Immigration supporters applaud a bill approved late Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, though Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley voted against it after some nine hours of hearings. The bill would give millions of illegal immigrants a chance to become citizens. The full Senate is preparing to debate the measure over the next several days and Grassley says the debate will be, in his words, “hot and heavy.”
Grassley says “People that want to enforce the immigration laws are going to be painted as inhumane and uncaring and not even realistic about the economy. People like me that have emphasis upon enforcement are going to point out how legalizing illegal immigration isn’t going to solve the problem.”
While several of Grassley’s amendments to the legislation were approved and included, he says he opposed the overall bill because of the “amnesty” clause which would allow illegals who are in the U.S. for a number of years to become legal. Grassley says “I don’t have an answer to 11-million illegal Americans being in the United States. It would take an army to round ’em all up and move ’em out and then small and large business that rely on them would be hurt as well.”
The bill would create a “guest worker” program, allowing some 400-thousand foreigners into the U.S. each year for up to six years, then would send them home. Grassley says he supports most of that concept. Grassley says he’d like to make it more difficult to enter the U.S. illegally, so that’s more manned and unmanned border patrol and surveillance, then creating the “guest worker” program so U.S. employers that need workers could hire Mexicans who could then cross the border legally. He says that would eventually encourage people who are here illegally to go back to their country of origin and return, legally.
The legislation would also see temporary visas issued to one-and-a-half million undocumented immigrants a year for farm work.