Senators Attempt to Tie Legalization to Border Security

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During the Senate's first full day of debate of the immigration reform bill, several Senators attempted to tie border security increases to the start of the legalization program. Advocates worry that such amendments could make legalization virtually unattainable.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proposed the RESULTS amendment, which ties the fate of unauthorized immigrants to the success of stringent border-enforcement measures. Immigration reform advocates say the amendment mistakenly views immigration reform as a two-step process: enforcement, followed by legalization. The RESULTS amendment also contains no mechanism for judging the feasibility or cost-effectiveness of the border-security measures and metrics that it would mandate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called the RESULTS amendment a “poison pill.” But some senators have said they will only support the bill if the RESULTS amendment is accepted.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, proposed another amendment, No. 1195, that would delay the processing of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. into Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status until the Secretary of Homeland Security has maintained “effective control of the Southern border for at least 6 months.” This changes the bill’s original intention of beginning the RPI registration process immediately.

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