May 24, 2007

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Under Fierce Attack

Washington, DC- The comprehensive immigration reform initiative S-1348 (Kennedy/Kyl) continues to be under fierce attack by unions, including the AFL-CIO and other special interest groups and partisan groups as the strong anti-immigrant sentiment continues. Senate leaders are reporting more than 300 phone calls an hour to their offices calling them to abandon this legislation despite its moral and just cause.

Several amendments have been introduced in the Senate, many created with the intention of derailing the process of achieving a workable and comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis.

The first of these amendments, which was not approved, was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer of California who was determined to eliminate the second component of the comprehensive bill S-1348 - the guest worker program. If this amendment had been approved,Senators Dorgan and Boxer may have succeeded in ending all possibility of achieving a much needed comprehensive immigration reform during this legislative session. Boxer and Dorgan have both given into the workers unions, which have taken the position not support the fundamental element that will legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented people residing in the United States.

Senator Lindsey Graham, bill sponsor and a great friend to comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), presented a much more practical amendment that penalizes those who cross the border illegally with jail time after the comprehensive immigration reform law is in place. Senator Graham has taken tremendous heat for his firm position in support of CIR. He and his colleagues who have spearheaded this consensus are proof that true leadership still exists in the Senate.

Indeed, this effort has removed the haze in the Senate and clearly separates the leaders who have the courage to do what is right for America and those who have who have shown less than leadership and integrity by making it a priority to appease the special interests over over that of saving human lives.

Senator Bingaman from New Mexico succeeded in obtaining 74 votes in favor of his amendment. This version was certainly a victory for the workers unions, including the AFL-CIO which contributes millions to the political activities of Senators such as Bingaman.

This afternoon, Senator Hillary Clinton presented another amendment that contains an ingredient (guest worker family reunification) that can serve as another political game piece that can provoke the derailment of these critical Senate negotiations.

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