Republican Senator Charles Grassley says he’s against "unrestricted" amnesty for immigrants who are living in the country illegally. "I voted for amnesty 20 years ago because we had three million illegal aliens in the country and I thought to myself: ‘We take care of them once and for all, that’ll take care of our problem,’" Grassley says. "I found out rewarding illegality, you get more of it. Now we have a 12 million-person problem."
Grassley rejects the concept of "earned citizenship" that some are touting. "Even the president of the United States uses that term. Supposedly you’re supposed to pay a fine, do other things (in) contrition to become a citizen of the United States. It’s still amnesty. I can’t buy it and if everything else in the bill is good, I’ll still probably vote against the bill," Grassley says.
Key senators have been meeting privately all week trying to come up with a compromise on immigration reform. Grassley says if he were able to write the immigration reform bill himself, he’d tie the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country to the U.S. unemployment rate.
"So when unemployment’s high you wouldn’t use it, but when unemployment’s low you would use it. I would have a temporary worker program so people could come to the country legally to work and I believe you’d soon replace illegal workers with legal workers," Grassley says. "I would also make it easier to get visas…for the professional people who want to come here to work." Grassley, though, isn’t holding out much hope that a compromise will be reached on the issue.