Schumer: Could take 'years and years and years' to secure borders

Schumer noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated Grassley’s proposal during a markup and that Republican members of the Gang of Eight — Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Additional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inauguration Graham congratulates former rival Harrison on being picked to lead DNC MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake Arizona county's Republican committee debates censuring Cindy McCain MORE (Ariz.) — voted against it.


Schumer said the border would eventually be made secure but that it will take years and billions of dollars to build fences, watch towers and deploy drones and sensors.

He argued that it would be unreasonable to delay for years provisional legal status for millions of people.

“So what are we telling those 11 million? If you hide successfully from the police, then maybe five years from now you can stay here and get the right to work and the right to travel?”

Grassley slammed Democrats for requiring a 60-vote threshold for it to be adopted to the bill.

He warned Congress is about to repeat the mistake it made in 1986, when it granted legal status to millions of immigrants without legal status without first securing the border.

“As we read the details of the bill, it’s clear that the approach taken is legalize first, enforce later — the same mistake that was made in 1986,” he said.   

Grassley noted that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Judiciary Committee that she thinks the nation’s borders are secure.

He called registered provisional immigrant status “de facto permanent legalization.”

“We all know that it will never be taken away,” he said. 

He argued if Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform as drafted there will be little pressure on the administration to ensure the borders are fully secure. 

Sponsors of the legislation argue that funding for drones and other advanced technology will ultimately achieve a 90 percent effective rate in apprehending people crossing the border illegally.