The Associated Press

Sen. Brown Calls DREAM Act Proposal ‘Amnesty’

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown said Monday that a federal proposal to allow illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship through college or military service amounts to amnesty, and claimed that supporters of the measure were “playing politics with military funding.”

The Massachusetts Republican said he was upset that the so-called DREAM Act might be included in a defense bill.

“I am opposed to illegal immigration, and I am deeply disappointed that Washington politicians are playing politics with military funding in order to extend a form of amnesty to certain illegal immigrants,” Brown said in a statement, while undocumented students rallied outside his Boston office in support of the measure.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Brown made the comments as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is seeking to add the legislation to a defense bill. Some military leaders who believe it would help with recruitment support the proposal. But some Republicans oppose it and are accusing Reid of playing politics.

Under the proposal, conditional legal status would be granted to young undocumented immigrants who successfully complete high school or the equivalent. They could qualify for permanent legal residency by enrolling in college or a trade school or by joining the military within six years.

A vote on the defense bill may come as early as Tuesday.

Brown’s comments come after months of pressure by student immigrant activists and various immigrant advocacy groups that wanted the senator to commit to passing a bill strongly supported by the man he replaced, the late-Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Democrat. Student activists have pushed letter writing campaigns and phone calls to Brown and staged protests and sit-ins outside his Boston office.

“He’s missing the point. There are real people here,” said Deivid Ribeiro, 21, an undocumented immigrant from Brazil and an aspiring astronaut. “He’s the one who is playing politics by not addressing the issue. It’s irresponsible of him.”

On Monday, Ribeiro and a group of undocumented students launched a planned around-the-clock vigil and teach-in in front Brown’s Boston office to press him on the DREAM Act.

Around 100 people from the Student Immigrant Movement and other immigrant groups marched from the Massachusetts Statehouse to the John F. Kennedy federal building, where Brown has an office, waving U.S. flags and singing songs. They arrived outside the federal building and vowed to stay until Brown announced his stance on the issue or the U.S. Senate took a vote.

“All I want is the opportunity to serve,” said Carlos Savio Oliveira, 22, of Falmouth, an illegal immigrant from Brazil, who was brought to the U.S. by his parents when he was 8 years old. “I feel trapped.”

Ribeiro said the group plans to hold teach-ins, as well, with volunteer professors at the protest site, reminiscent of the 1960s open forums that helped mobilize opposition to the Vietnam War.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has promised to support the legislation.

Other student groups also coordinated similar protests outside lawmakers’ offices in Chicago and Arizona.

In Boston, Ribeiro said students want to introduce Brown, a member of the Army National Guard, to Oliveira who said he would join the U.S. Navy if the proposal passed.

“For me, the Navy would only be the beginning,” said Oliveira, who left for Washington, D.C., after Monday’s launch to lobby other lawmakers. “The military would be a stepping stone in my life.”

The same student immigrant advocates held an around-the-clock vigil this summer outside the Statehouse to protest a state budget amendment aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants. The amendment later was defeated, inspiring a coalition of student immigrant advocacy groups in Massachusetts, Colorado and California to launch Dream University.

The makeshift school in the nation’s capital is reminiscent of the 1960s teach-ins that were open educational forums with broad discussions that took a similar approach in mobilizing opposition to the Vietnam War. Illegal immigrant students from around the country have attended Dream University classes.

Federal law does not forbid illegal immigrants from attending universities and colleges in the U.S. State laws vary on whether to grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates. California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin allow it; other states, such as Massachusetts, charge out-of-state rates, which a number of illegal immigrant students in Massachusetts say they can’t afford.

Undocumented immigrants who graduate from college are forbidden from working legally in the U.S. under current federal law.

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  • bob d’amore

    Let’s get the INS down to scott’s office and deport some of those “activists”.

  • Karl Kail

    Senator Brown,
    Please help talk some sense into your colleagues. Tacking the DREAM Act onto the Defense Budget is just wrong; the country cannot afford it; it’s an affront to everyone that became a citizen legally; and it’s blatant vote buying.

