Sen. Chuck Grassley’s reaction to the proposed compromise on immigration reform announced today
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Reporters and EditorsFR: Jill Kozeny, 202/224-1308for U.S. Sen. Chuck GrassleyRE: Immigration ReformDA: May 17, 2007
Sen. Chuck Grassley issued the comment below regarding the proposed compromise onimmigration reform that was announced today. Sen. Grassley is Ranking Member of theCommittee on Finance and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee.Sen. Grassley’s Comment:
“I support legal immigration. I support reforms to our visa process to strengthen nationalsecurity. I support more legal channels for those wanting to work in the United States, and Irecognize that some regions and sectors of our economy need more workers. But, I do notbelieve amnesty or even indirect amnesty is the answer. I voted for amnesty in 1986, andlearned that rewarding illegality only promotes illegality. The legalization component of the1986 law was for the estimated 3 million illegal immigrants who were in the United States at thattime, and it was supposed to fix the problem once and for all. Instead, today we have anestimated 12 million people in the United States illegally. So I won’t repeat the mistake of 1986by voting for amnesty this year.
“It’s disappointing and even ironic how the deal announced today skirts the democraticprocesses of Congress. It was cut by a group of senators operating outside the committees ofjurisdiction and without public hearings on key components. No information is available aboutthe costs of various proposals. The proposal is said to be a thousand pages or more, but it won’tbe available to read until tomorrow at the earliest, and votes are to occur next week.“My concern about the details is exacerbated by one of the sections of the proposal that Ihave seen. It would give the Department on Homeland Security unlimited, open-ended access toall Social Security data including confidential tax return information. The protection of taxpayerinformation is a cornerstone of our voluntary tax system. These protections are found in section6103 of the tax code, and they’re designed to strike the balance between taxpayer privacy andlegitimate law enforcement. The authority in the proposed compromise sends a wrecking ball atthat balance and greatly exceeds any reasonable need for the information necessary to create aworkable employment verification system.”
Earlier this week, Sen. Grassley joined Sen. Richard Durbin in asking the top nineforeign-based companies in 2006 that used nearly 20,000 H-1B visas to disclose details abouttheir workforces and their use of the special visa program.
In March, Sen. Grassley won Senate approval for an amendment he offered to the 9-11homeland security bill to close a loophole that allows an alien to stay in the United States afterthe individual’s visa has been revoked on terrorism charges.
Last year, several Grassley-sponsored measures were included in the comprehensiveimmigration reform bill passed by the Senate. Sen. Grassley’s initiatives included a requirementthat illegal immigrants who qualified for amnesty through the provisions of the overall bill topay all outstanding tax liabilities; a requirement that offices within the Citizenship andImmigration Services offices to investigate internal corruption and benefits fraud be permanentlyestablished; a requirement that spouses and children of immigrants who would hold newlyestablished H2C visas to undergo medical exams and meet health standards; authorization for theState Department to award a grant to a land-grant university to establish a national program for abroad, university-based Mexican rural poverty mitigation program; and creation of a new workerverification system for employers to determine if their workers are eligible to work in the UnitedStates.
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