Carper Statement on Failure of Senate to Move Forward on Immigration

WASHINGTON (April 7, 2006) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today issued the following statement after the Senate voted down a motion to move forward on bipartisan immigration reform: “The Senate missed a great opportunity today to move forward on bipartisan immigration reform that is both tough and smart. Illegal immigration is a serious problem. It’s estimated that there are already 12 million unauthorized aliens in the United States, and that number is growing by about 500,000 to 700,000 each year. We need to come up with a realistic and responsible plan to secure our borders and deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants living in this country. We had two opportunities this week to move forward on bipartisan legislation that would tighten security at our border by hiring border agents, deploying the latest surveillance technology and constructing strategic barriers at our most vulnerable points. At the same time, the bill would allow current unauthorized workers and new workers to remain in the United States if they continue to hold down a job, learn English, pay a fine and all back taxes, and obey the law. Additionally, the legislation would include protections to ensure that foreign workers don’t undermine jobs for American workers. The bipartisan legislation wasn’t perfect, but it would have increased security while not giving amnesty to illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, politics got in the way of real reform. Immigration is too serious an issue to give up and walk away. I sincerely hope that when Congress returns from its recess that we return to this important issue and that we work together – Republicans and Democrats alike – to adopt responsible immigration reform this year.”