[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 48 (Thursday, April 11, 2013)]
[Senate]
[Pages S2585-S2586]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           IMMIGRATION REFORM

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, for months, Members on both sides of the 
aisle have been working to find common ground on ways to fix our broken 
immigration system. This group has been meeting behind closed doors to 
forge a consensus on a very difficult topic. The group released a 
framework, or a document of principles, that would guide their 
negotiations. I cannot stress the importance of the first sentence in 
their preamble that states: ``We will ensure that this is a successful 
permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be 
revisited.'' In other words, the group claimed to understand that we 
need a long-term solution to our immigration problems. That sentence is 
the most important part of their document, and as we work together on 
this issue, we must not lose sight of that goal.
  In order to achieve that goal, we need to learn from our previous 
mistakes so that we truly don't have to revisit the problem. There is 
clear evidence that the 1986 amnesty program didn't solve our 
immigration problem, despite the intent of the law. Even though, for 
the first time ever, we made it illegal to knowingly hire or employ 
someone here illegally, illegal immigration soared because we rewarded 
the undocumented population. We set penalties to deter the hiring of 
people here illegally. Yet, an industry of counterfeiting and identity 
theft flourished and made a mockery of the law.
  Unfortunately, the 1986 law didn't adequately provide for securing 
our borders or provide the tools to enforce the laws, nor did it 
properly address the need to create or enhance the legal avenues for 
people to enter the country. The bill focused on legalizing millions of 
people here rather than creating a system that would work for 
generations to come.
  So, I have made a point of trying to remind my colleagues that we 
must learn from the mistakes we made. As a member of the Judiciary 
Committee, I have been adamant about making sure all members have an 
opportunity to review, analyze, and debate the bill. Along with other 
members, we have asked for hearings. We have pressed the bipartisan 
group to work with us and ensure that we have a deliberative and 
healthy debate.
  Unfortunately, this bipartisan group has failed to consult with many 
members of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over 
immigration matters. They are working with the Chamber of Commerce and 
the AFL-CIO. They are sharing language with K Street and interest 
groups. They are leaking details of their plans to certain media 
outlets. Yet, Members of the Senate are forced to learn through these 
avenues about their negotiations. And, all along, the American people 
have been in the dark.
  When the bill is unveiled, possibly next week, every Member of the 
Senate will have questions. We will comb through the details and 
determine if the proposal will truly fix the problems once and for all. 
So allow me to share some of the questions I have. In an effort to 
ensure that the bill does what their framework insisted that the 
problem be fixed once and for all I will ask these questions when the 
bill is finally revealed to the public.
  Is this bill enforcement first or legalization first?
  What is the expected cost? How will it be paid for?

[[Page S2586]]

  Will the bill ensure that undocumented immigrants don't get public 
benefits?
  Will the bill move us closer to a merit-based system?
  Will the bill be an avenue for labor unions to push Davis Bacon?
  What are the concrete metrics used to measure border security?
  Who will determine that these metrics are met? Will it be Congress, a 
commission or a Secretary who doesn't think that the border matters?
  Will the entry/exit system Congress mandated in 1996 finally be 
implemented? Will it be a part of the trigger?
  Will the language be tight enough to prevent criminals--those with 
DUIs and other aggravated felonies from being eligible for 
legalization?
  Will individuals already apprehended, or people in removal 
proceedings be eligible or even allowed to apply for the legalization 
program?
  Will the bill ensure that the legalization program is covered by 
beneficiaries, and not taxpayers?
  What will happen to individuals who do not come forward and register 
or get provisional status?
  What will happen if the border is never secured? What will be the 
consequences, including for those who have already received registered 
provisional status?
  Will the agency in charge of immigration benefits be able to handle 
the additional workload while also preventing fraud and abuse?
  Will the bill encourage cooperation between the Federal Government 
and State and locals to enforce the laws?
  How will the bill ensure that ICE agents are allowed to do their job?
  Will E-Verify be mandatory for all businesses? Will there be 
exceptions to the rule?
  Will the bill require all businesses to use E-Verify now or will it 
drag out the requirement even though it is ready to go nationwide?
  Will the bill exempt or preserve State laws that require E-Verify?
  What are the concessions to the unions and to the business community?
  Will the new temporary worker program, which is a new model 
encompassing instant portability, truly work? How will employers be 
held responsible for the visa holders, if at all?
  Is the new temporary worker program truly temporary? Will they get a 
special green card process?
  Will the bill exempt certain industries, such as construction, from 
this new visa program?
  Will the 11 million people here illegally get priority in this new 
temporary worker program? Will they be able to use it?
  Will the bill require employers to first recruit and hire Americans?
  We have a long road ahead of us to pass legislation to reform our 
immigration system. We will have many more questions and, hopefully, a 
transparent and deliberative process to improve the bill. I look 
forward to working with my colleagues on this issue and solving the 
problem once and for all.

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