  • lois

    Senator Brown
    Don’t falter. Just know this, the politicians who pander for the Latino are losing their voter base…WE ARE TIRED OF IT!!! And they don’t listent to us!!!

  • Cathy Beauchemin

    Senator Brown,
    I am so pleased to hear you are against the “Dream Act”!! Hiding another spending spree into a Defense Bill is SHAMEFUL!! Vote Buying at its WORST!!! Reid ought to be ashamed of himself!

  • Mike

    Thanks Senator Brown. You are right!

  • William Malicia

    Harry Reid should be tried for Treason. Bribing people for votes seems like a violation of his Oath of Office. Don’t let him get to you Senator Brown.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keepingfamiliestogether Bridget

    DREAM Act is NOT amnesty! @Bob – Don’t assume that these activists are illegal. I can’t speak for them all but I am one of the activists and an American born citizen. Believe it or not, there ARE American citizens in favor of this because it is the right thing to do.

  • Michele

    If Dream Act is such a great bill, then pass it on it’s own merits, not tacked onto the defense bill, the cowardly Harry Reid way of doing business.

  • Karin

    Senator Brown,
    In my opinion, if you are willing to serve our country than you should be put at the front of the line. As far as attending a college … wait like everyone else.

  • http://facebook Trisha Carter

    Just what we need is the military full of aliens who have no loyalty to the US.

  • Gas guy

    Senator Brown – this is NOT an amnesty bill. People – read the bill – it takes years of good behavior to become a citizen, no crime record, and a history of paying taxes. That’s not amnesty.
    Under the DREAM Act, certain undocumented individuals could become legal residents if they came here as children. The first step in this process is for the individual to enroll in some type of higher education, such as a university, vocational school, or apprenticeship program. Another option is to enroll in the U.S. military. If certain requirements are met, this person may apply for conditional residency in the U.S. Upon receipt of an associates degree or a 2-year equivalent within six years of the initial petition, the conditional status can be changed and the individual can become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

    To be eligible for permanent residency under the DREAM Act, the individual must have entered the United States before turning 16 years of age and must have been in the United States for at least five years without interruption. The individual must also demonstrate the ability to speak English.

    Conditional residents under the DREAM Act will be eligible for private loans to fund their education, but will not be eligible for Pell grants. Under the DREAM Act, 65,000 students could become conditional residents each year, and eventually become permanent residents and citizens if they comply with current immigration rules and regulations.

    What is wrong with that, Scott Brown??

  • Gaye

    With a little bit of luck Harry Reid will not longer be in Washington! He makes me sick and should loose this election! Thank you Senator Brown for the info!

  • Gay Lakin

    Thank for the info Senator Brown…………….hopefully Harry Reid will be voted out in November.

  • Deb Tompkins

    Thank you, Scott for keeping America for Americans. I welcome folks that are willing to work and become a part of our great nation. My neice and her son just became citizens the traditional way and I am so proud of them for wanting to be here.
    Anyone see the previews for Mr. Obama’s aunt who thinks that the United States has an obligation to help her as a poor black woman illegally in this country. What about helping our poor citizens and seniors who have poured money all there lives into the system, and are sinking lower into the poverty ranks while this administration is handing the store to people who have given nothing in return for wanting to be totally taken care of?
    A couple of months ago, a report surfaced that Mr Obama would use an executive order to make illegals legal before the election. Is this a part of that same initiative? I also agree with the previous entry that if this initiative had merit, then it should stand on its own and not to hold the rest of the bill hostage.
    Can’t wait til November.

  • kat

    Thank you, Senator Brown!

    The DREAM Act is amnesty. It was designed to cover as many younger illegals as possible. It covers illegals up to the age of 35. That’s a student? Yeah, right. And it only requires the illegal to attest that they qualify, it’s up to the govt to contest whether they qualify. Think the govt will vet every applicant? Didn’t think so and I don’t think they will vet anyone. They did such a great job during the 1986 amnesty where fraud was rampant. Plus, once the illegal applies they can not be deported for 6 years. In addition, the military and school requirement can be waived if it would cause extreme hardship. Can you say de facto amnesty? And after these “students” get amnesty then they can sponsor their lawbreaking illegal parents. Why didn’t the act bar their parents from permanently gaining citizenship?

