June 24, 2013

Statement from CWS on the Corker-Hoeven Amendment

As the Senate moves toward final passage of the bipartisan immigration reform bill S. 744, CWS urges all Senators to support this effort to improve the lives of our immigrant brothers and sisters.

CWS supports this historic effort, as S.744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, would create a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members, reunite separated families, and improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.

As the bill has been debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor, the CWS network has been actively engaged in calling Senators to oppose amendments that would have increased border enforcement or narrowed or delayed the path to citizenship and to support positive amendments that will protect vulnerable populations. And we have been successful in defeating the worst amendments and winning modest improvements to the bill.

Just this past Friday, Senators Corker (R-TN) and Hoeven (R-ND) introduced a new amendment to the bill that calls for more than doubling the Border Patrol with an additional 20,000 agents, building hundreds of miles of fencing, and spending $4.5 billion in technology and equipment along the southern border. It would also prevent immigrants from getting Social Security credits that they contributed before havinglegal status; and prohibit any waivers that would allow people with Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status to access Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

CWS is opposed to the Corker-Hoeven amendment, as it would have negative implications for border communities and costs related to its provisions would be paid for through fee increases for all immigrants applying for visas and adjustments of status. While we recognize that this is a compromise piece of legislation that needs to garner broad bipartisan support, this amendment is, as Senator Corker himself stated, "overkill" and does nothing to provide real solutions to our broken immigration system.

Although CWS does not support the Corker-Hoeven border amendment, we do support the larger bill because we strongly support the provisions that would create a pathway to citizenship, reunite separated families, and improve the lives of refugees.

CWS pledges to work with the House of Representatives, the conference committee and the administration to see that the Corker-Hoeven provisions are improved through the legislative process and implemented with specific attention to how they will impact border communities.

CWS urges all Senators to push for further consideration of positive amendments that would help women,children, families, refugees, border communities, and immigrants who volunteer and contribute to our communities. These amendments have not yet come up for a vote, and we are concerned that the Senate might conclude consideration of amendments before these important improvements to the bill can receive a vote.

More information on the legislation and CWS's position can be found at
http://www.cwsglobal.org/resources/pdfs/cws-statement-s-744senatebipartisanimmigrationbill.pdf.

CWS has joined with its partners in the faith community and sent this letter to Senators speaking out against the unnecessary and excessive militarization of our southern border through the Corker-Hoeven amendment.