WASHINGTON – Wednesday, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk posted the following on his website as an explanation as to why he was one of 15 Republican senators that voted against the Senate Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration initiative now being debating on the Senate floor:
“I support a two-step immigration reform that first secures our southern border and then creates a tough but fair path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the United States. I have always believed that is the recipe for bipartisan consensus on this issue. Once we restore the public’s trust in our government’s ability to control the border, we can move forward with other reforms.
“That is why I was disappointed to hear the Majority Leader dismiss a constructive border security amendment set to be introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) as a “poison pill” before the text of the amendment had even been released. If requiring real border security with verifiable metrics and independent certifications is a “poison pill” for the Democratic leadership, then I fear we are setting a course for division and partisanship. My votes yesterday were a demonstration of this great disappointment.
“Sen. Cornyn’s proposal would do exactly what proponents of the current legislation say they support – require border security first and then proceed with other reforms. The metrics are not unreasonable, the goals are not unobtainable and the amendment is not a “poison pill.” As we move forward with consideration of this bill, I urge Democratic leaders to rethink a strategy that castigates those who seek true immigration reform and also consider border security a top national security priority.
“If the Cornyn amendment or something very close to it is adopted by the Senate, I will be proud to cast a yes vote on S. 744.”