As you may have heard, this evening my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support legislation that will make necessary changes to fix our broken immigration system. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), often called the "Gang of Eight" plan, now goes to the full Senate where my colleagues will continue to debate and refine this critical piece of legislation.
One thing that I think we can all agree on is that the status quo is not working. Our immigration system is antiquated, ineffective, and unfair. We have long waits – sometimes longer than a decade – for those who play by the rules and apply to come here legally. Additionally, we allow the best and brightest from around the world to come here to study, but then deny them the opportunity to stay in this country and use their intellect and talents here. These inefficient and unfair policies encourage otherwise lawful individuals to stay here illegally. We need to repair this system to meet our country's economic and humanitarian needs, creating an immigration system that is efficient and effective and includes rules that are fair and enforceable.
A critical aspect of the immigration reform effort is to ensure that we have control of our borders and points of entry. This year, I have visited our southern border in both Arizonaand Texas as well as our northern border in Michigan in my capacity as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. These trips have shown me firsthand that our borders are more secure today than they have been in the past 40 years, but there is still work to be done. The immigration reform bill now being considered by the Senate will build on the important advances we've made in recent years to further protect our borders.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has already held three hearings on the issue of border security, and our most recent hearing took a hard look at the border enforcement provisions of the "Gang of Eight" bill. I believe that this is a balanced and fair bill that ultimately will make our nation more secure. As the full Senate considers this plan to reform our immigration system, I'll continue to work with my colleagues and other stakeholders to ensure that it is well thought-out and effective.
With warm personal regards,