Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said a comprehensive immigration reform bill puts legalization ahead of border security, a major complaint among Republicans critical of the bill that was taken up Thursday by a Senate committee, the beginning of what will probably be a lengthy debate.

Backers of the bill, including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., one of its authors, countered that major strides have been taken to secure the border over the past decade, and delaying legalization would keep millions in the shadows and endanger national security.

Border security was a key dividing line between Republican opponents of the bill and its supporters. Grassley sought to make a major change by proposing that the bill require the legalization process wait until the entire border had been secured for six months.

"No one can dispute that this bill is legalization first, enforcement later," he said.

The proposal was defeated, 12-6, with two Republican members of the "Gang of Eight" that drafted the compromise bill voting along with Democrats to oppose the change.

Sen Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said the change would delay legalization, exacerbating problems in border areas.

"Is America safer with 11 million people in the shadows?" added Durbin. "Of course, we're safer if they come forward."

Grassley is the top Republican on the committee, and he was quite critical of the legislation. He likened it to the health care overhaul because of the number of times it delegates action to the executive branch.

The nearly 900-page proposal would be the most far-reaching piece of immigration legislation in years.

Four Republicans and Four Democrats came up with the plan, but even some of the authors say it will probably have to be changed if it is to pass the Senate.

The proposal is of major importance to border states, but it also is being watched in places such as Iowa.

Pro-immigrant groups have noted this weekend is the fifth anniversary of the federal raid on Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa, where more than 300 people were arrested.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement have held community meetings about the issue the past two months and lobbied lawmakers.

The group was critical Thursday of Grassley for the number of amendments, 77, that he filed on the bill.

In a statement, Nataly Espinoza, an Iowa CCI member from Des Moines, said the group wants legislation "that ends deportations and harsh enforcement, protects workers' rights, and puts a clear and realistic path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people ahead of border control.”

There were major differences over how secure the border is now.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, suggested that only a quarter of attempted illegal crossings were being stopped, a claim for which Durbin said there was no evidence.

Democrats said significant increases in spending on border security in the last decade had made it tighter than it has been in years. Grassley responded if that was the case, his amendment requiring security before the legalization process could begin should be an easy one to accept.

The committee did approve an amendment he offered that would apply border security strategies to not just high-risk areas but to the whole border.

It was one of more than 30 amendments the committee dealt with. More than 300 proposed revisions were filed, though not all of those will likely be taken up.

The overall package not only proposes a pathway to legalization for people in the country illegally — after they meet certain conditions — but it also makes changes to the country's visa system and creates requirements on businesses that are aimed at trying to prevent the hiring of undocumented workers.




(9) comments


"No one can dispute that this bill is legalization first, enforcement later,"

I do dispute that. The bill is legalization now, enforcement never.



In other words, you could not find a single case of a nonpartisan observer who has challenged the validity of the Rector study.

Grover Norquist has been known for a decades as a fanatical supporter of the open-borders agenda.

If that's all you've got, then you are doing a very good job of proving that your side is wrong.


Actually, I can't find a single case of ANYBODY supporting Rector's study, right or left! He has single-handedly united everybody. This is a very bad study. Economic studies that go 10 years out are suspect. Rector's 'study' goes 50 years out. Any economist will tell you the numbers are completely meaningless.

"Conservatives Are Slamming The New Immigration Study From A Conservative Think Tank"

"Rubio says the Heritage report is ‘flawed’"

It's a very bad report. It's bad science. Seriously. You may be anti-immigrant; but supported Rector's hatchet job isn't the way to go. The numbers don't add up and you'll just look stupid.

Denard Fullerton

Zetar, you're full of it. The SSA is planning a SEVENTY FIVE year mark up of the amnesty bill. Please go to the doctor and get a rectal craniectomy.



During the immigration committee on amendment readings, that turned out to be nothing but a sad travesty and a showplace performance. Senior Republican Jeff Sessions, and the arrogant, Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., argued over the impact of projected reforms that did little to enforce immigration laws, but more to pass a path to citizenship in rewarding criminals. Sessions cautioned that the bill “is weaker than current law" for Americans seeking employment and no real safeguards. All I saw and heard from the Democrats was pandering to the illegal aliens already here, and those waiting in other countries to break into America. The 2006 Secure Fence was voted down by the majority Democrats and the tough triggers at the border and on U.S. soil were additionally voted down. It goes to show very few elected politicians care about the protection of American jobs, and security from criminal aliens. They should be thrown out of office, except those who stand for American workers and the “Rule of Law”. All American citizens/legal residents see is genuflecting to pregnant women who arrive here in the last trimester, so they can collect free benefits for all their progeny that they eventually conceive? I saw little to convince me, that American borders will be sealed against illegal aliens, drugs, murdering terrorists or unwelcome people with foreign criminal records. All I see as does millions of Americans is catering to corporate and business welfare. They even refused to take away funds from “Sanctuary Cities” that ignore federal law and just offering refuge?

