Senator Kohl and Feingold's response
Dear Mrs. Prast:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I always
enjoy hearing from people back home in Wisconsin, and would
like to take this opportunity to address your concerns as they relate
to immigration reform.
I am deeply concerned about the current state of our
immigration system. As you know, Senate recently considered S.
1348, the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007," in
an effort to help repair our broken immigration system.
First and foremost, I believe that we need to control our
borders and vigorously enforce our laws. I will not vote for any
bill that does not accomplish this goal. To this end, S. 1348 would
add thousands of additional border patrol agents and authorize the
use of the National Guard to help secure our borders. It would
wisely increase the use of technology - including unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs), cameras, and motion sensors - so we can better
monitor who is trying to cross our borders. It also includes a
much-needed employment verification system, so that employers
can determine who in this country is eligible to work and punish
them when they employ those who are here illegally. These and
various other provisions in the bill would provide our immigration
officials with both the resources and the authority they need to get
control over our borders.
Border security alone, however, is not the entire solution.
We must also be practical about how to deal with the millions of
undocumented immigrants currently in this country. I do not
believe it is realistic to think we can deport them all. For those
hardworking, law-abiding people, who have been here for years
and set down roots in our communities, it is reasonable to allow
them to earn citizenship over a significant time period. This is
neither amnesty, nor automatic legalization. The Senate-passed
bill requires undocumented workers to pay significant fines for
violating our immigration laws, work for a number of years, learn
English, follow our laws, and pay their taxes. Only then would
they be eligible to go to the back of the citizenship line. In other words, the bill will have given them the opportunity, over the course of eleven or twelve years, to demonstrate that they deserve to be Americans.
On June 7, 2007, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on S.
1348 by a vote of 45 to 53. I supported cloture because, although
not perfect, the bipartisan compromise strengthens our borders,
establishes serious penalties for employers who hire illegal
workers, creates a guest worker program and addresses the
millions of people who are here illegally. I will continue to work
with my colleagues to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I
appreciate knowing your thoughts on this important issue.
June 13, 2007
Dear Mrs. Prast,
Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you.
I have consistently supported efforts to enact comprehensiveimmigration reform. We need a comprehensive, pragmaticapproach that secures our borders while also fixing our brokenimmigration system and addressing the estimated 11 million to 12million undocumented immigrants in this country.
As you know, on May 21, 2007, the Senate began consideration ofS. 1348, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. However, on June 7, a motion to end debate on the bill failed by avote of 45-50. I voted in favor of ending debate because, although I have very serious concerns about the bill, I wanted to move theprocess forward toward solving this difficult problem.
I supported efforts in the Senate to improve the bill, but a lot moreneeds to be done. I have doubts about whether the earnedlegalization program, as currently drafted, provides a workablesolution to the problem of undocumented immigrants. I am alsoconcerned that the temporary worker program does not do enoughto protect U.S. and foreign workers.
There are some positive aspects of S. 1348. For example, the billcontains critical provisions to increase or improve the personnel,equipment, infrastructure, and other resources our country needs toprotect the border. Border security is an essential element of anycomprehensive reform of our immigration system.
I hope that the Senate will still have the chance to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform. If the Senate resumesdebate on this legislation, I will work with my colleagues to fix thebill's flaws.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with me.I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator
If you wish to contact me again, please visithttp://feingold.senate.gov/contact.html.