Setting up a test vote on Monday evening, backers of a bipartisan border security amendment filed their plan in the Senate on Friday, paving the way for approval of a major immigration reform bill next week.
“This is about securing the border first,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), one of two principal co-sponsors, along with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
The text of the Hoeven-Corker plan runs 1190 pages; it is not in a sense an amendment, but in many places, a substitute for the original bill text.
You can see the border security plan at http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2013/06/21/immigration_amendment.pdf
Here are remarks from Hoeven on the Senate floor:
“We have now filed the Hoeven-Corker Border Security Amendment. I believe that the first order of business for immigration reform is to secure the border. Americans want immigration reform, of that, there is no doubt. But, they want us to get it right and that means first and foremost, securing the border.
“I want to thank the distinguished senator from the great state of Tennessee for his ceaseless efforts and untiring work to really craft an amendment that puts border security first. That’s exactly what we have worked to do, and I also want to thank the cosponsors that we have been able to bring on board for this effort. They include Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Dean Heller, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Senator Mark Kirk. On a bipartisan basis, we have Democrat senators as well: Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Mark Pryor, Senator Mark Begich, and Senator Joe Donnelly.
“We want to thank all of these cosponsors that show this is a bipartisan effort to secure the border as a first step in comprehensive immigration reform. That is what this is all about.
“We provide five significant criteria; some have called them triggers, requirements, or conditions that must be met to ensure the border is secure before there are any green cards, before illegal immigrants can get to a permanent legal status or a green card status.
“We have tough requirements that must be met to ensure the border is secure. First and foremost, it’s a comprehensive southern border security plan. It’s $3.2 billion worth of technology, planes, unmanned aircraft, sensors, all on the border, spelled out in this legislation that ensures that we have a secure border. That must be met before there are any green cards, and that’s where we start.
“In addition, it provides 20,000 more border patrol agents on the border to not only detect people trying to come across, but to turn them back. It includes 700 miles of fencing on the border. These are the things that Republicans have repeatedly asked as part of securing the border. We have put them right in the bill.
“In addition, we have to have a mandatory national e-Verify system in place and operating, so that we enforce workplace law. So, we not only have a secure border, but we take away the incentive to come here illegally, because you won’t be able to get a job. That combined with a guest worker program means that when people come, they come legally and they go back home.
“Finally, we have an electronic entry-exit system at all of the international airports and seaports. All of those things must be met before receiving legal permanent resident status, or before green card status.
“This is about securing the border first.
“Again, I want to particularly thank my distinguished colleague from Tennessee, Senator Corker, for all his hard efforts, as well as all of our cosponsors on this legislation. We are reaching out to everybody. We want to work together on a bipartisan basis. This is about securing the border first and doing comprehensive immigration reform and doing it right. With that, I would like to yield the floor and again note the tremendous efforts of my distinguished colleague the Senator from Tennessee.”