Thoughts from Nevada’s congressional delegation
Sen. Harry Reid, Democrat:
“Immigration is a national security issue. We must do a better job of enforcing our immigration laws and securing our borders. We need to protect America with comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system.
“Enforcement alone will not work, and neither will draconian punishments or mass deportations. We need reasonable and realistic reforms, including effective enforcement to secure our borders, cracking down on employers who hire illegally and providing incentives for the 11 million undocumented immigrants to step out of the shadows so we know who they are.
“There should be no amnesty for undocumented workers – no free pass, and no jumping to the front of the line. Undocumented workers should only be able to apply for permanent residence only after working for several years, paying a stiff penalty, undergoing a rigorous background and security check, learning English and American civics, and paying taxes.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a comprehensive immigration reform bill that I support. It includes tougher enforcement, a guest-worker program and a path to earned citizenship. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 12 to 5. Now I hope the bill passes the full Senate.”
Sen. John Ensign, Republican:
“America is a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. We can’t have a solid legal immigration system without first controlling our borders. We must recognize the importance of our citizens’ security and the strength of legal immigration by building safe and secure borders. I am fighting for an additional 10,000 border patrol agents stationed at our borders because immigration in the post-9/11 world is a national security issue.
“As recent demonstrations show, there are very strong emotions on all sides of this debate. I will proceed with a commitment first and foremost to making America’s borders secure.”
Rep. Shelley Berkley, Democrat:
“Comprehensive immigration reform means strengthening our borders, and it means creating an earned path to legal residency and/or citizenship for undocumented workers on a case-by-case basis.
“I support stronger enforcement of our immigration laws at the border and at the workplace, but without addressing the issue of the residency status of 12 million men, women and children, Congress is only tackling half of the immigration issue. That is why I am a cosponsor of the McCain-Kennedy-Guitierrez legislation, which addresses both enforcement and the question of legal status of workers, most of whom are law abiding, productive and have been in the U.S. for years.
“As the granddaughter of immigrants who came to America seeking a better life, I know there are effective, fair, and sensible solutions to stopping illegal immigration, and there are effective, fair and sensible solutions to creating the legal framework to deal with the status of undocumented persons.”
Rep. Jim Gibbons, Republican:
“Our nation was founded by immigrants, whose heritage continues to be a critical part of American history. Today, as we continue to welcome new citizens through our established immigration process, it is critical that we improve the enforcement of our border security laws to ensure the security of this country.
“The federal government’s primary responsibility is to protect the people of this country. We must ensure that our borders are no longer a means for people, especially terrorists, to enter our country illegally. Inaction poses a great threat to our national security and does a grave disservice to the American people.”
Rep. Jon Porter, Republican:
Did not respond to requests for a statement on the subject.