    Plus the bar is set so low. If we want the best and brightest then why are we even considering anyone who only puts in 2 yrs military or 2 yrs higher schooling? What a joke! Should be at least 6 yrs military and the only schooling applicable would be a full 4 yr college or university of the highest caliber. And I’m not talking Bunker Hill Community College.

    The reason hispanic leaders wanted to spread a broad net under the guise of education is that college attendance by latinos is very low and a 4 yr degree would cover very few hispanics. Illegal immigrant students can take their education and return to their home countries and make it a better place. Someone has to do it and it should be the nation’s citizens.

  • Deb Tompkins

    Under the Dream Act, who will pay for these people”s education?

  • kat

    From another article on WBUR. This illegal and other like him will be in the next amnesty wave! Fight back!

    “I know the Framingham police only worry about people who are committing serious crimes,” says Francisco de Vasconcelos. The 31-year-old says he has been to court 15 times for driving without a license and driving while drunk, and he’s here illegally.

    “They haven’t deported me. It’s a miracle.”

  • Carol

    Illegals are destroying our country through identity theft, tax evasion and abuse of our health care and welfare systems. Los Angeles County alone paid $52 million to illegal aliens in welfare checks for the month of July. States going bankrupt trying to support these freeloaders are getting sued for trying to enforce our immigration laws. This amnesty would encourage millions more criminals to invade us. I want my tax dollars to help my children realize their dreams. America is just being used. Alot of these foreigners are building new homes in their own country with the cash they fleece from U.S. taxpayers.

  • DPF

    Juan Veliz is a fraud. “Juan Veliz” is a Tea Party tactic to discredit Hispanic immigrants and erode support by portraying the community as militant, vulgar and anti-”American”. Nearly every blog on the web that attempts to have a rational discussion of immigration policy eventually is visited by “Juan Veliz” and the conversation quickly degrades. I beg of you to not let this happen here. The Tea Party has many fine members and perhaps even has America in its heart – but the tactic employed by a few make my stomach turn and fear for the future of our country – when the Tea Party’s only goal appears to be divide and conquer. Their victim is American not just the Hispanic community.

  • SanDiegogal

    First auntie didn’t do you illegals any favor going on TV last night and telling everone that she is getting 700 bucks for sitting on her fanny

  • Carol

    I don’t think you know what a racist is, Juan, if you really exist. I know law-abiding immigrants who are NOT a burden to our country and I have nothing but love and respect for them. I just don’t think America should continue to be ravaged by the criminals and freeloaders of this world. Time to stop rewarding foreigners who have no respect for our laws. I say no to the DREAM Act amnesty!

  • CATHRYN ADAMS

    I havae heard that Senator Brown was negotiating with Senator Reid to pass the Dream Act Amnesty. Please Sentor Brown, vote NOOOOOOO on this. Thanks, Cathryn Adams

  • JonnyG

    This is a bad bill. I can understand in certain circumstances there are folks brought here as young kids that are stuck between two worlds. However- this is not the bill to solve that problem. It is riddled with loopholes and bad ideas. Why congress can’t just write a bill that solves the one problem its supposed to, instead of tacking on all kinds of extra junk that ruin the original intent is beyond me.

    And Senator Brown: when your phones weren’t working yesterday I was trying to call you to vote against the bill.

  • Powell

    The Department of Defense has recommended that the DA be passed in the next two years. And that conclusion, by the people who protect you, was made last year. Several corporations such as Microsoft support the bill, as do every major University in the US. Essentially Brown is not against illegal immigration, he is against education, he is against immigrants putting flesh & blood to defend this nation.

    These minors were brought here, at no fault of their own, at young ages. WE paid for their public education careers all the way into 12th grade. Why would we want to ship that young investment away all of a sudden? We are not going to be paying for their college tuition, I can’t think of anyone in higher education who gets a free ride from the Federal government.

    This will open up the possibilities for the brightest, most patriotic and hard working to come out of the shadows and finally give back to the nation that has given them so much. A nation that is aging every year, with no solution in sight to solve SS/Medicaid problems and a competitive job/economic market.

