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Hagel, Daschle to offer Comprehensive, Bipartisan Immigration Reform
January 21, 2004

Hagel, Daschle to offer Comprehensive, Bipartisan Immigration Reform

Legislation would Strengthen National Security,
Improve Economic Stability,and Re-unify Immigrant Families

Washington, D.C.- In a bipartisan effort to strengthen border enforcement and improve economic stability, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) today introduced "The Immigration Reform Act of 2004: Strengthening America's National Security, Economy, and Families."

Responding to the President's call for a national debate on immigration reform, the bill will provide comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration, improving national security, increasing predictability in the U.S. job market, and reuniting immigrant families who play by the rules.

"Immigration reform is an urgent national security priority. We cannot continue to defer making tough choices about our nation's immigration policy. It is not in our security interest to have 8-10 million people undocumented and unaccounted for in our country. Congress must reform the patchwork of immigration laws that have created an underground, black market labor force," Hagel said. "The legislation we introduce today is responsible immigration reform. This is a debate that we have deferred for too long. President Bush deserves credit for the leadership he has shown in putting this issue back on the agenda. Congress must now meet that leadership by having a courageous debate on the tough issues of immigration reform."

"America's immigration policy needs a healthy dose of common sense," Daschle said. "This bipartisan legislation cuts through ideology and offers a straightforward way to secure American borders, strengthen our economy, and help immigrants, while protecting American workers. The Hagel-Daschle bill will keep out those who seek to harm Americans, while welcoming those who would strengthen our nation by pursuing the American dream for themselves and their families. Immigration is an issue that touches every aspect of our society, and I'm grateful that Senator Hagel and I have been able to address this vital challenge in a spirit of pragmatism and bipartisanship."


Strengthens national security by identifying undocumented immigrants living inside our borders and tracking foreign workers who enter the U.S. for jobs;

Provides funding to the Department of Homeland Security for increased border security, and criminal and background checks on visa applicants;

Increases the number of visas available for those who have played by the rules and are waiting to be reunited with their U.S. citizen and legal resident family members;

Improves economic stability by creating an enforceable program to bring needed foreign workers into the U.S. to take jobs that would otherwise go unfilled;

Penalizes those who continue to break immigration laws.