Senate Democrats

REID: AMERICA NEEDS COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

Washington, DCSenate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement on President Bush’s speech tonight on comprehensive immigration reform. A fact check on the President’s record on immigration is attached below.

“We need a long-term strategy to fix our broken immigration system. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and bring 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. The president got off to a good start tonight, but now he must stand up to right-wing members of his own party who are working to block Senate action. He should denounce the misguided approach of House Republicans, and exercise his leadership to get the job done.”

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FACT CHECK: President Bush

Bush Called on Congress to Fund Manpower Improvements. “Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.” [5/15/06]

- FACT: It Was Bush’s Budget That Prevented Border Patrol Agents from Being Deployed. “The law signed by President Bush less than two months ago to add thousands of border patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border has crashed into the reality of Bush’s austere federal budget proposal, officials said Tuesday. Officially approved by Bush on Dec. 17 after extensive bickering in Congress, the National Intelligence Reform Act included the requirement to add 10,000 border patrol agents in the five years beginning with 2006. Roughly 80 percent of the agents were to patrol the southern U.S. border from Texas to California, along which thousands of people cross into the United States illegally every year. But Bush’s proposed 2006 budget, revealed Monday, funds only 210 new border agents.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9/05]

Bush Said Comprehensive Reform is Needed, But Gave Credit to the House for Passing a Republican Bill that Does Not Include Comprehensive Reform. “Tonight, I want to speak directly to Members of the House and the Senate: An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved at all. The House has passed an immigration bill.” [5/15/06]

- FACT: Comprehensive Reform is Being Stalled by Republicans:

- Majority Whip Blunt Opposes a Path to Citizenship for Immigrants Who Don’t First Return Home. “As the Senate returns to the immigration issue this week, House majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) said House Republicans will not agree to any plan granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship that does not require them first to return to their home countries.” [Washington Post, 5/15/06]

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]

- 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,’ Republican Rep. Peter King, whose New York office will be a stop during tomorrow’s protest, said on “Fox News Sunday.” ‘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]

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