  • fran in NA

    Thank you Scott for seeing that the DREAM ACT was an amnesty scam and not a military recruitment tool. There already is a program for foreign nationals to serve in our military and get green card preference.

  • http://smokebreak.blogshevik.com Joan of Snark

    Any Defense Authorization bill that includes anything except actual defense spending, particularly today’s vote that will include the so-called “DREAM Act”, should get a NO vote from everyone.

    The DREAM Act will allow the federal government to – again – force the American taxpayers to pony up more money we don’t have in order to pay for their ideological pursuits. The DREAM Act will increase the cost of higher education for every state, but especially those with large illegal immigrant populations.

    Our states are flat broke and need to reform their budgets, not spend more.

    It forces states to give taxpayer funded financial aid to illegal immigrants.

    It forces states to allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

    These provisions can be utilized by illegal immigrants until the age of 35.

    There is ZERO accountability in place to track the money and costs.

    There is no scoring from the Congressional Budget Office!

    There is no estimate of the cost to the American taxpayer for the cost of the education and military benefits, or the cost of the fast track to citizenship also mandated in the bill.

    Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and President Obama have not passed a BUDGET for FY2011 which starts in October and they want to spend more without any thought about how much this will cost us.

    If this Act was so wonderful, it would be voted on its own merits. Trying to “hide” it as part of defense legislation just so Dems can later slam anyone wise enough to vote no as being against the military is clearly seen by the American people for the childish nonsense that it is. And we will remember this in November. This year, and every year going forward.

  • Andrew

    When did it become acceptable to pick on people looking for nothing more than the opportunity to be treated as a human being? This, in a society where they already work, own homes and raise families? Our founding fathers were forced to rebel against a King who made them “illegal” based on where they were born, and denied them the rights of full citizens. What would our founding fathers say about denying representation to those who pay taxes…. or reserving rights for some men, and not all? What would your God say about how you’ve treated those who are not looking for a handout but instead ask for nothing more than to be treated like any other human being? Shame on Scott Brown and shame on those who continue to pick on people wanting nothing more than opportunity. You’re not protecting “conservative values”, you’re just being a jerk.

  • James Citizen

    Please VOTE NO ON CLOTURE of the DREAM ACT AMNESTY today!
    DREAM amnesty has zero enforcement. Illegal-alien teenagers are in their current predicament because their parents were allowed to illegally take jobs and then hold them. The DREAM amnesty would allow millions more parents to do the same in the future.
    Millions more illegal aliens will be enticed to come and take U.S. jobs once they see the way previous illegal aliens are rewarded by the DREAM amnesty.
    This new flow of illegal workers will further the suffering of 22 million unemployed Americans who want a job but can’t find one.
    A vote for DREAM amnesty is a vote in favor of bringing in more illegal foreign workers and keeping millions of Americans jobless.
    Your Dream Act amnesty stance is a strange one for a candidate asking voters to believe that he/she is representing the best interests of the state!

  • Willy

    Yes,
    Let the legislation stand on it’s own merits. Any crap that’s attached to a defense bill that can effect the proper defense of our nation is not only cowardly but could be treasonous. This blatant attempt to cater to a special interest group at the cost of our defense and proper debate is just how we got into this mess. I hope anyone backing this vote is targeted by my Tea Party for retirement.

    Willy

  • Stephanie

    The DREAM Act is not amnesty. Any educated person who reads and understands the bill would clearly understand that. We all must turn away from our partisan news outlets and read the legislation for what it is– allowing students of this country to obtain quality higher education, based on their own merit, without federal funding assistance. This takes nothing away from other students. If the students comply with further regulations, this may be the entry to the path of earned and deserved citizenship. It is not right to fault a child for a parent’s poor decision to act illegally. And truly, we all need to be reminded that a vast majority of us are children of immigrants. We should be thankful for our opportunities in a “free”world and should extend a kind hand to those who wish to lawfully interact with us.

  • Charles Wesley

    Dating myself a bit, during the Vietnam War, I recall infantry training with, being instructed by, and serving with Cubans and Mexicans who came to the US without visas but became citizens under a program similar to the Dream Act. These men were brave, tough and smart. I’m sure that those that survived have all become outstanding citizens. It seems to me that the Dream Act would produce a similar result.

