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March 05, 2008


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), David Vitter (R- Louisiana), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) announced the formation of the Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus.

The U.S. illegal immigrant population is the highest it has ever been. One in 25 residents currently living in the United States is here illegally. Over the last seven years, immigration has been the highest in history – 10.9 million immigrants arrived, over half of them (five million plus) without legal status.

The Caucus members recognize that Congress has presented the American people with a false choice in solving the illegal immigration problem – give illegal aliens amnesty or round them up and deport them en masse.   The principle mission of the Caucus is to promote a true, achievable alternative: attrition through enforcement and border security.  Living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when the government – at ALL LEVELS – enforces all of the laws already on the books.

The Caucus will be a platform to let Americans know that some in the U.S. Senate are continuing to make sure that the laws already on the books will be enforced, act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for interior enforcement and border security, push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation, and work together in the U.S. Senate to defeat future legislation that offers amnesty.
Inhofe: “I am proud to join together with my fellow Republican Senators as part of the Border Security Caucus to work toward real and achievable immigration reform. Americans across the political spectrum weighed in on this issue during last summer’s immigration debate, sending a clear message that the American public demands immigration reform without a path to amnesty. What they want and deserve is for the federal government to take existing laws seriously and secure the borders.”

Vitter:  “Last year, the American people spoke loud and clear that amnesty is an unacceptable means of addressing the ever-growing illegal immigration problem in this country. Members of this caucus were listening, and we plan to make it our objective to push for interior enforcement measures that will address the illegal immigration problem without granting a free pass to millions of illegal aliens.  As Chairman of the caucus I plan to look for any legislative vehicle available to pressure government on all levels to enforce the immigration laws currently on the books, as well as strengthen enforcement measures,” said Vitter.

DeMint:  “It’s time for Congress to keep its promise to the American people to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration. Amnesty is unacceptable, but there are some commonsense solutions that will help us create a rational legal immigration system that works. I’m proud to join with my colleagues on the Border Caucus to fight for a secure border, enforcement of our immigration laws, and steps to encourage legal immigration.’

Sessions: “The American people have a fundamental understanding that our immigration system should be effective and lawful, and they recognize that past reform efforts have fallen short. The public’s frustration with Congressional inaction regarding illegal immigration is one reason we now see historically low approval ratings.  I am convinced that our system can be fixed, and this caucus is an opportunity to keep the Senate focused on taking the steps necessary to secure our borders and restore law and order to America’s immigration system.”

Dole:  “The number one lesson learned from the Senate’s failed immigration bill is that Americans simply don’t have confidence that their government is serious about securing our borders and enforcing our laws.  Real action and results on this front are long overdue, and I am proud to work with my colleagues who are committed to responsibly and effectively tackling the problems of our broken immigration system,” said Dole.

Chambliss:  “Illegal immigration has taken a tremendous toll on our local communities, schools, hospitals, and our law enforcement community,” said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.  “We must secure the borders of this country, because that is where the problem of illegal immigration begins and where it must be stopped.  This is one of the most critical challenges facing our nation, and the formation of this caucus will ensure that supporters of border security have a strong voice in the halls of Congress.”

Isakson: “There’s no greater domestic issue in this country than the problems on our southern border with Mexico, and it is time that Congress makes a commitment to make border security a reality. The members of this caucus understand that there is no way you can reform legal immigration unless you first secure the porous borders and stop the flow of illegal immigrants. It is time we stop making promises. It is time we start delivering solutions. America is too important, and this issue is too critical to the American people.”

Burr: “The United States must strengthen security at its borders so that those who are considering entering our nation illegally are deterred, and those who attempt to enter our nation illegally are caught.  As a nation, we have welcomed generations of legal immigrants over the course of our history - immigrants who respect the law and contribute a great deal to our country and we should only permit those into our country who respect our laws, our system of government, and our way of life.”

Wicker: “Immigration reform needs to begin with strong enforcement of our laws and increased border security,” Senator Wicker said.  “We are a nation built upon the rule of law.  Mississippians understand that, and they expect this Congress to enforce those laws to the fullest.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in this border security caucus to advance policies that will help achieve that goal.”

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