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,

Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws. what do we need to do? To begin with. Millions of undocumented immigrants live and work here without our knowing their identity or their background. Illegal immigration is bad for illegal immigrants and bad for the workers against whom they compete. and deport illegal immigrants. new facilities. and unchecked. But I fully appreciate that we cannot create a new guestworker program without making it as close to impossible as we can for . it doesn't end there. We need to strike a workable bargain with them. and more people to stop. the agencies charged with border security would receive new technology. process. 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. Now. They have to acknowledge that breaking our immigration laws was wrong. They must pay a penalty and abide by all of our laws going forward. we must also replace the flow of undocumented immigrants coming to work here with a new flow of guestworkers.undocumented. But while security might start at our borders. But in exchange for accepting those penalties. 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. and improve working conditions for all Americans. raise wages.

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

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

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