“For the first time in a generation, the United States Senate has passed a bill that brings us one crucial step closer to sensible immigration laws. This is an historic day for the Senate, for our economy, and for families across our country, but there’s more work to be done before this bill becomes law. The pressure is now on the House of Representatives to get moving so we can we send the President a strong, fair, comprehensive immigration reform bill for his signature.
“This bill isn’t perfect and it’s not the bill I’d write on my own, but it’s the result of a bipartisan compromise and I am proud to support it as a strong step in the right direction. Although I have concerns about some elements of the bill, it makes critical changes to our broken system that will strengthen our country, grow our economy, and finally allow millions of families to gain citizenship and chase their dreams without fear of deportation.
“From the beginning of this process, I’ve been very clear with my colleagues regarding my priorities for immigration reform, and this bill takes steps to achieve each of them. First, this legislation provides a real pathway to citizenship for the 230,000 undocumented people already living in Washington state. These families already work alongside us, attend our churches, and send their children to our schools – and they deserve the benefits and responsibilities of full American citizenship. This bill also makes important reforms to help our economy, from agricultural businesses in Central and Eastern Washington to our expanding high-tech corridor in the Puget Sound. It can and should do more, but this legislation includes provisions to treat immigrants with dignity and help reunite families separated by our outdated laws. Finally, it provides Washington state’s 35,000 DREAMers, children brought to this country at a very young age, with the chance they deserve to succeed in America.
“I am going to keep working to improve this bill as it continues in the legislative process, and when it becomes law, I am going to fight to make sure it is implemented in a way that works for families and communities. We must start by pairing unprecedented spending on new border security with responsible oversight, so I will be working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure our efforts to secure the border don’t violate the civil liberties of American families and communities. I’m proud my amendment to address warrantless stops and searches in broad border zones is included in this bill, but for immediate border communities, we can’t stop there. I’ve also introduced a number of other amendments over the past weeks, including a prohibition on restraining and shackling pregnant women in detention and an amendment to provide DREAMers access to affordable college education. I was disappointed these were not added to the bill, but I will continue to work with my colleagues to push for these common sense reforms.”
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 6/27/13. If you would like to respond to this story go to hometowndebate.com