US immigration bill’s failure sidelines ‘Family Reunification Act’

Jun. 29, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the U.S. Senate could not muster the 60 votes needed to limit debate and move towards a final up-or-down vote on S. 1639, the Comprehensive Immigration Bill. Todays vote effectively kills the legislation for the time being. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) voted yes, to limit debate and advance the bill.

I am disappointed that the Senate today passed on the opportunity to replace our nations broken immigration system with one that is tough, enforceable and practical, Akaka said. A huge backlog in the issuance of family visas (including to the children of Filipino World War II veterans), a broken and porous border, 12-million undocumented immigrants, human trafficking, inadequate mechanisms to verify the legal status of all of the nations workers, and the exploitation of undocumented immigrants are the evidence that our current immigration system is broken.

The comprehensive immigration bill was certainly not perfect, but it represented an effort by Senators from both sides of the aisle to come together to address an issue that politicians had for avoided for too long. It was a courageous effort by our Leader Harry Reid, my good friend and colleague Senator Ted Kennedy, and many others to fix our broken immigration system.

I also regret that as a result of the bills failure, my Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act, incorporated into S.1639 by amendment, is also off the floor for the time being. However, I am determined to renew my efforts to see this bill through Congress so that the children of Filipino World War II veterans who are now U.S. citizens may join their fathers in their golden years, Akaka said.

Todays vote does not affect Senator Inouyes Filipino Veterans Equity Act, which was passed yesterday by Chairman Akakas Committee on Veterans Affairs.

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