    Passing the Dream Act is simply the right thing to do.

  • http://comcast.net Sheila

    Absolutely no more free education, free medical care or free money. Send them back where they came from — parents and kids both. I am tired of paying for them. Let them apply for admission to this country and state they want to join the armed services and then wait their turn. This does NOT apply to their illegal parents that broke the law.

  • Denise Wolk

    Unless you are of Native American heritage you are ALL illegal immigrants. Period.
    Why don’t all you white folks get back on the boats for England, Germany, Ireland, France, etc. and leave this country to the people to whom it really belongs?

    Feels ridiculous, right?

    Then why is it that fair skinned people are so up in arms and ready to close the pathway to citizenship to those who seek to better their own lives AND serve our country?

  • Andrew

    The Defense Department supports the DREAM Act. So how exactly is it treasonous to support a bill that the DOD says will improve our ability to defend ourselves? Simple answer: it isn’t. And yet, I won’t call you a traitor because you don’t support the DOD recommendation– I think we just disagree. Why then do you feel the need to vilify your neighbors who disagree with you, much like you vilify these folks who want only opportunity to make a hard earned dollar? That’s the question you should be asking yourself.

  • Timm

    If someone is willing to die for me, they should be allowed to gain citizenship! The military still reserves the right to deny people if they are not qualified but those who are willing to serve should be allowed to do so and gain the rights that they are entitled to. That includes gays and immigrants.

  • ProudAmerican

    I am a proud naturalized American citizen, my wife is a natural born USC, so are my two children. I support immigration – LEGAL immigration.
    All day long you hear stories about illegals who has to go through so much, how they have such a hard life – BUT have you ever thought about how they affect LEGAL, US CITIZENS?
    Let me tell you my story – my 5 year old son, again – an American citizen, was assessed by the school district and he was placed in the 99th percentile for 1st grade reading/writing/comprehension etc. So, the school board recommended that he skips kindergarten, and goes straight to 1st grade. All is well, but there is one problem – the 1st grade classroom size is stretched to max, and they don’t have a spot for him. FUNNY – they have ILLEGALS in there. So, my son’s legitimate seat was taken up by an illegal – that’s how bad illegal immigration situation is – that’s how illegal immigration is costing us.
    Say NO to all attempts at legalizing illegals.

  • ProudAmerican

    Timm, you wrote: f someone is willing to die for me, they should be allowed to gain citizenship!
    Now do you really think things are that simple? This will ENCOURAGE floods of illegal immigrants in hopes for green card by joining the army.
    Also, how do you know someone is willing to die for you? The ford hood shooter was in the Army, but did he die for Americans, or did he kill Americans?

  • Clara

    Scott Brown has proven what we all know, that the GOP is racist, and that the GOP is playing political games on the backs of the American people, whether they be white, black, hispanic, naturalized, or not. The political games are being played by the GOP, because also included in this bill was a raise for our troops, a raise they and their families deserve, far more than they deserve this political vomit being spewed at them by the GOP. Shame on you Scott. Gee, it wasn’t long ago when you said you would represent the people, our troops, and not special interests or be biased. Didn’t take long to drop that mantle, now did it Scott.

  • Clara

    In reading the above posts, how very clear that the GOP is so willing to bring out the racism in this country. And to think I thought we were so beyond all of that. Another example of how the GOP is such a total failure of the people of this country. They can’t govern themselves, breed the likes of Palin and O’Donnell, they took this country to her knees, and they expect any sane person to think they are competent to govern. If you want a depression and think you can survive it, then do please vote Republican in November. If you have half a brain and want to keep moving forward, then vote Democrat. Want to sink into hate and racism in this country, then by all means vote Republican. Want to uphold our real constitution and not one made up by a bunch of racists, then do vote Democrat. The GOP proves every day they are the gutless wonders of this country, with no capacity or ability to lead, let alone keep control of their own party. If the current GOP is what you want for leadership, racism run amuck, hate being spewed, intolerance, lies, all of this brought to us by the GOP and in a time of crisis the GOP created, the GOP who offer nothing in response to solving the crisis they brought crashing down on our heads, then by all means vote Republican. Then may God help us all, for surely our country will need it, and who will help the 3.5 million more Americans who will be plunged into poverty immediately, as millions more will follow.

