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Senate Reaches Border Security Compromise at a High Cost
Tough bipartisan agreement will test opponents' readiness to pass immigration reform
WASHINGTON - June 21 - After much late night deliberation, Senate Democrats and Republicans announced today their compromise over an amendment that would heighten border security measures in the immigration bill at a high cost to taxpayers and border residents.
Talks led by the eight original drafters of the bill and Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) culminated in an agreement that would serve as an alternative to Senator John Cornyn's (R-TX) proposal that was merely a gimmick to deny immigrants access to citizenship through unreasonable measures. The Corker-Hoeven amendment, if passed, would overwhelmingly increase border security funding, personnel and fencing while still allowing aspiring Americans currently in the country to adjust status without extensive barriers towards citizenship.
Eliseo Medina, Secretary Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following response:
"In any compromise, there will always be gains and losses. This agreement is no exception. Although we commend the Senators' commitment to immigration reform and engaging in bipartisanship--a rarity in Congress--we seem to have gained more border armory and fortification than reason.
"The exchange to guarantee more Republican support comes at a high cost with millions of dollars more in investment to border security, as if it didn't already get enough funding. Combined with the benchmarks already in place in the bill, the excessive border provisions make a mark in our history and our pockets. This is disappointing and we will undoubtedly work to ensure that the overall legislation respects the rights of border communities and migrants.
"That said, the centerpiece of the bill, the roadmap to citizenship, is priceless and an absolute necessity to a smart and sensible immigration bill. The Corker-Hoeven amendment doesn't undo it, nor should any other amendment.
"Now, members of Congress who were demanding tougher border security measures in the bill can prove that their concerns over the issue aren't a ruse meant to delay the path to citizenship or create a second-class status by demonstrating support for the amendment and moving forward with the legislation. Mr. Cornyn and others can't complain - they've gained more border resources than necessary.
"Americans understand that the single best way to make our immigration system more secure is to create an earned path out of the shadows for 11 million people. It's time to join the majority of Americans, championing commonsense immigration reform. When poll after poll, including a recent Fox News survey, finds that voters on both sides of the aisle want Congress to find a way for the millions of hardworking immigrants to remain in the country and earn citizenship, it's time to deliver."