Senators renew effort to secure border first

Posted on June 29, 2006

Four area senators renewed the call today for tighter border security. The revived push to make sure Congress passes a final immigration package heavy on border enforcement came as the senators said more of their colleagues are now supporting a border security first approach. Lawmakers are awaiting a final immigration to be crafted from the very different versions passed by the Senate and the House this session. “Border security first is the prerequisite for comprehensive reform in total,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said lawmakers must uphold the rule of law by stopping the flow of illegal immigration. “Securing our borders at home is as important as defending our freedom in Iraq,” Sen. Alexander said. The Senate in May passed a comprehensive immigration bill that combined border security efforts with a pathway to citizenship for many of the nations’ estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. The House last year passed a border enforcement only immigration bill. Lawmakers from both chambers must now meet to iron out their differences. But Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he could not support any final bill that includes a pathway to citizenship. Senate Majority Bill Frist, R-Tenn., favors the comprehensive package passed by the Senate, according to a spokesman for Sen. Frist. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said lawmakers should learn from the lessons of more than 20 years ago when the granting of amnesty to many illegal immigrants by Congress led to the ballooning of the illegal immigrant population.