Isakson, Chambliss Vote “No” As Immigration Reform Passes Senate

The vote according to the AP was 68-32 as an immigration reform bill passed the U.S. Senate ahead of the break for the 4th of July Holiday.  The measure (and activity) will now shift to the House, where John Boehner has indicated that he wants to move some sort of reform plan.  Doubtful the plan that passes the House, if there is one, will look a lot like the Senate bill.

Discuss below.  My opinion remains that Republicans need to spend this time articulating an alternative version that would both 1) work and 2) recognizes the reality that we’re not going to deport 10+ million people.

The parallel here is health care reform.  Republicans were successful in blocking “Hillary Care” and using the momentum to take over Congress in 1994.  Yet with Republican majorities in Congress and for a while also having a Republican president, the health care/insurance issue in this country didn’t get better, and Republicans were largely silent on the issue.  Yet we act surprised that Democrats, given a second chance, passed “Obamacare” on their terms.

Republicans don’t control the White House or the Senate, but they do control the House.  Now would be a good time to articulate clearly what Republicans would actually do if in charge of it all via a proactive, solid House bill.


  1. Charlie says:


    (Washington, D.C.) – On Thursday, the United States Senate passed a massive immigration reform bill. U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA-7) issued the following statement in response:

    “Today, I have 180 open cases with constituents having problems navigating the current immigration process. These are folks trying to do it the right way. In the last year I have served 492 families with the same kinds of troubles. I know that real reform is needed for our broken immigration process, and I know that the details in that reform matter. Unfortunately, by tackling immigration reform in a mega bill and refusing to allow important amendments to improve the bill, the Senate is undermining the opportunity for real reform. Just as the Senate jammed through a flawed health care bill, and now years later America is still learning what is in it, the Senate is jamming America with a mega-immigration bill today.

    “I am proud of the House’s approach to immigration reform; focusing on bills individually to allow time for thoughtful debate and bipartisan input. By addressing one issue at a time and ensuring that every American has a voice in this critical process, we can ensure that the brightest minds and hardest workers from around the world are able to contribute to our nation’s success while preserving the values that make America so special. Enacting meaningful immigration reform and enforcing the rule of law are not mutually exclusive ideas, and I am committed to working with my colleagues in the House to strike a balance that will achieve both of those goals and make the American people proud.”

  2. Charlie says:

    (Marietta, GA) – Dr. Phil Gingrey released the following statement in response to the Unites States Senate’s passage of S. 744.

    “Illegal immigration is one of the biggest crises facing our nation today, and there is no doubt we must address this problem. However, the Senate bill passed this morning is typical of most of the bills that come out of Harry Reid’s office — a 1,900 page document that has changed so many times most Georgians don’t even know what is in it. Protecting our borders and holding those accountable who have come here illegally are two essential components of true, effective immigration reforms. Amnesty is not.”

  3. rwlee2 says:

    “Amnesty is not.” …and yet, no definition of what “amnesty” means is nothing more than partisan junk rhetoric that doesn’t do anything to actually detail a solution. Hopefully that changes.

  4. seekingtounderstand says:

    Is there another parallel Charlie? The right to work states vs unionized states?
    Will Georgia workers need unions after amnesty is granted.
    Unionized states would love that as it would remove an incentive to move businesses.
    Anyone else see the union benefiting greatly, while republicans help them?

    • Charlie says:

      I quit reading every time I see the word “amnesty”.

      If we’re going to have a real debate about this issue, then we’re going to have to drop this horribly ignorant applause word.

      Those who are here aren’t being pardoned. They’re being required to pay a fine and go to the end of the line. You can argue that’s not harsh enough, that the border isn’t yet secure, that there are horrible disincentives to hire Americans in favor of current illegals.

      But for everyone on our side that can’t let the word “amnesty” go, you are in fact part of the problem why Republicans won’t win any new Hispanic voters when this bill passes, because you can’t bring yourself to understand that words matter.

      • rrrrr says:

        To actually have serious debate, some will often have to keep reading past the “A” word because it indicates a failure to educate or enlighten others has occurred.

        This “back of the line” stuff is interesting because they are “here” and those “in line” AREN’T…

        As to the cost – just what is the total “premium” over the current correct method of immigration’s expense? I haven’t seen that discussed anywhere, perhaps that might a place to start a new discussion.

        Fee Waiver Guidance

        U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application and petition fees. Recognizing that some applicants cannot pay the filing fees, USCIS established a fee waiver process for certain forms and benefit types. Demonstrated inability to pay is the only reason USCIS will approve a fee waiver.

        Waiving a fee for one applicant transfers the cost of processing their application to other applicants through higher fees. Therefore, USCIS carefully considers the merits of each fee waiver request before making a decision.

