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I speak today to enter the debate on comprehensive immigration

reform. It is a debate that will touch on the basic questions of
morality, the law, and what it means to be an American.
I know that this debate evokes strong passions on all sides. The
recent peaceful but passionate protests that we saw all across the
country--500,000 in Los Angeles and 100,000 in Chicago--are a
testament to this fact, as are the concerns of millions of
Americans about the security of our borders.
But I believe we can work together to pass immigration reform
in a way that unites the people in this country, not in a way that
divides us by playing on our worst instincts and fears.
Texas, our own state, has vibrant immigrant communities
ranging from Mexican to Polish to Irish enrich our cities and
neighborhoods. So, I understand the allure of freedom and
opportunity that fuels the dream of a life in the United States.
But I also understand the need to fix a broken system.
When Congress last addressed this issue comprehensively in
1986, there were approximately 4 million illegal immigrants
living in the United States. That number had grown substantially
when Congress again addressed the issue in 1996. Today, it is
estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented
aliens living in our country.
The American people are a welcoming and generous people. But
those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ
them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age
where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot
allow people to pour into the United States undetected,

it doesn't end there. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws. They have to acknowledge that breaking our immigration laws was wrong.undocumented. But in exchange for accepting those penalties. what do we need to do? To begin with. the agencies charged with border security would receive new technology. But I fully appreciate that we cannot create a new guestworker program without making it as close to impossible as we can for . We need to strike a workable bargain with them. raise wages. Now. we must allow undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and step on a path toward full participation in our society To keep from having to go through this difficult process again in the future. Illegal immigration is bad for illegal immigrants and bad for the workers against whom they compete. But while security might start at our borders. we must also replace the flow of undocumented immigrants coming to work here with a new flow of guestworkers. They must pay a penalty and abide by all of our laws going forward. and improve working conditions for all Americans. new facilities. and unchecked. and more people to stop. and deport illegal immigrants. process. Millions of undocumented immigrants live and work here without our knowing their identity or their background. Replacing the flood of illegals with a regulated stream of legal immigrants who enter the United States after background checks and who are provided labor rights would enhance our security.

or that the guestworkers provide particular skills we can't find in this country. for practical and political reasons. it must be properly calibrated to make certain that these are jobs that cannot be filled by Americans. If this guestworker program is to succeed.illegal workers to find employment. I know that dealing with the undocumented population is difficult. Some actually call and place orders for undocumented workers because they don't want to pay minimum wages to American workers in surrounding communities. That is why we need a simple. I am not willing to take it on faith that there are jobs that Americans will not take. foolproof. We do not need new guestworkers plus future undocumented immigrants. Toward that end. But we simply cannot claim to have dealt with the problems of illegal immigration if we ignore the illegal resident population or pretend they will leave voluntarily. unscrupulous employers look the other way when employees provide fraudulent U. and mandatory mechanism for all employers to check the legal status of new hires. only to receive unconscionably low wages. the job must be made available to Americans at a decent wage with benefits. citizenship documents.S. In the interest of cheap labor. And before any guestworker is hired. These acts hurt both American workers and immigrants whose sole aim is to work hard and get ahead. We need guestworkers instead of undocumented immigrants. Too often illegal immigrants are lured here with a promise of a job. American employers need to take responsibility. Employers then need to show that there are no Americans to take these jobs. There has to be a showing. Some of the proposed ideas .

if enacted. and arrest priests who are providing meals to hungry immigrants. a bill that would. I don't know many police officers across the country who would go along with the bill that came out of the House. that is demagoguery. charge undocumented immigrants with felonies. If temporary legal status is granted but the policy says these immigrants are never good enough to become Americans. then the policy that makes little sense. we deal with it in a practical. I don't know how we would line up all the buses and trains and airplanes and send 11 million people back to their countries of Congress provide a temporary legal status and call for deportation but fail to answer how the government would deport 11 million people. or people who are running shelters for women who have been subject to domestic abuse. commonsense way. That approach is not serious. I cannot imagine that we would be serious about making illegal immigrants into felons and going after those who would aid such persons. It is important that if we are going to deal with this problem.” . to abandon language and relatives. and without knowledge of life in a very young civilization. those who landed at Ellis Island “were the men and women who had the supreme courage to strike out for themselves. to start at the bottom without influence. That is symbolism. I don't know why it is that we expect they would voluntarily leave after having taken the risk of coming to this country without proper documentation. I don't know how it would be done. without money. As FDR reminded the Nation at the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.

. We do ourselves and them a disservice if we do not recognize the contributions of these individuals. And we fail to protect our Nation if we do not regain control over our immigration system immediately. Not every one of our grandparents or great- grandparents would have necessarily qualified for legal immigration. Americans understand that. But they came here in search of a dream. as long as we get serious about making sure that our borders actually mean something. in search of hope. Today's immigrants seek to follow in the same tradition of immigration that has built this country.It behooves us to remember that not every single immigrant who came into the United States through Ellis Island had proper documentation. and they are willing to give an opportunity to those who are already here.