Floor Updates

Hoeven, Corker, McCain, Cornyn, Graham, Ayotte, Rubio, Schumer

Immigration bill (S. 744)

Jun 20 2013

03:05 PM

Senator Hoeven: (2:07 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "Our legislation will provide significantly more resources to secure the border. More manpower, more fencing, more technology. And those resources must be fully deployed and operational before green card status is allowed. The legislation provides five specific conditions which must be met before anyone in RPI status - registered provisional immigrant status - can be adjusted or transitioned to LPR - lawful permanent resident status. These conditions are, first, we are including a comprehensive southern border security plan right in the legislation. This is a $3.2 billion high-tech plan. The plan is detailed. Border sector by border sector. And it includes combinations of conventional security infrastructure, like observation towers, fixed and mobile camera systems, helicopters, planes, and other physical surveillance equipment to secure the border. The plan also includes high-tech tools like mobile surveillance systems, seismic imaging, infrared ground censors and unmanned aerial systems equipped with infrared radar cameras, VADER radar and long-range thermal imaging cameras. The secretary of homeland security, together with the secretary of defense and the comptroller general of the U.S., the GAO, must certify to the Congress that this comprehensive southern border security strategy is deployed and operational. That means in place and operating other than routine maintenance. That's the first requirement before the adjustment to LPR. status. Second, DHS must deploy and maintain 20,000 additional border patrol agents on the southern border. That's in addition to the number of border patrol agents on the border now, which is right about 20,000 now. So we'll double the number of armed border patrol agents to detect and turn back those individuals who would try to cross our border illegally. Third, DHS must build 700 miles of fencing. That's double the amount required in the underlying bill ... Calls for 350 miles of fencing. 700 miles of fencing. That compares to about 42 miles of fencing we have in place right now. Fourth, the secretary of homeland security must verify that the mandatory e-verify system has been implemented to enforce workplace laws so that illegal immigrants are not employed. And fifth, the electronic entry-exit identification system must be in place at all international airports and seaports in the United States where U.S. customs and border protections officers are currently deployed. So these are the requirements. These are the requirements, and they must be met before lawful permanent residency is allowed. No green cards other than for dreamers and blue card Ag workers until these requirements are met."

Senator Corker: (2:17 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "I think this amendment has the ability, if passed, to bring a bipartisan effort behind information reform that would then send the bill to the House. Look, I do wish that this amendment had some other measures relative to interior security. And I think that the House can improve this, I think a conference can improve this, and I hope that we have the opportunity down the road to see that occur. But I want to thank all involved in crafting an amendment that I think tries to deal with the sensibilities on both sides and at the same time secure our border in such a way that we can put this issue mostly behind us and we can have an immigration system in our country that meets the needs of a growing economy, the biggest economy in the world, that focuses on making our country stronger, not weaker, and hopefully will put this debate behind us."

Senator McCain: (2:26 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "With all due respect to every member of this body, when you look at this legislation and you look at these triggers and you look at the technology that's going to be required, which if operational the head of the border patrol has said we'll give 100% awareness and 90% effective control plus fencing plus border patrol agents and the already existing in legislation e-verify You remove the incentive for people, if they know that they can't get a job in this country unless they have the proper documents, then people will stop coming illegally. And it also addresses the issue of the 40% who are here who never crossed our border illegally but came on a visa and overstayed it."

Senator Cornyn: (2:29 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "My amendment that was tabled earlier, which makes the progress from probationary status to green card contingent upon 100% situational awareness of the border and a 90% apprehension rate, which is defined as operational control. How does your amendment differ from that? My understanding just from - and I know it hasn't been written yet or hasn't been completed yet. But my understanding is that Senator Schumer and the Democrats would not agree to that. I know they object to it. Senator Schumer has been quite clear in his telling me that. But my impression is this is a promise of future performance and there is no contingency in the same sense there was a trigger that prohibited the transition from probationary status to legal permanent residency."

Senator Hoeven: (2:31 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "It's not the same but we tried to build on those concepts. In terms of the actual border security plan, the comprehensive border security strategy, the $3.2 billion plan that includes technology, helicopters, planes, all these different things that I detailed, that is exactly what you were talking about in your legislation. So physically we do deploy all the things that you laid out in your legislation, and then we add to it 20,000 agents and - an additional 350 miles of fence on top of the 350 miles of fence called for in the underlying bill. So we put all of the physical resources out there and then we add all the fencing and all the manpower to make sure we accomplish exactly what you were laying out. And in terms of the trigger, all those things are triggers before going to a green card. So it's different in that the discussion was how do we is I want verifiable metrics, and that's what we're doing by clearly delineating all these things we're putting in; okay? And then we actually add to what you had in the legislation."

Senator Cornyn: (2:32 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "The 20,000 border patrol, the movement has been pretty dramatic. We started with zero additional border patrol. My amendment was disparaged by the distinguished senior senator from Arizona and the distinguished senior senator from New York as being a budget buster, 5,000 border patrol. I was told we don't need more boots. We need technology. Now I find to my shock and amazement the distinguished senior senator from Arizona saying we need 20,000 more border patrol. How much is it going to cost? That's the question."

