Immigration Policyby Senator David Vitter
Posted on 2013-02-13
VITTER. Madam President, Senator Sessions and I take to the floor
to talk about immigration, which is obviously a very important and very
hot topic. The first point I would like to make is just a simple
statement and suggestion. There has been a lot of activity and a lot of
discussion about immigration in the Senate and in the Congress and
Washington, DC. If we merely listen to a lot of beltway, so-called
mainstream reporting about this, they would give the impression that
there is near universal consensus around a model we have tried before,
which is a so-called comprehensive approach.
First, I don't think there is anything near universal agreement. I don't think there is consensus. I think there are real questions and concerns among many of us in the Senate and in Congress but, much more importantly, in America and the real world.
I think those fundamental concerns come down to one thing; that is, we have tried this so-called comprehensive approach before. We have tried proposals that marry an immediate amnesty with promises of enforcement. That model has not worked before. In fact, it has failed miserably.
The most notable example was major immigration legislation in 1986. It was the same model. It had comprehensive and immediate amnesty with promises of enforcement. There were promises that we will have to do this just once, never have to look back, and the problem will be solved. Of course, the problem was not solved. It didn't even just continue. The problem has quadrupled.
The amnesty did happen immediately. As soon as the bill passed, that virtually and immediately kicked in. The promises of enforcement were just that, promises. Those promises were not kept, and as a result what happened with that model? The problem of 3 million illegal aliens didn't go away and was not solved once and for all. It quadrupled and became the present problem of 11 or 12 million--or more--illegal aliens. That is the fundamental concern I have with most of the so- called comprehensive proposals being put forward. That is the fundamental concern of Louisianans I talk to every day.
We want to solve the problem. We don't want to perpetuate it, much less quadruple it. I think it is important to discuss alternative, more effective, more workable approaches. I have several ideas about what those approaches might look like, and, in fact, I am introducing a package of immigration bills today. I will talk about that further, but I certainly want to recognize and thank my good friend and colleague, Senator Sessions from Alabama, for joining me on the Senate floor today.