February 15, 2018

Grassley on Rounds-Schumer Amendment: Why Would My Colleagues Want to Encourage Illegal Immigration?

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On the Introduction of the Rounds-Schumer Amendment
February 15, 2018
 
I rise today to offer brief remarks on the introduction of the latest so-called bipartisan proposal. There's simply no other way to say it: this proposal fails to meet the mark, will result in a massive amnesty and surge of illegal immigration, and has absolutely zero chance of becoming law.
 
In my mind, the Department of Homeland Security has this one right. This bill will absolutely destroy our ability to enforce our laws, secure the border, and protect the American people.
 
It's hard to decide where to start dissecting this ill-conceived proposal. But to quote J.R. Tolkien, I guess the best place to begin is at the beginning.
 
This proposal claims to have border security measures, but the simple fact is that it doesn't. This proposal does something that Democrats and Republicans agreed last year isn't sufficient border security: it simply throws money at the border.
 
Everyone in this chamber knows how hard Senators Cornyn and Johnson have worked on border security. Their hard work has shown all of us that border security, real border security, isn't just about infrastructure and money. It's about legal authority changes too.
 
Like it or not, the simple fact is that our current laws contain numerous loopholes that prevent our law enforcement officers from apprehending, detaining, and speedily deporting dangerous criminal aliens.
 
Professional staffers at DHS, not political appointees, all agree that we need these authority changes.
 
I have to ask my colleagues, what's the point of throwing money at the border if sex offenders, terrorists, gang members, child molesters, and war criminals can continue getting in our country?
 
What's the point if we can't actually remove people who are entering illegally?
 
What's the point if innocent Americans continue to be victimized by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants?
This bi-partisan plan falls miserably short of providing real border security, and does nothing to make Americans safer.
 
Worse than the border security provisions, this bi-partisan plan massively expands the number of individuals who are eligible for citizenship. The way this plan is written, more than 3 million individuals could become eligible for citizenship.
 
And many of these people wouldn't actually be young adults or kids. The way this bill is written, people as old as 43 could benefit. I thought this debate was about protecting young people. Young people, not middle-aged adults.
 
This is clearly beyond the pale, and is just another example of moving the amnesty yardstick.
 
But the worst thing in this plan, the most egregious thing, is that it effectively suspends immigration enforcement until June 2018. Now think about that. Why would you suspend immigration enforcement at any time?
 
If my colleagues look on the last page of this amendment, it clearly says that any person who illegally enters our country before the end of June 2018 will never be a priority
For deportation.
 
Let that sink in. The authors of this plan are telling everyone in the world, no matter who they are or what they've done, that if they get here before June they'll never be an enforcement priority.
 
Isn’t that madness?
 
I can't, for the life of me, understand why my colleagues would want to end immigration enforcement. What justification do they have?
 
I urge them, please come to the floor and explain to the American people why you want people who aren't already here to come illegally. What reason could you have?
 
I urge all my colleagues to oppose this amendment. It just isn't serious, and it will totally undermine our nation's border security and immigration laws.
 
This should not pass, and it won’t.
 
I hope we are serious about passing something that can actually become law. And we can do it in a way that is sound policy and doesn’t encourage more illegal immigration.
 
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