Seventy-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives told the Senate yesterday in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) that they will not stand for amnesty of illegal aliens. Here’s an excerpt from today’s story in the Washington Times:
House members warned Senate leaders yesterday that they will oppose any immigration legislation that goes beyond tightening border security and enforcing current immigration laws.
"Unfortunately, we have grave concerns about several of the proposals which have been presented to your committee," the 70 Republicans and one Democrat wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican.
"We are concerned that some of these proposals are fundamentally incompatible with the desire of the American public for real immigration reform — and their clear opposition to reform proposals that amount to little more than thinly disguised attempts to provide amnesty," the lawmakers said.
The letter arrived as the Judiciary Committee pleaded with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, for more time to hammer out a guest-worker plan and other provisions that the house opposed.
"If the Senate were to pass such a proposal, we believe it would doom any chance of a real reform bill reaching the president’s desk this year," the House members cautioned.
Looks like the battle over what to do with America’s illegal aliens has only just begun…
Update — 4:02 p.m.
Here’s the letter:
Dear Chairman Specter,
As you know, the House of Representatives passed an immigration reform bill in December. The bill takes several steps to restore order to our anarchical borders and to reform our dysfunctional immigration system. Among other provisions, the bill calls for the construction of a security fence along our southern border, streamlines federal and local law enforcement cooperation on immigration matters, and helps protect American workers by mandating an instant check system for businesses to verify the legal status of their employees. We worked diligently to make sure that our vision for reform passed the House, and we were pleased that it garnered broad bipartisan support.
No reasonable observer — regardless of his or her policy perspective — believes that the current system serves the national or economic security interests of our country. We are all aware of how our porous borders and our lax interior enforcement create opportunities for criminals, whether they are human smugglers, illegal employers or persons sneaking into our country to do us harm. Americans demand that we fix our broken system, now.
We believe that both houses of Congress have a shared responsibility to solve this problem. Unfortunately, we have grave concerns about several of the proposals which have been presented to your committee. We are concerned that some of these proposals are fundamentally incompatible with the desire of the American public for real immigration reform — and their clear opposition to reform proposals that amount to little more than thinly disguised attempts to provide amnesty. If the Senate were to pass such a proposal, we believe it would doom any chance of a real reform bill reaching the President’s desk this year.
In order to provide a roadmap to successful reform, we ask that you consider several fundamental principles when you are crafting your committee’s proposal:
* Border Security: We must make an honest attempt to secure our borders through greater manpower and infrastructure resources — over and above what Congress has already authorized.
* Interior Enforcement: No solution to illegal immigration will work until we begin to prosecute employers who lure illegal aliens into the U.S.
* Enforcement First: No foreign worker plan can function unless we have operational control of our borders and unless we know who comes in and out of our country.
* No Amnesty: Rewarding persons who have broken the law with an advantage that they would not otherwise have had encourages more illegal behavior and is unjust to immigrants who came to the U.S. legally.
Our country desperately needs secure borders. Our constituents demand them. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in the Senate to pass immigration reform this year.
Representatives Aderholt, Akin, Alexander, Bachus, Baker, Barrett, Bartlett, Barton, Beauprez, Blackburn, Boozman, Bradley, Burgess, Burton, Campbell, Carter, Cubin, Culberson, Jo Ann Davis (VA), Deal, Duncan, Everett, Forbes, Foxx, Garrett, Gingrey, Gohmert, Goode, Gordon, Graves, Gutknecht, Hefley, Herger, Hoekstra, Hostettler, Hunter, Issa, Istook, Jenkins, Johnson (TX), Jones (NC), King (IA), Kingston, Kuhl, Manzullo, Marchant, McCotter, McHenry, McKeon, Gary Miller, Myrick, Ney, Norwood, Otter, Paul, Pence, Pickering, Pitts, Poe, Price (GA), Ramstad, Rohrabacher, Royce, Ryun, Sessions, Simpson, Smith (TX), Stearns, Sullivan, Tancredo, Taylor (NC), Wamp, Weldon (FL)