"When the Senate began to work in earnest on immigration reform earlier this year, I enumerated a number of principles that I believed should inform that process, including improved border security, requiring employers to verify work authorization, uniting families, and offering a practical, accountable solution to bring undocumented families out of the shadows.
"This immigration reform bill, while imperfect, seeks to address these core challenges. As such, I voted for it. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is a necessary and long-overdue change to the status quo. This bill reflects a compromise between many parties in order to find common ground and a long-term solution to fix our nation s broken immigration system.
"Over the years, I have always supported common sense measures to secure our border. We have made much progress in improving the border in recent years. The number of border agents has doubled since the Congress last considered comprehensive immigration reform, there have been a record number of deportations occurring annually and there has been an 80 percent decline in illegal border crossings. This legislation goes further in providing more than $46 billion to further secure the border, build fencing, and hire more than 20,000 new border agents. The border buildup verges on excess, but if it allays the concerns of those who argue that the border security was insufficient, then it is a necessary compromise.
"In addition to fortifying the border, the legislation places numerous and rigorous checks in order for immigrants to gain legal status. They will be required to work, learn English, and maintain a certain income level, pass rigorous background checks, pay fees, fines and penalties.
"The Senate passed immigration bill will also drive economic growth, create jobs, and increase revenue for Social Security and Medicare. The independent Congressional Budget office concluded that the bill will also reduce the deficit by nearly $1 billion over the next two decades.
"I would like to commend the many parties that worked so hard to craft this compromise, including my colleagues in the Senate, the AFL-CIO, business groups like the Chamber of Commerce, and others.
"Now that the Senate has passed this bill with strong bipartisan support, I am hopeful that the House will take up this measure or pass a similar one. Families, businesses, and communities across the United States have waited long enough for a solution to our broken immigration."