Below is the response to my previous letter posted here on June 28, 2013. Note that his response totally ignores the illegal aspect of the presence of these people, fails to address the economic impact of giving them citizenship--and, yes, it has been revealed that S.744 actually provided citizenship first, meaning amnesty, no matter what the Gang of 8 has alleged to the contrary. Like Obamacare, S.744 was too big to be read into the Senate record before passage, meaning that it was not read by those who voted for it. Senator Begich voted along party lines ignoring his duty to the Constitution and the people of the State of Alaska.--LDW
"July 11, 2013
Dear Mr. Wood:
Thank you for contacting me about S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
As you may know, S.744 passed the Senate on June 27 with strong bipartisan support. I know we disagree, but I voted for this bill because it includes the right mix of increased border security, enforcement on employers, and a clear path to citizenship for immigrants who have played by the rules.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about what this bill would do, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight. This bill does not provide amnesty to illegal aliens, which is automatic citizenship for people who are in our country illegally. This bill is far from a free pass. To begin with, potential immigrants must pass a background check, pay any back taxes, and pay penalty fees. The bill also contains specific triggers which ensure that illegal immigrants cannot receive green cards until at least 10 years after the enactment of the bill and clear measures on border security are in place, making the total pathway to citizenship at least 13 years.
S.744 takes unprecedented steps to secure our border and make sure illegal immigrants can't get jobs. This bill contains funding for more fencing and security equipment, along with an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents. This surge more than doubles the current force and allows the Border Patrol access to the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively. In addition, S.744 will keep illegal immigrants from getting jobs in the first place by requiring employers to use an employment verification system known as E-Verify.
Finally, this legislation cracks down on those who overstay their welcome in our country. With 40 percent of illegal immigrants resulting from visa overstays, the bill requires the federal government to begin the removal process for 90 percent of visa overstays and will hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable for failing to enforce the law.
Thank you again for contacting me on immigration reform. Please feel free to contact me again on this or any other subject.