Volume 2, Issue 3
More than likely, this is a form letter sent out to everyone who sent a letter or email to my State Senator, but I'm glad to get the response. Included is information I didn't know because I just can't spend 29 hours a day keeping track of what's going on... nor would I want to.
eNews from Senator Larry Craig
My letter to the Senator
Letter from Larry Craig, U.S. Senator (it was addressed personally to me, but I have removed that information, if you don't mind).
July 5, 2007
Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. I appreciated hearing from you and apologize for the delay in my response.
On June 28, 2007, the Senate failed to obtain the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 1639. That halted any likely future progress on this legislation for the duration of the 110th Congress.
Although S. 1639 was by no means a perfect bill, it was a vast improvement over previous reform measures. The American people demanded that certain provisions be included, and they were. These demands included triggers requiring successful installation of border security measures before other programs come into effect, English language requirements, employee verification systems, and provisions that would force illegal immigrants to leave the country and submit an application before achieving permanent legal residency. In addition, the bill would have required that currently undocumented individuals seeking temporary legal status maintain employment, pass a background check, pay fines and their back taxes, and forego any Social Security benefits tied to payments they made into the system while working illegally. Americans were, and still are, adamantly in support of these policies, as am I.
Despite the inclusion of these popular provisions, the vote in the Senate demonstrated that many Americans do not trust the federal government to enforce these ambitious programs. In the end, that is probably what brought the bill down.
Unfortunately, because of this outcome, no problems have been solved, and the dysfunctional status quo remains. Communities in Idaho, and across the country, will still face the problem of undocumented workers who take advantage of our broken legal immigration system. Idahoans sent me to Congress to solve problems, which is why I voted to limit debate on the bill. Had sixty votes been cast for cloture, the Senate would have voted on several more amendments, including additional measures to strengthen border security, before a final up-or-down vote on passage of S. 1639.
Despite the outcome, I remain open to other proposals to solve the problems of illegal immigration and an outdated, flawed legal immigration system. In particular, I will use my position on the Appropriations Committee to fund strong border enforcement measures, as I have done in the past. I will also continue to search for a solution to the serious labor shortages plaguing the U.S. agricultural community.
My first priority is, and will always be, the hard-working men and women of Idaho and their families. Protecting our homeland security and the safety of our people is the fundamental responsibility of the government, and I will continue to support policies that protect and benefit American citizens, treat immigrants fairly, and preserve our economy, resources and national security.
I kept an online floor journal during the final debate on the bill to let folks know my reasoning behind each vote. You can view the journal at http://craig.senate.gov/journal_immigration.cfm. If you have specific questions about these or any of my other votes on the immigration proposal, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you again for contacting me.
LARRY E. CRAIG
United States Senator