Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on President Bush’s continuing effort to hide his failure to convince Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform.
“President Bush has as much credibility on immigration as he does on Iraq and national security. If he were actually committed to comprehensive immigration reform he would have stopped his own party from filibustering it twice last week.
“If the president is serious about moving forward, then he should join me in calling on Senator Frist to bring immigration reform back to the Senate Floor when we return. Hopefully by then, President Bush and his Majority Leader will have found the backbone to stop the extreme elements of the Republican Party from blocking improvements to America’s security.”
The Facts on Immigration
FACT: Last week, Senate Democrats voted twice to move forward on the comprehensive immigration bill. Not a single Republican joined the Democratic effort. [RC 89, S. 2454, 4/7/06; RC 88, S. 2454, 4/6/06]
FACT: senate Republicans Worked to Undermine Comprehensive Reform.
– Amendments filed by Senate Republicans to undermine the bill included:
1. Senator Kyl: gut the portions of the bill authorizing temporary workers and providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million. [S.A. 3206]
2. Senator Isakson: block comprehensive reforms from becoming effective until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the border is secure. [S.A. 3196]
3. Senators Inhofe and Vitter: authorize the “Minutemen” vigilante program on the Mexican border. [S.A. 3464]
4. Senator Inhofe: make English the official language of the United States. [S.A. 3204]
– Frist Voted Against His Own Cloture Motion on the Hagel/Martinez Substitute Amendment. [RC 89, S. 2454, 4/7/06]
– Frist Told his Caucus to Oppose the Compromise. Frist encouraged his Republican colleagues to vote against the same compromise agreement he was touting the day before. [CQ Today, 4/7/06]
– Frist Won’t Commit to Bringing Immigrating Back to the Floor. After the immigration compromise fell through this morning, Frist “stopped short of a commitment to bring the issue back to the floor during the balance of the election-year session. ‘I intend to,’ he said, but added it would depend on the schedule of other bills.” [AP, 4/7/06]
FACT: Republicans in the House oppose comprehensive reform.
– Majority Leader Boehner Said He is Opposed to Comprehensive Reform. “‘You can’t begin to talk about a guest worker bill until you secure the borders,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos.’ Otherwise, he said, ‘We’re going to have an endless parade of illegal immigrants here in our country.’” [Reuters 4/9/06]
– Republican House Bill Sought to Turn Illegal Immigrants into Felons. “The provision making illegal immigration a felony was part of a bill pushed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican. It passed the House in December by a vote of 239-182, with only 36 Democrats supporting the final version of the measure.” [CNN, 4/12/06]
– Representative Peter King Says the Senate Legislation Was the Result of Intimidation by Protesters. “The guest-worker proposal would create ‘an incentive for more illegal immigrants to come into the country . . .The outcry in the country is about the large number of illegal immigrants, and what the Senate has done to get around that problem is to, in effect, make them legal.’ King said the Senate was ‘intimidated by having hundreds of thousands of people in the streets waving flags. But I don’t think we should pass legislation or devise legislation based on how many people you can get out into the street.’” [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 4/10/06]
– Rep. Tom Tancredo Says House Would Reject Senate Legislation for Comprehensive Reform. “The Senate compromise would ‘offer blanket amnesty to at least 10 million illegal aliens,’ charged Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., leader of the House hard-liners. ‘By surrendering to the amnesty demands of Democrats and squishy Republicans, Frist squandered a great opportunity to secure our borders,’ Tancredo said. ‘The Senate amnesty deal is miserable public policy that will be rejected by the House.’” [Denver Post, 4/7/06]
– Rep. Tancredo Says Others Are Trying to Out-Tancredo Tancredo. “Now, he says, other lawmakers are battling to take over his role – or, as he puts it, ‘out-Tancredo Tancredo.’” [Denver Post, 4/13/06]
– Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: “I say let the prisoners pick the fruits.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]
– Rep. Steve King: “Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be branded with a scarlet letter A.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]