On December 16, 2014 Senator Dick Durbin asked to speak to the US Senate regarding Republican opposition to immigration reform , border enforcement:
“We currently spend more on immigration enforcement than on all other Federal law enforcement efforts combined. We have made a huge commitment, and the Hoeven-Corker amendment increased it with 700 miles of fences, more personnel than ever, to the point where they could literally have an agent every 1,000 feet along the southern border.
Are we serious about border enforcement in our comprehensive bill? Yes, we are. We adopted the Hoeven-Corker amendment. Although some said we were overdoing it, we adopted it in the spirit of compromise and offered it on the floor for passage. On the final vote, we had 68 Senators who voted in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. There were 14 Republicans who voted for it, along with the Democrats, which made a majority of 68, and we passed the comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Sadly, the senior Senator from Texas voted no. He voted no on comprehensive immigration reform. We did our job. We had a bill endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. This bill was endorsed by faith leaders all across the United States and had the support of the civil rights community as well as conservatives such as Grover Norquist. We passed it. It is what the Constitution said we had to do.
We sent it through the Rotunda and across the Capitol to the House of Representatives, where it fell into this dark and gloomy pit never to be seen again. We have waited about 540 days now for the House of Representatives to at least acknowledge it, maybe even debate it, perhaps change it or even offer it on the floor of the House of Representatives, but no, they chose to do nothing. In the view of the House of Representatives, we have a broken immigration system. Yet they decided to leave it untouched.
So the President said time and again to Speaker Boehner: When are you going to accept your responsibility when it comes to fixing this broken immigration system?
The Speaker kept saying: Give me some time. Give me some time. Give me some time.
Eighteen months passed, and the President said: I am sorry. I have to do something. If you are going to do nothing in the House of Representatives when it comes to immigration, I must do something as President.
He went into an effort–I know because we spoke–of research to determine what previous Presidents had done when it came to immigration by Executive action. He started off somewhat skeptical, and he said as much publicly, as to the limits of what he could do.
He said: I need to carefully research this, and he did. He found that some 11 Presidents have engaged in Executive action on immigration, and so he set out to do the same, to carefully construct Executive action to deal with our broken immigration system, all the while knowing the Republicans in the House of Representatives, and many here in the Senate, were going to do nothing when it came to immigration.
He issued his Executive action a few weeks ago. What did it say? It said: If you have been in the United States at least 5 years and come forward and register with this government by giving us your name, your address, and vital information, we will then submit you to an extensive criminal background check to determine whether you have done anything while in the United States or before that makes you ineligible to stay. If you fail that initial criminal review, you are gone–no questions asked. But if you pass it and are prepared to register with this government and pay your fair share of taxes for working in the United States, you will be given a temporary work permit that must be renewed, as we review every several years whether you are still eligible to stay. That is the Executive action that has driven the Republicans to distraction.
The notion is that this President is going to try to fix a broken immigration system by at least guaranteeing that those who are here working legally have no criminal background problems and are paying their fair share of taxes. They are so distraught over this that they have come up with a strategy that is incredible.
The Republican Party, which has insisted time and time again that border enforcement is their highest priority, have–in protest to this Executive action by the President–decided to do two things. First, they passed a spending bill in the House of Representatives which funded all of the Federal Government with a budget for the next year except for one agency. Which agency would that have been? It turned out to be the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for border enforcement. The party that is dedicated to border enforcement as the starting point for an immigration discussion starts off by tying the hands of the agency responsible for border enforcement when it comes to their budget.
Why would you do that? If you truly want the border enforced and you want people there doing their job, why would you limit their resources? Why would you make it more difficult for them to operate? But the Republicans–in protest of the President’s decision–insisted on it. That was the first thing they did, and now we are seeing the second part of the Republican strategy, which is in protest to the President’s Executive action.”
Source: Congressional Record
See related video: President Obama on immigration reform – address to the nation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wejt939QXko
See video: The illegal invasion of America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B65pLsah3XE
See video: Illegal immigrant shocking interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ9_QvjLyVM
See video: Lou Dobbs debates illegal immigrant lawyer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGSZYxywZ6c