It’s Time for Democrats to Stop Stalling DACA, Border Security Debate
‘The president has made clear what principles must be addressed if we are going to make a law instead of merely making political points. While our Democratic colleagues can no longer prevent the Senate from starting the debate, they can continue to delay votes on amendments. I hope they won’t.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the immigration and border security debate:
‘It is now Wednesday morning of the week the Senate set aside to debate DACA, border security, interior enforcement, and other immigration issues. I promised I would clear the way to debate these matters this week – and I have. I promised I would ensure a fair amendment process in which both sides could offer legislation for discussion and votes – and I have. Just yesterday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus released a letter that thanked me for keeping my commitment and urged the Senate to resolve this issue quickly.
“But we haven’t even been able to get started yet. Yesterday, I tried twice to open the debate and start the voting. Both times, my Democratic colleagues objected. I’m a little perplexed by this hold-up.
“My Democratic colleagues have spent months demanding the Senate take up this issue. They even shut down the government -- unnecessarily, I might add -- in order to secure this very week of debate. But now that the time has come to make law instead of just making points, they’re stalling.
“Why? Why, after months and months spent demanding that the Senate take up this issue, do they now object to even starting the debate? Because they know, no matter how long they spend in closed-door negotiations, they can’t change the fact that the president has spelled out a fair and generous framework that will be necessary to earn his signature. They cannot take ‘yes’ for an answer. So, instead of moving to fulfill their promises and address the DACA issue, they haven’t even allowed the debate to begin.
“There is a widespread desire in this chamber to find a resolution for the illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children. But common sense dictates that we cannot simply treat one symptom of our broken immigration policy in isolation. We must address the underlying problems as well.
“That means fixing broken parts of our legal immigration system. We must also ensure the safety of the American people. That’s why a DACA resolution should be paired with new security measures at our borders and commonsense steps to improve security inside our borders.
“Steps like fixing the loophole that forces us to release thousands of criminal aliens whose own home countries will not accept them back. Steps like enacting ‘Kate’s Law’ to put criminal offenders who repeatedly and illegally cross our borders behind bars. Cracking down with stiffer penalties for human trafficking. And updating the removability grounds for drug traffickers, repeat drunk drivers, gang members, sex offenders, and other violent and dangerous criminals.
“These ideas should not be controversial. Keeping Americans safe does not need to be a partisan issue. And addressing these important safety issues along with DACA, border security, and other parts of our broken immigration system is our best chance to produce legislation that can pass the House, pass the Senate, and earn the president’s signature.
“This is why the proposal put forward by Senator Grassley and others, which draws on the president’s generous framework and which the president has officially endorsed, has my support. Because presumably, we want to actually make a law here. But I’ve made no effort to tell Democrats what amendments they should offer. Of course, they shouldn’t try to dictate Republican amendments, either. The longer my colleagues across the aisle refuse to come to the table -- the longer they’re unable to produce any legislation they actually support -- the lower the odds that we can arrive at a legislative solution this week.
“Yesterday alone, the floor of the Senate was open for nine hours. Nine hours that we could have spent proposing amendments and proceeding to votes. Nine hours down the drain because Democrats won’t let us start the debate they’ve spent months demanding. Now that we can finally proceed to consider the underlying bill this morning, I hope my colleagues across the aisle will come to the table.
“The president has made clear what principles must be addressed if we are going to make a law instead of merely making political points. While our Democratic colleagues can no longer prevent the Senate from starting the debate, they can continue to delay votes on amendments. I hope they won’t.”
Related Issues: Homeland Security, Immigration