Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) discussed immigration reform being voted down this morning in the Senate. Graham said the agreement fell apart because Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) placed unprecedented conditions on Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
“Today, we missed a golden opportunity to get a handle on the real and serious immigration problems facing our nation by failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“Our borders are clearly broken. The Senate’s inaction means we’re going to be delayed in our effort to build more fences at the border, hire additional Border Patrol agents, and hire more Customs officials to ensure those working in the United States are here legally. We’ll also be delayed in our efforts to get a handle on the eleven million illegal immigrants already in the United States.
“The blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid. We had a compromise that would have secured an overwhelming vote in the Senate. But Reid decided he would procedurally kill the bill.
“The Minority Leader demanded only three amendments be offered on the Senate floor. That’s against the precedent of the Senate and simply not fair to our colleagues. The American people deserve to have their voices heard, through a reasonable number of amendments, on one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before the body.
“Reid’s further insistence that Senators outside the Judiciary Committee not be allowed to offer amendments and the naming of conferees before we passed a bill was unfair and does great damage to the customs of the Senate. I’m extremely disappointed with Democrat Minority Leader Reid for destroying the ability to get bipartisan compromise. The blame lies at his feet.
“The demands made on the Republican Leader by Minority Leader Reid were ridiculous. Like President Bush and a majority of Senators, I am for a comprehensive solution to immigration reform.
“I hope President Bush will continue to push the Senate to pass comprehensive reform and I hope the Senate will soon return to this issue. Senator Specter, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee has said he intends to take it up in committee when we return from break.
“Immigration is a very real problem and the sooner we address it, the better. The longer we delay the worse the problem becomes.”