The Tennessean Staff
Tennessee lawmakers react to S. 744, theBorder Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act:
Sen. Bob Corker: "This is the toughest border security measure to ever pass the Senate, and from economic, national security, deficit-reduction and moral standpoints, it's the right thing to do. ... Passage of this bill gets us one step closer to securing our border in a dramatic way and to solving the immigration problem that we have struggled with for decades."
Sen. Lamar Alexander: "It is the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the president to fix our broken immigration system. Senator Corker's amendment dramatically strengthens border security. The bill ends de facto amnesty and creates a system of legal immigration. Now it goes to the House of Representatives to improve the legislation and finish the job."
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville: "This is the most promising development on comprehensive immigration reform we've seen in decades. Passage in the House will be more difficult, but I hope we're allowed to take a vote soon."
Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin: "The Senate's amnesty bill is the wrong approach to addressing our illegal immigration crisis. I am confident my conservative colleagues and I can stop this bill from being brought to the House floor for a vote, but if this bill is voted on, I will vote no. The first step to addressing the problem of illegal immigration is securing our borders. ... There is no place for amnesty in immigration reform."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood: "The Senate amnesty bill is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. One of the great lessons we learned from Obamacare is that passing comprehensive reform packages creates more problems than they solve. The Senate bill is the wrong approach for America. I think Tennesseans want us to take up smaller bills that go through regular order and are focused on specific problems within our current immigration system. That's what we are currently doing in the House. I do not believe in amnesty, and if we are going to make any changes to our system we must start by securing our borders. Any other reform effort is meaningless if we don't start with strengthening our border security."
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburg: "The Senate immigration proposal is the Obamacare of immigration: a broad, comprehensive bill fraught with unintended consequences and unexpected results. I will fight to make sure this bill never reaches the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Providing a pathway to citizenship before securing the border is putting the cart before the horse. Before overhauling our nation's immigration system, we should first ensure we are enforcing the laws that are already on the books. The United States has always had a generous legal immigration policy, but we simply cannot grant amnesty to those who choose to break the law."