Contact: Caroline Rabbitt Tabler (202) 224-2353
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and several of his Republican colleagues today joined Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing legislation to protect and provide certainty to DACA recipients, and improve the lawful immigration system by targeting illegal immigration and criminal aliens. The Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United in Reform Efforts, (SECURE) Act contains provisions from several immigration proposals, including Senator Dick Durbin's (D-Ill.) bipartisan BRIDGE Act, which protects DACA recipients from deportation.
The SECURE Act is also cosponsored by senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and David Perdue (R-Ga.).
"This bill draws upon ideas supported by members of both parties to provide legal status to the thousands of young people who are here through no fault of their own-without encouraging more illegal immigration in the future. This legislation would go a long way to building an immigration system that supports the American worker, and there's simply no good reason for either party to oppose it," Cotton said.
"This legislation combines common sense border security and interior enforcement reforms with Senators Graham's and Durbin's bipartisan solution on DACA. It restores integrity to our immigration system by cracking down on illegal immigration and criminal immigrants, while recognizing the circumstances of those brought here through no fault of their own. This bill improves public safety and prosperity for Americans and immigrants alike, and ensures tragedies like the deaths of Kate Steinle and Sarah Root never happen again. This is a bill that our colleagues from both sides of the aisle should be able to support. President Trump is ready and willing to sign it, so it's time for Congress to get it done," Grassley said.
"This bill provides a real, bipartisan solution for those brought here by their parents illegally who now find themselves in limbo. The SECURE Act gives us the chance to both help these young adults and win back public confidence by securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws," Cornyn said.
"Congress has a responsibility to secure our borders and address the legal uncertainty facing the DACA-eligible population. The SECURE Act takes concrete steps to accomplish both objectives by helping prevent future illegal immigration while providing Congress with more time to work on a long-term solution for undocumented children," Tillis said.
"An essential part of national security is border security. Every nation has the right to know who comes into their country. For decades, the United States has ignored obvious issues in our immigration policy, which has only made the problem worse. The President and many Members of Congress believe a DACA solution should be combined with a permanent fix to the many broken elements in our nation's border security and immigration system. The SECURE Act is a first step to bring everyone to the table to negotiate a common-sense solution to DACA and issues related to illegal immigration. It is my hope that in the months ahead, Republicans and Democrats will come together so that we can provide the certainty that families deserve and the border security our country desperately needs," Lankford said.
"Our outdated and broken immigration system is an economic and national security issue that we have got to fix. As it stands today, our immigration policies encourage illegal immigration, existing laws are being ignored by rogue cities, and our country's southern border is not secure. Furthermore, green-cards are primarily awarded through a chain migration system that does not prioritize skill and merit. In this proposal, we've taken steps to fix these problems and more. It's time we have an immigration system that meets our country's economic needs, protects our national security, prioritizes the well-being of Americans, and truly discourages illegal immigration," Perdue said.
The SECURE Act includes various border security provisions, such as additional human and technological resources on the border and fencing in certain areas. It also provides more judicial resources to reduce backlogs in immigration court and target fraud. The bill seeks to improve community safety and cooperation by eliminating so-called "sanctuary" policies that inhibit enforcement and it provides expedited removal for individuals involved in certain criminal activities.
The SECURE Act permanently reauthorizes the proven E-Verify program and encourages greater voluntary enrollment to strengthen our legal workforce and encourage legal immigration. It also limits family migration to spouses and minor children.
Finally, the bill includes the BRIDGE Act, which was cosponsored by senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). This bill protects the status of the approximately 690,000 current DACA recipients for three years.
Legislative text is available HERE.