"Senator William H. Frist, M.D. - U.S. Senator, Tennessee - U.S. Senate Majority Leader
"Before Easter, the Senate began debate on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, and Republicans were prepared to strengthen the legislation with amendments making the American people safer and more secure.
Shortly before recess, however, Democrats refused to allow any amendments. For an issue this complex, important and controversial, that was simply unacceptable.
My Republican colleagues and I refused to allow tactics of partisan obstruction to stand in the way of achieving meaningful immigration reform. And when the Senate resumed consideration this week, we began offering amendments that have vastly improved the bill.
I invite you to take the opportunity to read through a few of the Republican amendments that passed with my support this week -- and consider how comprehensive immigration reform legislation might have looked without them.
The Senate adopted an amendment by Senator Sessions that would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to construct at least 370 miles of triple-layered fence and 500 miles of vehicle barrier at strategic locations along the southwest border.
The Senate approved an amendment by Senators Kyl, Graham, Cornyn and Allen to close a loophole in the bill that would allow criminal aliens to obtain legal status. The amendment clarifies that any illegal alien who is ineligible for a visa, or who has been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors, is ineligible for a green card.
The Senate voted in favor of an amendment by Senator Inhofe to require that English be declared the national language of the United States. It also provides that the English language is the default language for government communication and that no person has a right to have the government communicate in any language other than English unless otherwise authorized or provided by law. The amendment also establishes goals for the redesign of the ongoing naturalization exam requiring that those taking the test demonstrate an understanding of English and of American history. Lastly, the amendment would change provisions in the bill that allow an unauthorized alien to meet the current English language exam by enrolling in an English language class.
The Senate adopted an amendment by Senator Cornyn to strike the ability of future temporary workers to obtain a green card by self-petitioning for one. Green cards could only be obtained if an employer sponsored the application."