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Robert M.
Democrat NJ

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  • Paycheck Fairness Act—Motion to Proceed

    by Senator Robert Menendez

    Posted on 2014-09-10

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    MENENDEZ. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I will first respond to the unanimous consent request made by the Senator from Texas, the son of immigrants himself, to prohibit certain actions with respect to [[Page S5491]] deferred action for students in the United States whom we call DREAMers. For these young people, as Senator Durbin said, the only flag they have ever pledged allegiance to is that of the United States. The only national anthem they have every sung is the ``Star-Spangled Banner.'' They came to this country not because they made a decision to do so but because their parents came here, just as Senator Cruz's parents came here. He now ultimately enjoys the benefit of being an American, even though it was a different time and under a different set of circumstances. Nonetheless, he didn't have a choice in that decision and neither did these children.

    We have learned and we have often heard in this Chamber that you never subscribe to the child whatever errors exist of the parent, but that is exactly what the Senator from Texas would do.

    My friend from Texas is entitled to his views and his opinions, but he is not entitled to his own set of facts. The reality is that he continuously refers to the deferred action on deportation for these young people as amnesty. Amnesty suggests that someone is forgiven for something they did wrong and they have a clear pathway to permanent residency and ultimately to U.S. citizenship. That is not what the President did for these young people who know no other country than the United States. Any action that would be taken on these young people will be deferred until after Congress has acted on the pressing question of immigration reform.

    The Senator from Texas suggested that the Senate has failed in leadership. I wish to say to the Senator from Texas that the Senate exerted leadership over 1 year ago, when in broad bipartisan votes-- notwithstanding the Senator from Texas--a group of eight Senators, four Republicans and four Democrats, joined together and got two-thirds of the Senate to send comprehensive immigration reform to the House of Representatives. We sent over commonsense immigration reform that was the toughest on border protection that has existed in the history of the country, that was in the national security interests of the United States, that provided for the economic imperative as described by the Congressional Budget Office of the opportunities that immigration reform would provide for the country by raising the gross domestic product of the United States, raising the wages of all Americans, and reducing the national debt, all by virtue of immigration reform.

    Two-thirds of the Senate voted on that at a time when it was rare to see two-thirds of the Senate come together on controversial or significant issues of the day. It was sent to the House of Representatives over 1 year ago, and they did not once cast a vote on that legislation or their own vision of what immigration reform should be.

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