This is my letter to Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss in reply to his response to my correspondence to him urging him to vote for S. 744, the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. The Senator’s response encapsulates some of the Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric about “securing our borders” which is a simply a knee-jerk solution often chanted like a mantra in conjunction with “rule of law” by vocal minority groups within the party that have, nativist if not xenophobic leanings.
Thank you for your belated response to my correspondence which urged you to vote for S. 744 (the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill). If we enact sensible Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which includes an intelligent guest-worker program, there will be little to no illegal immigration problem at the U.S./Mexico border, because the foreign people who want to work here will be able to get work permits and will not need to come here illegally and/or bring their families here due to the difficulty crossing the border. Like the “War on Drugs” which has done nothing to stop the flow of drugs into this country, the untenable fences and proposed militarization of the U.S./Mexico border is a huge waste of money which does nothing to solve the problem.
Your response encapsulates boiler-plate rhetoric used by a small but vocal minority in the Republican Party. Times change Senator, the U.S. economy has changed, our population has aged and baby-boomers are retiring and without immigration reform and new immigrants in the U.S., there will not be enough workers in the U.S. to support social security, Medicare and the U.S. welfare system. You must well know the damage to the Georgia Agricultural Industry and the Georgia economy our state “immigration law” has caused. Therefore, your excuse for not voting for S. 744 and your vote against Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) does not make sense.
I have voted for you in past elections, however in your siding with what is clearly a small minority in your party (who apparently are determined to doom and marginalize the Republican Party with their anti-immigrant rhetoric) and in the country as a whole is and will clearly be on the wrong side of history. I trust you will reconsider your position on this vitally important issue to our nation; otherwise I will not be able to vote for you in future elections should you continue to run for office.
H. Glenn Fogle, Jr.
Principal Member & Founder
The Fogle Law Firm, LLC
Here is Senator Chambliss’s correspondence to which I responded:
Senator Saxby Chambliss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jul 25 (3 days ago)
Dear Mr. Fogle:
Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding our nation’s immigration policies. Your taking time to contact me is appreciated.
For too long Congress and the federal government have failed in their Constitutional responsibility to uphold and enforce our federal immigration laws. When Congress overhauled our nation’s immigration laws in 1986, the American public was promised that the issue would be resolved once and for all, and that we would have a legal immigration system that served our national needs and prevented illegal immigration in the future. As we all now know, that was not what happened.
Because of a failure to secure our borders, and a failure to enforce many of the laws currently on the books, our immigration situation continues to deteriorate.
I voted against S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” because I believe it repeats the problems of the 1986 immigration bill and fails to provide adequate border security. I support immigration reform, but we must do it in the right way and S. 744 did not address the issue in the right way.
It is undeniable that we currently have a broken system that does not serve the best interests of our country, particularly from an economic perspective. I believe that Congress has a responsibility to secure our borders, to ramp up interior enforcement with the use of tools such as E-Verify, to ensure that our nation’s businesses have a reliable and plentiful workforce without displacing U.S. workers, and to put in place an efficient and market-based legal immigration system that allows the best and brightest of the world to come to the U.S. to grow companies and jobs here instead of abroad. We also need practical family unification immigration policies that emphasize upholding the law.
During the amendment process to S. 744, I cosponsored and voted for Senator Cornyn’s amendment #1251, entitled “Border Security – RESULTS.” The amendment would have required that four truly meaningful and accountable border security goals first be met within five years of enactment before anyone could adjust their status to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Unfortunately, this amendment was tabled by a 54-43 vote, effectively defeating the proposal. I was disappointed a majority of my colleagues disagreed with ensuring the necessary border security measures were accomplished before the bill’s other major components took effect.
One portion of S. 744 that I spent a significant amount of time trying to improve was the section dealing with agricultural immigrant labor. This piece was not discussed extensively on the Senate floor by anyone other than me, even though it is vitally important to all Americans. The continued safety of the agricultural goods produced in the United States is an issue not just of convenience but of national security. Due to the importance of food safety, it is critical to know who is handling our nation’s food supply and who is working on our farms and ranches. Additionally, if our farmers and ranchers cannot access a stable and legal workforce, they will be forced to downsize or eliminate their U.S. operations, and that is happening today. This leads to more of the food we eat being imported from other countries. It is imperative that we do everything we can from a policy standpoint to keep that food and fiber production right here in the United States.
While this section of the bill incorporated several reforms that I have advocated for in the past, it remained highly flawed in areas that dealt with liability, wage rates, and fraud protection. I offered over a dozen common-sense amendments to this section of the bill. Unfortunately, after significant discussion and negotiation, none of these amendments were adopted. The supporters of the bill chose to protect the sanctity of a deal over sound policy.
On June 11, 2013, S. 744 passed the Senate by a 68-32 vote margin. Because I believe that immigration reform should first secure the borders, and then make the path for legal entry both smoother and smarter, I could not support the bill. I believe that Congress had a real opportunity to address a major problem facing our country, but this bill does not accomplish that. I sincerely hope the House of Representatives can fix some of the problems my colleagues and I have identified in this bill. We still have an opportunity to do this in the right way once and for all.
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