Senators Focus on Economic Urgency in Immigration Reform

Andy Halataei photo

This afternoon, ITI’s Dean Garfield participated in a news conference on immigration reform with the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of 8,” who, on Tuesday, introduced a significant comprehensive immigration reform proposal.

The Senators – four Republican, for Democratic – today discussed their proposal and pledged to consider every constructive idea as the legislation moves forward.  Almost every Senator talked about the priority that they placed on strengthening the U.S. economy by modernizing the high-skilled immigration laws. 

Here are highlights from the Senators’ remarks:

  •  Senator John McCain, R-Ariz.:  “We’ve addressed the labor needs of a growing and globally competitive economy with a workable guest worker policy and sensible expansion of H1B visa program . . . We expect and welcome suggested improvements to the bill by our colleagues during the debate and amendment process.  We’ll oppose only those amendments that are intended to prevent a comprehensive solution from passing, and thereby perpetuate our current failed immigration system.” 
  •  Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:  “Immigration reform is vital to securing our borders and jumpstarting our economy . . . The current status quo on immigration makes no sense.  We turn away people from entering the country who could create thousands of jobs.”
  •  Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla.:  “This is about attracting the world's best and brightest talent and keeping them here.” 
  •  Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J.:  “This is about enhancing the national economy . . . If you are working for a high-tech company, chances are good it was founded by an immigrant.”
  •  Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:  The immigration proposal “provides a solution worthy of this nation.”
  •  Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill.:  The bipartisan proposal is a “good faith, commonsense approach to fixing badly broken immigration system.”
  •  Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo.:  ““When this bill is passed, it will be a reaffirmation of two essential American ideals -- the idea that we are committed as a country to the rule of law and the idea that we are a nation of immigrants.  I would argue that it’s those two ideas working together that has enabled every generation of Americans to invent the future.  Now it’s our time in the 21st century to decide whether we are still up to that task. Recommitting ourselves to these two notions is going to be a central part of moving the country and this bill forward.”
  •  Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.:  “This bill represents a measure that can actually pass Congress and is huge improvement over the status quo.”
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