Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) argued on Tuesday for a new bill to reform the system of chain migration and address those currently protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Cotton introduced the Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United in Reform Efforts (SECURE) Act on the Senate floor as legislation that would combine parts of his previous RAISE Act with other proposals. The SECURE Act includes elements of the bipartisan-supported BRIDGE Act as well as Kate's Law, named after Kate Steinle whose alleged killer was found not guilty of murder by a California jury last week.
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The senator argued the SECURE Act would limit chain migration, improve border security with E-Verify, and like the BRIDGE Act, would give those with a DACA card a three-year provisional status.
Cotton outlined why he thinks this piece of legislation should be widely supported by both Democrats and Republicans, but he also explained why he doubts it will work out that way.
"So if the Democrats were to oppose our legislation today, the SECURE Act, the question would be: why?" Cotton said on the Senate floor. "Well, I think I know what they might say. They might say, ‘Oh, those terrible Republicans have added a bunch of terrible Republican ideas to this bill.’ But let me just ask which of these provisions are so terrible?"
Cotton said the act would also strengthen E-Verify, critiquing those who say it does not work.
"When people say that E-Verify doesn’t work, what they mean is E-Verify works," Cotton said. "What they mean is they want employers to be able to hire illegal immigrants, to take jobs away from Americans and pay them submarket wages."
He went on to argue the act would help secure borders, stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants, stop the lottery program in which "green cards are given out by random chance," and put an end to chain migration in which immigrants can bring members of their extended family to the United States to eventually gain citizenship.
"Shouldn’t we have an immigration system that focuses on the needs of America’s workers and the American economy, not one that gives out green cards by random chance, the way we have today?" Cotton said.
Cotton concluded by saying Democrats and Republicans should unite behind the SECURE Act because it would deliver commonsense reforms for both DACA recipients and American workers.
"It's good for those DACA recipients, it's good for American workers, it's good for our communities, and it would be a good first step towards lasting, pro-American, pro-worker immigration reform," Cotton said.