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[Congressional Record: June 16, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S7922-S7923]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I rise today to say a few words about our 
Nation's immigration policy.
  The United States has been built on the labor, industry, and 
initiative of immigrants. The immigrant character that undergirds our 
country and enriches our society is expressed through our art, music, 
and culture--the fulfillment of one of America's greatest gifts to the 
world: the promise of thriving multi-ethnic democracy. In every war 
America has fought, from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi 
Freedom, brave immigrants have fought alongside American-born citizens, 
with distinction and with courage.
  And throughout history, those who have longed for the blessings of 
liberty have looked to America as a beacon of hope, freedom, and the 
opportunity of a better life.
  The American Dream itself is rooted in the immigrant spirit. What 
sets this country apart is our conviction that life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness are not just American rights, but the gift of a 
benevolent Creator to all humanity. And so America has always welcomed 
immigrants from every shore, saying: ``Give me your tired, your poor, 
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.''
  Yet for too long, we have failed to address the flaws in our nation's 
current immigration policy. This issue is even more urgent in a post 9/
11 world. Special interest groups dominate the discourse, employing the 
potent but morally repugnant rhetoric of fear.
  We must acknowledge that we have done far too little to reform a 
system that cries out for change. The fruit of our current immigration 
policy is death, danger, and denial.
  For immigrants willing to risk their lives for the opportunity to 
live here in America, exploitation at the hands of human smugglers can 
mean a slow and painful death.
  According to some estimates, there at as many as ten million 
individuals who are in this country illegally; our homeland security 
demands an accounting of the identities of these individuals, their 
reason for being here, and whether they pose a danger to our citizens. 
And we can no longer afford to deny both the sheer number of 
undocumented immigrants in our country and the extent of our economy's 
dependence on the labor they provide.
  Our relationship with Mexico, an important ally and trading partner, 
is a prime example of the ramifications of the tired old status quo. 
The stated desire of our Mexican friends for general amnesty for the 
millions of undocumented immigrants here in America is an untenable 
position in support of an unrealistic policy.
  Instead, the guest worker program I propose acknowledges the vital 
role hard-working immigrants play in our economy and creates a 
comprehensive program, which will serve as an important step toward 
reestablishing respect for our laws and restoring dignity to immigrants 
who work here. It will enhance America's homeland security, facilitate 
enforcement of our immigration and labor laws, and protect millions who 
labor today outside the law. This program will benefit all 
participating nations and their citizens who wish to work in the United 
States and contribute to our Nation's prosperity.
  Our immigration policy must adapt to modern realities. An effective 
guest worker program will acknowledge that millions of undocumented men 
and women go to work every day in America in violation of our 
immigration law, outside the protection of our labor law, and without 
any way of our Government knowing who, or where they are.

[[Page S7923]]

  My proposal will encourage undocumented immigrants to come out of the 
shadows, to work within the law, and then to return to their homes and 
families with the pay and skills they acquire as guest workers in the 
United States. It will help guest workers receive the health care they 
need, without overburdening already strained health care providers.
  It will protect immigrants from exploitation and from violence. And 
guest workers will no longer fear the authorities, but rather will come 
to see the law as an ally, not an enemy.
  I have always believed that, as Americans, our patriotism isn't just 
expressed by flying the flag. It's about more than that. Patriotism 
means we all share in an ideal that is larger than ourselves. In all of 
our differences, there are some things we all have in common. In all 
our diversity, each of us still has a bond with all humanity.
  We must bring our broken immigration system into the 21st century. We 
must move transient workers out of the shadows. We must ensure the 
security of our borders.
  We must act for the sake of the rule of law, for the sake our 
homeland security, for the sake of immigrants who endure exploitation 
and even death for a chance to share in the blessings of American 
liberty--in hope, freedom, and the opportunity of a better life.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


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