Help Ensure these Amendments Survive Conference!
Earlier today, the Senate adopted two critical immigration amendments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill for the coming fiscal year (FY 2010). These amendments were: (1) Senator Sessions’ Amendment (#1371) on E-Verify, and (2) Senator DeMint’s Amendment (#1399) on the border fence.
The Sessions Amendment. The first amendment the Senate adopted was Amendment No. 1371 offered by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) which permanently reauthorizes E-Verify and requires federal contractors to use the program. The Sessions Amendment ensures that good-faith employers will always have access to this successful, accurate tool – a tool that has been proven as an effective deterrent to illegal immigration. And, by making E-Verify permanent, the Sessions Amendment will prevent supporters of mass amnesty from using any further extension of E-Verify as leverage to try to pass an amnesty bill for at least 12 million illegal aliens.
The Sessions Amendment also contains common sense provisions to require federal contractors to use E-Verify to prevent taxpayer money from going to employers who hire illegal aliens. A similar federal regulation has been delayed four times, but the Sessions’ Amendment, represents a huge leap towards finally ensuring that the federal government only does business with contractors who hire a legal workforce!
The adoption of the Sessions Amendment didn’t come without a fight! Well-known amnesty advocate Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led the failed attempt to kill the Sessions Amendment with floor speeches yesterday and today. While he often claims that he is opposed to illegal immigration, Schumer argued that Senator Sessions’ amendment was “moot” because the Obama Administration had announced earlier in the day that DHS would be issuing a “new rule” requiring federal contractors to use E-Verify. (In truth, the Sessions Amendment is a better approach because the Administration’s “new rule” can be changed by DHS at any time in the future, whereas the Sessions Amendment would prevent DHS from watering down the rule in the future.)
Fortunately, Schumer’s efforts were thwarted on a 53-44 vote, and the amendment was ultimately adopted by a voice vote. (Please note, the 53-44 vote was a “motion to table,” which means a “yes” vote was a vote to kill the amendment and a “no” vote was a vote in support of the amendment.)
The DeMint Amendment. Next, the Senate approved Amendment No. 1399 sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). This amendment requires DHS to complete all 700 miles of the southwest border fence by 2010 so that the “fencing” can stop pedestrian traffic. Incredibly, in some places, the current “fence” is only designed to stop some vehicle traffic but does nothing to even slow down pedestrian traffic; illegal aliens are able to continue to enter the U.S. on foot.
Once again, the adoption of this common sense amendment didn’t come easily. Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) spoke in opposition to the DeMint Amendment. Fortunately, the Senate rejected Voinovich’s position and adopted the amendment by a 54-44 vote.
What’s Next. While the adoption of these amendments was a strong step towards real security and true immigration reform, the battle to ensure that these measures become law isn’t over yet. After the Senate passes the Homeland Security spending bill, the bill will go to a House-Senate conference to resolve any differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The House version does NOT contain either of these two amendments! This means that members of the House-Senate Conference Committee could strip the amendments from the bill and prevent them from being signed into law!
WE NEED YOUR HELP!! You can help FAIR ensure that the Sessions Amendment and the DeMint Amendment survive the conference process:
Call your home-state Senators today and urge them to tell Senate Leadership to:
Keep the Sessions E-Verify amendment in conference.
Keep the DeMint border fence amendment in conference.
If your Senator voted “yes” on the motion to table the Sessions Amendment, don’t let your Senator try to convince you that he or she supported E-Verify today! The votes don’t lie!
You can find your Senators’ phone numbers here.
Call Senator Schumer and Senator Voinovich and tell them to stop putting the interests of illegal aliens and special interest groups before the interests of American citizens and legal immigrants!
Senator Schumer: (202-224-6542)
Senator Voinovich: (202-224-3353)
Call Senator Sessions and Senator DeMint to thank them for standing up for the American Worker!
Senator Sessions: (202-224-4124)
Senator DeMint: (202-224-6121)