Earlier this summer, the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that cost nearly $40 billion over 10 years and creates a pathway to citizenship for people in the country illegally. The Senate passed the legislation with 68 votes, despite Grassley’s complaint that the legislation repeated mistakes made in the last immigration reform package passed in 1986.
“Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate failed to learn from the mistakes created by the 1986 overhaul,” Grassley said Tuesday. “I don’t need a crystal ball to tell me what would happen on the road ahead if we repeat the mistakes of the past. I saw how legalizing before securing our borders turned out. It turned America’s time-honored welcome mat into a timeworn doormat.”
The House is expected to consider its own smaller immigration reform bills instead of the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate. Grassley called on the House to ensure that Congress has the power to verify border security measures instead of the Department of Homeland Security before citizenship is granted to any immigrants and that qualified Americans have first dibs on U.S. jobs.
“It’s so important for Congress to fix America’s welcome mat. We can learn from the lessons,” Grassley said. “We need immigration laws in place that welcome law-abiding immigrants to share their entrepreneurial spirit, build better lives for themselves, and help make America a better place for generations to come.”
Grassley also criticized the Senate bill for spending too much without yielding adequate results. Grassley said the bill throws “taxpayers’ money at the problem without actually solving” it. The Senate bill originally spent nearly $6 billion on border security enforcement but to lure more GOP votes, another $30 billion was added for hiring of more border patrol agents and other security measures.