Sen. Isakson: 'Incorrect' to Accuse GOP of Blocking Immigration Reform
August 6, 2010 - 2:30 PMRepublican Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) told CNSNews.com that it is "incorrect" to accuse the GOP of blocking comprehensive immigration reform.
On Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com asked Isakson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if he agreed or disagreed with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) who said the GOP is doing “everything to impede” comprehensive immigration reform.
“Senator Menendez, respectfully, is incorrect,” said Isakson, who also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs.
On Thursday, Senate Republicans joined forces with their Democrat colleagues, who hold the majority, in passing legislation that provides $600 million to boost border security. The bill includes $254 million for 1,500 new border personnel; $32 million for a pair of unmanned drones; and $14 million for new communications equipment.
The Democrat-sponsored border security proposal, which passed by?unanimous consent, will also provide $196 million for Justice?Department programs; $6 million for operating bases; $80 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); $8.1 million for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and $10 million for federal judiciary resources.??
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security, who sponsored the bill, told reporters before the vote that the measure will not add to the deficit – something that garnered Republican?support.??
"It will provide immediate relief to the border without increasing the?deficit by a single nickel," said Schumer. "It will make the border more secure and level the playing field for?American companies and American workers to compete against these foreign companies" that abuse visas. The bill provides a 10 percent increase in current fiscal year spending.
In a statement, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the measure is a “significant step.”?
“The passage of the border security legislation today, co-sponsored by?myself and Senator [Jon] Kyl [R-Ariz.], is a significant step towards full implementation of the McCain-Kyl 10-Point Border Security Action? Plan,” stated McCain. “Although, there is a great deal more to be?done, I believe today Democrats finally put good policy over politics?and agreed we must secure our border first.”??
Following the vote, Sen. Schumer said the boost in border security?funding is evidence that “we are serious about making the border more?secure than ever” and paves the way for immigration reform.? “Now our attention must turn to comprehensive reform, which is the?only way to fully address the problem of illegal immigration," he? said.
The Department of Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, hailed the Senate for ?approving the border security bill, saying?it would?“add important, permanent resources to continue bolstering security on our Southwest border.”
“These assets are critical to bringing additional capabilities to?crack down on transnational criminal organizations and reduce the?illicit trafficking of people, drugs, currency and weapons,” said Napolitano..??
“Over the past 18 months, this administration has dedicated?unprecedented personnel, technology and resources to the border and?we will continue to take decisive action to disrupt criminal?organizations and the networks they exploit,” she said. “I encourage?the House to act quickly on this bill to strengthen our historic?border security efforts."?
Last week, the House approved a similar border security measure with a $700-million price tag. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called?members of her chamber to come back next week from their August recess. The House may vote on the Senate border security measure when they return.