House Needs to Take the Next Step and Go to Conference

WASHINGTON — Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist today praised the U.S. Senate for passing S. 2612, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.”  He urged the House to follow suit by quickly convening a conference committee and getting immigration reform done this year.

S. 2612 would address all three areas of comprehensive immigration reform.  The border would be secured through measures that most Americans support.  A temporary worker program would be established to give work visas for those who need them.  Finally, the 12 million illegal workers who are here today would pay their debt to society to earn legal status.

“This comprehensive bill is not perfect, but it is a great step forward to fix our nation’s broken immigration system,” said Norquist.  “This is a big victory for the principle that this country is a place where people who want a better life can come, contribute, and pursue the American dream.”

ATR has several concerns with S. 2612.  The temporary worker program (at a 200,000 annual visa cap) is too small—double that would be barely accommodative.  The employer verification provisions, while better than the House-passed version, are still too intrusive on civil liberties.  Finally, the prevailing wage requirement for temporary workers is a needless unfunded mandate on employers and a sop to Big Labor.

“I hope that the concerns we have with this bill can be fixed in conference,” continued Norquist.  “However, that requires the House to go to conference.  The House has an obligation to lead.  America put the current leadership in charge to get things done, not to kick the can down the road past an election.”