by Jessica Kim Cohen
JCUA Intern, Communications
On Thursday, June 20, 2013, Senator Mark Kirk surprised his constituents by announcing his support for SB 744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, contingent upon one addition: an amendment regarding border security.
The amendment, proposed by Tennessee’s Senator Bob Corker and North Dakota’s Senator John Hoeven, both Republicans, will increase the border control requirements, including the implementation of 40,000 agents to the border control force, the addition of a 700 mile fence and allowing drones and other surveillance technology to patrol along the border.
The amendment, on which there was a vote Monday, June 24, is believed to be a way to increase Republican support for the bill, as illustrated by the formerly unconvinced Senator Kirk’s sudden support.
Still, many find these militarizing measures to be unnecessary for border security. Not only will they cost the country nearly $30 billion, but they also offer little “security,” given that illegal border crossings are at their lowest in decades.
As we grow closer to a Senate vote (see analysis of the Senate bill process here), there is a great deal of concern for what the House will bring, and whether the House can ever be pleased with a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. While appeasing more Republicans in the Senate might allow the bill to gain momentum as it goes into the more conservative House, no amount of adjustments will guarantee the House’s support.
As the Senate’s vote will likely occur this week, this is still a crucial time to voice your opinion to Senator Kirk. Let Senator Kirk know that while we are glad he is joining us in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we want no more harmful compromises.
Please call all three of Senator Kirk’s offices to remind him of your commitment to keeping families together through Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Chicago (312-886-3506), Springfield (217-492-5089) and Washington DC (202-224-2854).