  • Andrew

    The fact that Scott Brown, and those like him think “amnesty” is a dirty word says a lot about the kind of people that they are. They live in a world dominated by their desire to rain suffering down upon those they deem to have sinned against them– regardless of the cost. They sit in judgment over people who want the opportunity to work hard and provide for their families, and call these people a threat to our safety and security. They’ve lost all sense of perspective: seeking to punish children by denying them education and opportunity, and calling for the denial of medical care to the sick. You reap what you sow in this world, and all the hatred and division these people breed is more poisonous to us than anything brought by “illegals”.

  • mike

    Illegal immigration should carry a 20 year sentence with no parole. Not only are illegals stealing from taxpayers and those unfortunate enough to have to compete with them but they are making it impossible for those who want to come here legally. It is immoral to support these people they are depriving citizens of jobs and burdening the lower and middle class taxpayers who support our social welfare system.

  • Andrew

    I thought only Socialists believed citizens should be guaranteed jobs. Those of us who believe in free market capitalism think that nobody should be guaranteed a job, and that the government should provide security, but get out of the way when it comes to the free flow of labor into our economy. Why should the government tell a private business who it can, and cannot employ? The fact of the matter is that the government has failed to keep up with the natural flow of labor into our country, and as a result only ends up getting in the way.

    Furthermore, illegal immigrants are not eligible for food stamps, supplemental social security, or Medicaid. Even legal immigrants have to show that they have worked and paid taxes for 10 years to gain access to these benefits. It is simply misinformed to insist that somehow illegal immigrants are the cause of our current budget woes.

    Ironically, what we need most with an aging population is an influx of younger workers to pay taxes into Social Security and prop up Medicaid. The baby-boomers are retiring and we need labor. Anti-immigration advocates seem to miss this point entirely.

  • http://msn.com Xanderzone

    Thank you Senator Brown for not passing an 8th amnesty since 1986! Every amnesty has brought another hord across our border! Illegals need to go to Mexico and reform it, not ask for hand outs from the American taxpayer! Just 2 million kids up to 35 years old! What an insult to our intelligence! No caps on the number of illegals, no costs to American taxpayer included, no checking on who these illegal are, what a joke!!!

  • http://msn.com Xanderzone

    Andrew, get a clue! Estimated, 70% of illegal don’t have a High School education and think their going to take care of us! Arnold Schwarzenegger CA. sent a bill to the feds last year for over 9 billion dollars for the money taxpayers paid for illegals welfare! Wake up!

  • AmericanHero

    “Estimated Price Tag To Remove All Illegals Immigrants From The U.S Completely Is Less Than The Failed Stimulus Bill”
    August, 2010

    Mr. X
    U.S.A

    Dear Mr. X
    Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

    Our nation faces a host of problems as a result of years of inattention to our immigration policies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that about 11 million people in the United States lack legal status, including those who enter the country illegally and those who overstay temporary visas.

    Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed. I have worked to reform our immigration system comprehensively. A number of Senators, including myself, recently released a blueprint outlining the basic principles a comprehensive reform measure should include.

    The blueprint would improve border security by increasing manpower and deploying new technology. Many people have asked for reforms that would secure our borders before putting the immigrants who are already here on a path to legal status. In response to that concern, a “trigger” was included in the 2007 immigration bill and is preserved in the 2010 blueprint. The plan would require that certain border security and enforcement benchmarks be met before any program is started that would address the status of illegal immigrants already here.

    Congress has taken many steps in recent years to step up security at our borders. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $100 million for inspection systems to be deployed at border ports of entry, $100 million for border security technology on the Southwest border, and $420 million for modernization and construction of facilities used to control and process border crossings. The Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided $8.1 billion for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. This amount includes $19 million to hire an additional 100 Border Patrol agents. The bill also provided $800 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was allocated $5.3 billion to support investigation activities and detention and removal operations. The bill funds 33,400 detention beds and requires that at least $2.5 billion be used in the detention and removal of unauthorized persons. The bill provides $1.5 billion to identify and remove those with criminal records illegally residing in the United States.

