Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats Discuss Their Commitment To Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Debate to Begin on Monday

Washington, DC–Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Edward Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Ken Salazar and Robert Menéndez today discussed the need for comprehensive immigration reform as debate on the issue is set to begin next Monday on the Senate floor.

Senate Democrats are committed to fixing America’s broken immigration system in a tough, fair and practical way, urging the President to work with them to reach a bipartisan solution.

“We need bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens border security, reunites families, creates tough and smart workplace enforcement, and brings 12 million people out of the shadows of our society,” Reid said. “We believe that our immigration laws should be realistic and reflect our nation’s values. Our immigration system should make us safer while recognizing the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our nation.”

Said Kennedy: “Democrats are committed to immigration laws that strike the right balance between protecting our security, strengthening our economy, and enacting laws that uphold the humanity and dignity of those who come here seeking a better life. I applaud Senator Reid for moving this debate forward and his commitment to a strong bill – the American people have waited long enough for our broken system to be fixed.”

“If we work together, we can make lasting and workable reforms to our immigration system without sacrificing our security or disadvantaging American workers. We can reform our laws while respecting the dignity of all people and our tradition as a nation of immigrants,” Leahy said. “The American people are waiting for Congress to fix our immigration system, and now is the time for the Senate to get to work on achieving that goal through tough but fair comprehensive immigration reform.”

Said Salazar: “Like President Bush, I believe we must reform our immigration laws in a manner that meets America’s needs for the 21st century, but also preserves our history as a nation of immigrants and laws. No matter what we do, comprehensive immigration reform must be tough at the border and on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, fair to those who agree to pay taxes and commit no crimes, and practical by providing solutions to today’s illegal immigration problems and addressing our future workforce needs. I remain hopeful that these talks will produce a sensible and strong comprehensive immigration reform bill.”

“My colleagues and I have been there together, in the negotiating room – day in and day out – for a number of weeks,” Menéndez said. “We’ve discussed, negotiated and traded ideas with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and with the White House. The road to an agreement has been long, there have been many turns and we still have some ways to go. One thing that has remained constant on our side is the commitment to our principles – namely that comprehensive immigration reform must be tough, fair and practical. Any agreement has to encompass those ideals.”