To sum it all up the business and corporate welfare is so widespread, and because for decades taxpayers have been the payee for the business world. Any business owner that incorrigibly uses cheap labor for gain and massive profit, whether it’s the entertainment industry, services, health care, farms and agriculture, meat and poultry packing, sweat house for the garment industry and a whole wide spectrum are guilty for stealing jobs from poor Americans, less educated citizens and even legal immigrants. The business world send out their lobbying predators to add amendments to decent laws, and all this happens behind closed doors “buying and selling” auctions to circumvent policies, such as travesty of a 2013 immigration Reform bill S.477) Until money and favors is removed from campaigns, the taxpayer will never be free from corruption and abuse in Washington? At a time when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, out of the labor force, and 47 million Americans are on food stamps because of the disastrous economic policies pursued by the current administration, should we continue to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on illegal aliens who are the responsibility of their own countries?

There are approximately 400 waivers, exemptions and hidden advantages for illegal immigrants, but a financial death knell for taxpayers. The Heritage Foundation has just released its latest report of the amnesty provisions of the Gang of Eight's immigration bill. Top analyst Robert Rector has determined that if the 11 million illegal migrants/ immigrants living in the United States receive amnesty, it will have a net cost to taxpayers of $6.3 Trillion! Call your Members of Congress toll-free -- 1-888-978-3065 -- and tell them about the massive outlay and urge them to oppose amnesty. Now, right now each Senator needs to hear from millions of taxpayers who say NO to promote that "cheap" labor with $6.3 trillion price tag. We hope citizens are making sure that their Senators' phones are ringing off the hook, or free faxes at numbersusacom jamming the core switchboard in Washington, with messages of pressure from THE PEOPLE and not the corporate welfare special favors division of this administration.


I'm sure you are aware that Robert Rector's 'research' is being widely denounced by even such conservatives as Grover Norquist because it is truly 'junk'.

" Leber on May 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Robert Rector at Heritage
Robert Rector, the lead author of the Heritage Foundation’s widely panned immigration study, stood by his claim Tuesday that immigration reform would cost taxpayers a “minimum” $6.3 trillion, even as he admitted, “I have not examined the whole bill yet.”

In the meantime, Rector has fielded criticism from every conservative corner. Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, and Republicans Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, and Haley Barbour have all had sharp critiques of the report.

These critics charge that he ignores the upward mobility of legalized immigrants, as well as the contributions of highly educated, skilled immigrants. That did not stop him from speculating that the parts of the bill he missed would still mean a “tidal wave” of low-skilled workers:

I have not examined the whole bill yet. I will and if the bill looks like any other comprehensive bill that we’ve ever had, what this bill will have is a massive influx of even more unskilled immigrants. That will replicate this problem all over again.

Watch it:

When asked on CNBC if his study includes “an economic growth component, because part of this bill will be braniacs, entrepreneurs, engineers, and other innovators,” Rector replied, “No. We’ve only looked in the study at the cost of amnesty.”

The amount of pushback appears to have unnerved Rector. In the 24 hours since the study was published, Rector now claims his critics are not conservatives at all and do not understand his work. “Anyone who engages in that kind of sham is not a conservative and not a fiscal conservative,” he said. And he singled out Norquist’s criticism in particular, saying, “you tell me what’s wrong with those numbers, Grover.” In fact, Norquist explained exactly why he thinks the numbers are wrong earlier today."

Denard Fullerton

According to census data, the average educational achievement of an illegal alien in America is the 10th grade. I'm sorry, but HS dropouts cost WAY more in welfare and other govt stuff than they pay in taxes.



Grassley is de-evolving by the day.



Our country is de-evolving by the day. Grassley IMO is just trying to stop the downward spiral. When illegals have more rights than we do, something is wrong. If you would read the story it stats that he isn't against illegal immigration reform, he just things that border security should be addressed more (amongst other things).

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