    The new immigration blueprint also calls for strengthened enforcement against employers who hire illegal immigrants, an essential element of comprehensive reform. The federal government must crack down on employers who ignore our nation’s laws and hire illegal immigrants. The reform proposal calls for a biometric employment verification system and increased penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.

    If we are serious about reform, we also must adopt a realistic approach to the millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in our country. Mass deportation of illegal immigrants is impractical and too expensive. Experts estimate that deporting all of the undocumented immigrants would cost more than $280 billion, seven times DHS’s budget last year. Instead, we need to offer immigrants who work hard and demonstrate a long-term commitment to be law-abiding, contributing members of our country a chance to pay fines and earn their way to permanent legal status over the course of many years. Some have falsely called this amnesty. I oppose amnesty because it is not right to reward those who have broken the law with automatic citizenship. This proposal will not give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    The blueprint calls for a two-phase system of legalization. The first phase would require all undocumented individuals to register with the government, pass criminal background checks, and pay fees in order to be granted lawful prospective immigrant status. The second phase would occur eight years later, after the current visa backlog has been processed. At that stage, undocumented aliens would be able to earn their way to permanent legal status only if they pass updated criminal background checks; possess basic citizenship skills; demonstrate basic English language skills; pay all federal taxes, fees, and penalties; and register for the Selective Service.

    If we do not give people who are already a part of our communities the chance to earn legal status, we will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. Those living here illegally will stay in the shadows instead of coming forward to register. This hurts our national security and hurts American workers, who are being undercut by cheap illegal labor.

    I am deeply concerned about the impact of potential temporary guest worker programs. In contrast to those immigrants who are already here and actively engaged in our workforce, guest worker programs would bring in a large future flow of workers with no long-term commitment to our country. I voted to eliminate the guest worker program in the previous Senate immigration bill. When that effort was unsuccessful, I offered a Hire Americans First amendment to require employers to seek American workers for their open positions before they try to bring in guest workers. I have also introduced legislation designed to protect American workers by addressing major abuses in the H-1B visa program.

    There is no perfect solution to the problems we face as a result of our broken immigration system. Today, our borders are not secure, our workplace enforcement laws need reform, and our immigration policy fosters a shadow economy for millions of immigrants who simply want to demonstrate that they can be hardworking contributors to the greatness of our country. I will continue to work for a package of reforms that will protect American workers and that will be tough, enforceable, economically sensible, and morally defensible. I will keep your views in mind as the debate continues.

    Sincerely,
    Richard J. Durbin
    United States Senator
    RJD/ab

    Pass It On!!!

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  • William F. Roady

    I believe Mr. Oliveira should go back to Brazil, take his parents with him and apply for entry to the USA.

  • carroll

    Dear Mr. Brown,
    I wish we had money to help everyone illegal and especially Americans.
    I hope you know I am proud that you are standing up to the people that thinks America is rich, to say no.
    They keep threats going about social security, and our medicare going broke. Who but an illegal are we paying for their babies born over here, making them Americans, giving food stamps, Wic, free health care if they go to the emergency, free housing or very low depending if they have a job or give them American jobs.
    That is not good if we have to be indebt to other countries to pay for this and rob social security. That is why we are low on funds. No is the answer. We do not have it!!!!!!

  • http://flawedthinkerthinks.blogspot.com Noel

    I thought a characteristic of the GOP was some sort of Christian values. Is it very Christian to deny people citizenship even though they wish to study, serve in the military, learn English and pay taxes like a good citizen? What happened to “as you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me”??

  • Pepe54

    Sen. Scott Brown is a worthless piece of s**t, selfish, hater, incompetent, rude, and much much more just like most republicans. All they do is look out for themselves only and no one else, they already are rich or have money so who cares about the poor or the honest people that dont have much! We need senators that care a little about people other then themselves im disgusted by how you do your work and act towards all and all the others like him in the senate. He only cares about himself and his wellbeing. Senator Brown grow up try to see other people as how they are and not how you want them to be. Be a better Senator>

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