      • mpierce says:

        You continue to completely ignore the fact that they will be receiving tax credits which far exceed the fines paid.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Eh. Reagan never saw any substantial increase in Hispanic GOP voters after he tried something similar in the 80s.

        Now we could argue that opposing this might hurt the GOP in terms of getting Hispanic votes, but supporting it is not likely to garner any support if history is any indication.

      • seekingtounderstand says:

        Whether the believe in these words or not, republicans could gather many votes with “we will protect the American workers families while dems want to give your jobs away to cheap labor”
        But since the republicans support big business, their message gets PC’d or lost.
        Its a shame because they will loose voters for life over this issue and we will loose the house next cycle anyway.

  5. Charlie says:

    Senators Disappointed Bill Fails to Ensure True Border Security, Fails to Fix Flawed Ag Worker Provisions

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today made the following statements in response to the Senate passage of S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The bill passed by a vote of 68 to 32 with Isakson and Chambliss both voting No.

    Isakson Statement:

    “I believe that immigration reform is an important issue that our country must address—that’s why I voted to begin debate on this bill several weeks ago. Although this bill is in some ways an improvement from the immigration bill in 2007, I had hoped that the Senate would produce a bipartisan bill that truly solved the many issues plaguing our nation’s outdated immigration system.

    “I have said for many years and from day one of this debate that border security is my top priority, and I am disappointed that S.744 does not ensure true border security. I voted against S.744 today because it contained several waivers and loopholes that could allow those who are here illegally to obtain green cards before our nation’s borders are truly secure.

    “The Senate vote today is just the beginning of the process. I look forward to seeing what the House produces on immigration reform, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.”

    Chambliss Statement:
    “Legal immigration is the foundation of America. Almost every American can point to the moment when their ancestors came to America to forge a better life for themselves and their families. It is with this strong tradition of acceptance that we must look at immigration reform. Any immigration bill must first secure the borders, and then make the path for legal entry smoother. We had a real shot here to do this right. Unfortunately, this bill did not include the verifiable border security piece. Additionally, the agricultural program under this bill had some major flaws.

    “As someone from the heart of ag country in south Georgia, I care deeply about making sure our farmers and ranchers are able to access a stable and legal workforce when sufficient American workers cannot be found. I am disappointed and frustrated my amendments that would have fixed these problems were not considered. Unfortunately, in the end this was a bill I simply could not support.

    “I hope the House can fix some of the problems my colleagues and I have identified in this bill. We still have an opportunity to do this in the right way once and for all.”

    The House has indicated that it will not take up the Senate bill that was passed today. Some House members have expressed that they might introduce new immigration reform legislation that predicates a path to citizenship or legal status on securing our nation’s borders.

  6. sockpuppet says:

    Charlie, it is amnesty. The reason why it is amnesty is because entering this country illegally is a crime. This bill does not remove the illegality associated with entering the country. It simply removes the punishment, which can be jail and is definitely deportation and elimination of any chances that you had of entering legally. It provides amnesty for those 3 penalties – jail, deportation, unconditional barring from legal entry – and instead rewards them for entering the country illegally – a crime – by giving them a path to citizenship that in most cases they would not have had by trying to come here legally. You know the argument that the people most harmed by affirmative actions are the minorities who don’t need it but are stigmatized anyway? Well that is kind of specious. But in this case, the people most harmed by this bill are people attempting to come in through legal channels. No matter how often folks claim “they are going to the back of the line”, for practical and other reasons we can only let in so many people. We also try to have geographic balance from the countries that we let people in. So the result of this is that because of the 11 million already here that need to be legalized and the millions more family members that they are going to bring over, a Mexican citizen who wants to come here legally will have absolutely no chance to. Even if we wanted to accommodate them by increasing the quota of Mexican citizens who legally emigrate, the bureaucracy will be too tied up dealing with the millions already here and their family members that they want to bring here. So anyone who claims that this is about fixing our broken immigration system is being dishonest, because the system is going to become even worse, indeed impossible, for people who actually respect our laws, which should be the people that we want over here in the first place. Meanwhile tens of millions of people who either had no respect for our laws or are willing to profit from those who did will get rewarded.

    Second, this law changes nothing. It only deals with the illegal immigrants already here. It will not stop future illegal immigrants from coming. The talk about border security is nonsense. We all know that as soon as this bill becomes law, the supporters of this bill on the left and on the right are going to start whittling away at the enforcement provisions on any grounds possible. Also, this does not end the debate but shifts it. The New York Times oped page and several other leading opinion makers have gone further to the left, moving from the position that this bill represents to one advocating an open border with Mexico. Once this bill passes, that will become the de facto position of the Democratic Party. So the same people that have been calling you racist and anti-immigrant for the past decade for opposing amnesty will shift to doing so for opposing an open border with Mexico. You will need to support an open border because it is good for business. You will need to in order to curry favor with Hispanics and moderates and expand the base of the GOP and win elections outside the south. And so on and so on.