Senator Hoeven: (2:34 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "You asked for 5,000 border patrol agents, and we got 20,000. This is a great example, and it is all paid for because remember - now this is important - ... the CBO score in the first ten years $197 billion. We use about $30 billion to darned sure make that border is secure. But overall, this bill, with this amendment, creates border security and more than pays for itself. And here's the other point. Remember in that CBO score it showed $197 billion in terms of revenue creation. We use $30 billion of that to add the border agents and secure the border. Here's the other thing we've got to look at in that CBO score. It said with the underlying bill, without our amendment, with the underlying bill we would have seven million more illegal immigrants in this country in ten years. Without the bill we'd have ten million more. So what does that say? It didn't get the job done on border security and that's exactly why we're adding that amendment."

Senator Graham: (2:35 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "Why 20,000 border patrol agents? That's three brigades of troops. That's taking three brigades equivalent of army troops to supplement the 20,000 we've got. You'll have a border patrol agent every 1,000 feet on the border 24 hours a day seven days a week. It costs over $20 billion, but I can tell you this. It's money well spent, because it makes the border more secure, which helps us with our sovereignty. Why are we hiring 20,000 agents on top of the 20,000 we got? Because our country can't control who comes in. We cannot maintain our sovereignty if every 10 and 20 years 3 million to 11 million illegal immigrants come into our country. And if you want the border secured like I do, your ship has come in. The 20,000 border patrol agents are now affordable and they're needed. The 700 mile of fence will be built because it's needed. The $3.2 billion of technology that has been proven to work in Iraq and Afghanistan will go to the border because it will help back up the border patrol agents. As to my good friend from Texas, how do we know all this works? The bill requires us to hire the agents and put them on the border before you can transition to green card. It is not talking about hiring the agents. You've got to hire and deploy. The bill also says the fence has to be built. The bill says the $3.2 billion of new technology that worked in Iraq and Afghanistan has to be bought, purchased, deployed and operational This is a border surge. We have militarized our border almost. Why? Because we've lost our sovereignty. We've lost the ability to control who comes into America. My belief is that if you can't get a green card until all this is bought, purchased, deployed, that's enough. There will come a point where it's enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I've been working on this for almost a decade with Senator McCain. I can look anybody in the eye and tell them that if you put 20,000 border patrol agents on the border in addition to 20,000 we've got, that's one every 1,000 feet. That will work. And if you buy technology that helped us fight and create success in Iraq when we did the surge, that will help the border patrol agents. And if you build a fence, that all helps."

Senator Ayotte: (2:45 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "What they have done is incredibly important, it's very, very strong, the strongest measures that I think this body has considered. 20,000 border patrol agents, essentially doubling those agents that will be along the southern border. In addition to that, really significantly increasing the fencing, in fact, at least 700 miles of fencing will have to be completed along the southern border, almost doubling what was already in the bill for fencing. Specifying what types of technology that the Department of Homeland Security will have to deploy, including the best technology, using censors and drones to make sure we can apprehend those trying to illegally cross our border and very much making sure we prevent a further wave of illegal immigration along with the strong reforms in this bill to our legal immigration system of making sure that we can keep the best and the brightest here, to help us grow our economy, to make sure that we have the work force we need to ensure that we will create jobs here."

Senator Rubio: (2:51 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "When we introduced our bill, the bill said that basically the Department of Homeland Security would not given some money and that they would get to decide what the border security plan looked like. Many people in the public and many of our colleagues were unhappy with that proposal. They raised valid concerns that we were turning over border security and deciding what the plan would be to people that claim it's already secure. And so what this amendment does, it takes that back, and it says that we instead, we here in the Senate will decide what that plan is after we get input from border agents and others about what will work and what this amendment reflects is what we know will work. We know that adding border patrol agents, doubling the side of the border patrol, will work. We know that completing the fence will work. We know that an entry-exit tracking system since 40% of our illegal immigrants are those who overstay their visas, we know that will work. We know e-verify, will work because it takes away the magnet of employment. And we know that these new technologies that weren't available to us in 1986 or in 2006 or even five years ago, we know that will work and what this bill says you must do all of those things and it is linked to legal permanent residence. In essence someone who violated our immigration laws cannot become a legal permanent resident in the United States until all five things happen. That's the guarantee these will happen."

Senator Schumer: (2:56 PM)
  • Spoke on the Hoeven/Corker border security amendment.
    • SUMMARY "The border surge is breathtaking in its size and scope. It will freeway an unprecedented number of boots on the ground and drones in the air, double the size of the border patrol from its current level to over 40,000. It will finish the job of completing the fence along the entire 700-mile stretch of the southwest border. And it will enumerate on a sector-by-sector basis lists of cutting edge tools and equipment that will boost surveillance and apprehension, including surveillance and towers and drones. In other words, it calls for a breath taking show of force ... It not only calls for finishing a literal fence it will create a virtual human fence of border patrol agents. Under the border surge, the border patrol will have the capacity to deploy an armed agent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to stand guard every thousand feet all the way from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas. We came you were with this idea of the border surge Wednesday morning after the CBO report was released. My colleague from Texas asked why not a week ago? We didn't have the CBO report. We didn't know we had the dollars. We have them now. And we still keep to our goal of not costing the treasury a nickel. The CBO report was a true game changer. It gave us the budgetary flexibility to consider massive new investments in border security that we didn't think we could previously afford. The surge shows the commitment to border security that our colleagues have been asking for."