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[Congressional Record: October 13, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S10584-S10585]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


 Mr. LEAHY. I would like to commend Senator Reed for allowing us to 
proceed on several important immigration matters even though the 
Republican majority has refused to act on his compelling legislation to 
do justice for Liberians. Senator Reed has been a persistent advocate 
for the Liberian nationals who have fled the strife in their nation for 
the United States. He has recognized that the U.S. has a special 
relationship with Liberia's citizens and has sought to respect and 
enhance that relationship. But his efforts have been resisted by the 
majority, which has consistently denied his requests to take up his 
bipartisan bill, which would allow Liberians who fled here and meet 
certain criteria to become legal permanent residents of the United 
States. I hope that we will change course and address this issue before 
we adjourn. I commend the Administration for its commitment to insist 
on action.
 Meanwhile, I am pleased that we were able to pass H.R. 2883, a bill 
that will confer automatic citizenship upon foreign-born children who 
are adopted by the American parents. Given the severe curtailment of 
noncitizens' rights under the immigration laws we passed in 1996, it is 
all the more important to

[[Page S10585]]

extend this right to American parents and their adopted children. 
Everyone in the Senate supports adoption, and we should make sure the 
law expresses that support.
Many Senators on both sides of the aisle worked hard to see this bill 
become law, and I would like in particular to commend Senator Landrieu 
for her efforts. She and her staff were dedicated to this bill and were 
instrumental in its passage.
I hope that we are able today to move forward on a number of pieces 
of legislation. First, I hope we can pass the bill that extends the 
program under which religious workers can obtain visas to enter the 
U.S. Senator Kennedy has championed this legislation, it has 
significant bipartisan support, and there is no reason not to act 
quickly to pass it. We should also pass the bill benefiting Syrian Jews 
that Senator Schumer has advocated, as well as legislation benefiting 
the Hmong people, which the late Congressman Bruce Vento did so much to 
promote. Although many of the larger immigration issues that should 
have been addressed in this Congress--from reforming expedited removal 
to restoring due process rights for legal permanent residents--may 
regrettably remain unresolved, we can at least take these more limited 
steps and demonstrate some commitment to immigrants and a sound 
immigration policy.