    Pass this bill and the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico will still remain high because the border will still not be secure, but this law will make law enforcement efforts to identify, detain and deport illegal immigrants impractical (to say the least). Pass this bill and the debate will merely shift to opening the border. Pass this bill and Mexico will have even less incentive to fix their economy and society, the root cause of the problem in the first place, because they will be able to get an even larger stream of remittances from laborers working here. This is the funny thing: Mexico could transform their economy within 5-10 years merely by privatizing their oil industry. Mexico sits on some of the world’s largest proven but unexploited oil reserves that they can’t get to because their state-run oil industry lacks the technology and know how. But because they are determined that the oil profits will go entirely to fund social welfare programs instead of to ExxonMobil or BP (or for that matter a privatized version of their own state oil company that would contract with foreign oil companies in order to get equipment and know how) they are forgoing trillions to their GDP and providing jobs to hundreds of thousands of workers. It is easier for them to use their extensive American political network to lobby for an open border than it is for them to change their failed approach to the oil industry and to economics in general.

    You never hear about stuff like that but it is 100% true. Comparing this to the health care debate is nonsense because the Democrats were never going to stop – and still won’t – until we arrive at a single payer or close to it anyway. Besides, the real problem with the GOP was refusing to stand up to the insurance and drug companies, many of whom will ironically profit from ObamaCare down the line anyway. That failure was due to the GOP’s too cozy relationship with big business, just as the same with the big banks caused the 2008 collapse (although to be fair that was more bipartisan, since Glass Steagall was repealed under Clinton and plenty of Democrats had extensive ties to Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America and some of the other worst offenders). In other words, a whole other issue. But on this immigration issue, the GOP can and should hold their ground until the dynamics change. Again, since the Mexican government is using their extensive ties with American Latino activist groups to push this measure, at the very least the GOP should state that no action will be taken on immigration reform until A) the Mexican government agrees to and implements real economic reforms (their oil industry is just one problem, they have many others) and B) the Mexican government agrees to work with us on prioritizing the Mexican citizens who want to come here through legal channels. The significance of B? Mexico has the position that attempting to stop their citizens from coming here is illegitimate to begin with, so they reject the legal immigrant/illegal immigrant distinction to begin with. They support an open border. That position became the position of the Latino activist community due to their pressure, and it will become the position of the Democratic Party thanks to the pressure of the Latino activist community on the Democrats. That is why you have seen the shift in terminology from illegal immigrant to undocumented … Mexico’s position is that we should just give papers to every one who wants to come here. It is also why you see the ridiculous claim “opponents are trying to criminalize illegal immigration” … it is based on Mexico’s position that coming here without permission is not (or should not) be a crime and not on what our own laws say. So no immigration deal until Mexico agrees to stop undermining our laws.

    My opinion is that improving the Mexican economy and forcing Mexico to abandon the open border position is a huge game changer that would then make dealing with the people already here – rewarding their past and present illegal conduct in most cases I suppose – the best way to deal with a bad situation. Until then, it shouldn’t happen, because otherwise this bill will do nothing but facilitate future illegal immigration from Mexico, which is exactly what Mexico wants.

      • pettifogger says:

        I think I agree with where you are on the party, Charlie, but what is the normal punishment for remaining in America on an expired visa? Ignoring for a moment that the “normal” punishment probably doesn’t exist because we don’t enforce laws, I’m guessing it is a higher price to pay than the fine we’re talking about.

        Nonetheless, I’d do the deal in exchange for border security.

        • mpierce says:

          Unfortunately, this bill is legalization first, security some time later. They don’t have a track record to believe that the latter will ever materialize.

        • mpierce says:

          Expired visas aren’t the only crime. There are felonies such as SS fraud, forgery, identity theft, perjury.

      • seekingtounderstand says:

        you don’t agree with me so I am not going to listen to you………………where have I heard that before…………

    • Scott65 says:

      If there was a list of things NOT to do to win favor with the general public that the republican party could do…I think they are one by one checking them off their list…done.
      Piss off Hispanics…done
      Piss off the youth vote (DOMA) …done
      Restrict voting rights…done
      Attack reproductive rights…done

      These are all things republicans should have avoided if they want to win nationally. That doesn’t mean you do/dont support any or all of them…just dont prioritize them above….lets say, economic policy other than cutting SNAP while letting bankers run wild. Tea is not the drink by which elections are won nationally…and to some degree statewide either.

  7. Scott65 says:

    The bill passed by the Senate will have 40,000 troops on the border making it the FIFTH most militarized zone in the WORLD! What do GA’s senators want??? To blow a dog whistle to the ignorant…thats what

    • mpierce says:

      I would gladly trade the promise of 20,000 extra border agents for the reality of a real border fence.

