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Grassley on Immigration/Border Security: Time for Political Posturing is Over

Prepared Floor Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On the Senate Immigration Debate
February 14, 2018
I rise today to express my frustration with the current status of the immigration debate in the United States Senate.
It amazes me that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle simply aren’t ready to have a serious immigration debate. They’ve been demanding to have this debate for months. They even shut the government down to get this debate. And now that we’re actually on it, when it’s time to put up or shut up, they’ve come up empty handed.
Despite having weeks to prepare, Senate Democrats are still rushing to put together plans. Let that sink in. Think about this for just a moment. The Senate Democrats recklessly shut down the federal government over immigration, and they did it over plans they still largely haven’t drafted.
That’s very frustrating, and it’s exactly why the American people no longer have faith in Washington. But even more frustrating is that for two valuable days they refused to allow the Senate to debate immigration measures.
Now I understand why the Democrats are afraid to vote on ending sanctuary cities—those policies are massively unpopular with the American people. Yet I can’t understand why Democrats refused for two days to allow us to debate those issues. That amendment would help us keep our communities safe from dangerous criminals. Who could be against that? Apparently the Democrats are, and they don’t want to help us protect hardworking Americans.
Aren’t enforcement issues part of an immigration debate? Isn’t border security more than just throwing money at infrastructure? Shouldn’t we be discussing how to reform our nation’s laws so that dangerous criminal aliens can’t inflict harm on innocent Americans?
I’m pretty sure, I’m actually 100% confident, the answer to those questions are yes. Those issues deserve to be discussed too. Americans like Kate Steinle, Sarah Root, and Jamel Shaw had dreams too.
If my colleagues were actually serious about debating this issue we’d be discussing border enforcement measures. Sadly, my colleagues’ plans that I’ve seen so far fall short of that goal. They’re all happy to throw money at the border, yet they refuse to actually give our law enforcement the legal tools they need to protect Americans. That’s a tragedy.
Worse still, none of my colleagues’ proposals are being developed in a way that can actually become law. Maybe for them, simply passing a partisan bill is enough. Leader Schumer said as much this morning. But that’s not enough for this Senator. This Senator actually wants to see something passed into law that will provide real protection to these DACA kids. That’s why I’ve introduced an amendment that could actually pass the House of Representatives and become law.
Polls show that the framework a number of us developed alongside the President is overwhelmingly popular. A Harvard Harris poll found that 65% of voters agreed with our plan, including 64% of Democratic voters. So despite the hyperbole you’ll hear form my colleagues, the President’s plan is not only popular, but again is the only plan that has any chance of becoming law.
It’s time for all my colleagues to get serious about fixing DACA. Stop posturing, stop showboating, and stop simply trying to pass a bill out of the Senate. Focus on making an actual law. If they focus on those things, then the choice for them will be clear. They’ll vote for the Grassley Amendment. They’ll back the President. And they’ll provide real security to DACA recipients and the American people.