Thune, Johnson on immigration reform

A comprehensive immigration reform bill just passed the U.S. Senate 68-32. Sen. Tim Johnson voted for the bill, Sen. John Thune voted against it. Here’s their statements:


Today, my colleagues and I came together to pass the Senate’s bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill by a vote of 68-32. It was clear that something needed to be done to address our border security and immigration policies. And while this bill is not perfect, it takes a crucial step in addressing these issues. It is important that our first priority is to maintain and further secure our borders. With over 11 million undocumented individuals already living in our country, it is time we develop common sense solutions to help bring these individuals out of the shadows. This legislation is a responsible step forward to strengthen our borders and improve our immigration system. 


Our immigration system is broken and must be fixed, but the legislation passed by the Senate today fails to make the necessary improvements to secure our borders and comes with an enormous price tag to the American taxpayers. I offered a number amendments to the bill that would not only have strengthened border security, but also would have offered accountability to the process by requiring implementation of the border security provisions before granting legal status to over 11 million undocumented residents. 

We need to have an immigration system that not only secures the border and increases national security, but that also reduces the wait-time and simplifies the process for those entering the country legally. Unfortunately, instead of proving to the American public that Congress is serious about border security and enforcing the laws already on the books, the final Senate bill gives weak promises on border security, leaving many aspects of implementation to the discretion of the Secretary. Simply put, the Senate immigration bill is legalization first and empty promises of border security second. 

While we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. I am disappointed that the Senate missed this important opportunity to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system.