      • Scott65 says:

        A fence would be cheaper…then again, you could say this is a back door stimulus bill for border states…creates jobs, well at least 20,000 and the people who have businesses that serve the needs of all those extra workers…very Keynesian dont you think?

        • seekingtounderstand says:

          Youth will never forget that during the recession depths, businesses in GA hired adult illegal workers over them for the same low wages. They were unable to save for college and learn job skills. It matters to them to find work. Thank goodness times are better now.

  8. Three Jack says:

    What we have now is AMNESTY and anybody who uses that word to rile up an ignorant base of people should be ignored as Charlie suggests.

    You secure the border by passing a realistic work program that encourages both employers and employees to abide by a realistic law. We don’t need a damn multi-billion dollar fence, 20,000 more law enforcement officials and a bunch of new laws. What we need is to recognize that there is a need for labor and an ample supply of needed labor available south of the border…only thing left to do is modernize the visa system to fulfill both needs…border security resolved.

    • mpierce says:

      What we need is to recognize that there is a need for labor

      We have work visas which already recognize that. Although I certainly agree in revamping the system. They should be required to carry health insurance and cover educational expenses. And we need an entry/exit system.

      The debatable status quo amnesty is preferable to the Senate solution:
      $500 one time fee
      $2250 yearly tax credit (Average EITC received 2012)
      temporary legal status
      permanent legal status after 10years (regardless of security triggers)
      ability to bring over relatives
      Social Security benefits
      Forgiveness of some felonies (i.e. SS fraud, forgery, identity theft, and perjury)

      FYI – legalization of criminals (other felonies)

      S. 744

      “REFUSAL TO ISSUE; REVOCATION.—In accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary, the Secretary shall refuse to issue or renew, or shall revoke and debar from eligibility to obtain a certificate of registration for a period of not greater than 5 years, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, a certificate of registration under this section if—”

      “(3) the applicant for, or holder of, the certification has been convicted within the preceding 5
      years of—
      (A) any felony under State or Federal law or crime involving robbery, bribery, extortion,
      embezzlement, grand larceny, burglary, arson, violation of narcotics laws, murder, rape, assault with intent to kill, assault which inflicts grievous bodily injury, prostitution, peonage, or smuggling or harboring individuals who have entered the United States illegally”

      Shouldn’t that be “at least” instead of “not greater than”?

      • Three Jack says:

        Why should those seeking an honest day’s living in America be required to “carry health insurance and cover educational expenses” when we have millions of freeloaders relying on taxpayers to fund their lazy lives?

          • Three Jack says:

            No, but it is ironic how people overlook the fact that we have many millions of ‘citizens’ expecting/receiving handouts yet you want to go after the relatively small number of hispanic immigrants seeking work here. If we are going to force working immigrants to pay for healthcare, then why not non-working ‘citizen’ freeloaders?

            • mpierce says:

              1) This is a discussion about the immigration bill passed by the Senate and not about the welfare state provided to current citizens.
              2) I hardly consider not wanting to expand that welfare state to non-citizens as going after them.
              3) I have yet to see you extoll the merits of the bill and the subsequent expansion of those handouts.
              4) Do you think not being able to bar murderers from legal status for more than 5yrs is good for the country?

              • Three Jack says:

                I’m just addressing your idea that any new law require immigrants pay for healthcare and education. How can anybody want to impose government mandates on individuals seeking work while ignoring the millions who just take, take, take with no regard for those they take from? If we’re going to impose these mandates as part of immigration reform, then they better also apply to the freeloaders who refuse to work thus creating the need for immigrant labor.

                I don’t necesarily agree with the senate bill because it is too big, complicated and thus less likely to actually accomplish anything other than creating more bureaucracy. That’s why I posted a simpler idea which started our discussion. So you won’t find me extolling the merits of that legislation.

    • seekingtounderstand says:

      We don’t need a fence because we have NSA. Use it for immigration enforcement.
      Oh, wait that’s not the real goal…………..

  9. xdog says:

    Some people wouldn’t feel secure if the border was line with moats of radioactive waste and was patrolled 24-7 by drones, bio-enhanced dogs, and the 1st Marine Division.

  10. Harry says:

    In the real world the government isn’t going to control legal and illegal migrants coming to the US to work. Keep it simple – require them to get a taxpayer ID number, put a photo on it, and let that be the work permit. After a few years of keeping a clean record, give them citizenship. Of course the government will try to make things more complicated and thus make a mess of it.

    I don’t care whether migrants broke the law to be here. These are desperate people. When one is facing no future you will do anything to improve the situation. Americans should empathize with the plight of Latinos, Eastern Europeans, and Africans. We have a lot in common.

    One thing to understand. An open border policy, whether de facto or legal, cannot coexist with a handout welfare state. You can’t bring people here just to put them on the dole; that will destroy the country and make us worse than third world. We have to curtail that and encourage our people to be self-reliant.

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