and important deterrent and a 
commitment we made to the American people.
  So the amendment, again, is very straightforward. It simply asks 
Congress to follow through on the commitment we made in 1996 and in 
2006 and do more than 36 miles, which is what has been built so far out 
of the 700-mile commitment made to the American people.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I would just simply respond by saying I 
know the Senator is quite sincere, and he is correct. I voted for the 
dumb fence once. I am not going to do it again because I learned from 
my mistake. I went down there to look at it and realized we could build 
two dumb fences or three dumb fences and it would not work.
  I am simply not going to waste the money to do something I know will 
not work. So if somebody else wants to vote for the dumb fence for the 
second or third time, go right ahead. But I was raised such that when 
you make a mistake, admit it and then fix it. I intend to fix it.
  The fence we are going to build--Senator Carper, Senator Coburn, 
Senator McCain, and I--is a real and virtual fence that is actually 
going to work. We will have further debate on this issue.
  I yield the floor.

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