June 12, 2007
Washington -- Republicans Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson played a lead role in producing a bipartisan deal on immigration reform in May.
Since then, they have endured angry calls and even boos from conservatives who were upset with the proposal.
They went out of their way to clarify that they might not support the controversial immigration reform measure in the end, and now want action from the president, specifically they want President Bush to immediately fund border security through an emergency supplemental bill.
In a press release, Chambliss and Isakson say they believe emergency supplemental funds to secure the border will go a long way towards restoring the confidence of the American people in the federal government's commitment to border security.
The letter they sent to Bush cites a lack of public support for the current bill, and mistakes made two decades ago when another immigration bill was passed.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. President:
Although the Senate's effort to reform our nation's immigration laws through the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is stalled, illegal immigration remains our nation's number one domestic issue. We therefore believe it is incumbent upon us and our colleagues to tackle this issue and not leave this problem for future generations to solve.
As we travel around Georgia and continue to hear from our constituents, the message from a majority of Georgians is that they have no trust that the United States Government will enforce the laws contained in this new legislation and secure the border first. This lack of trust is rooted in the mistakes made in 1986 and the continued chaos surrounding our immigration laws. Understandably, the lack of credibility the federal government has on this issue gives merit to the skepticism of many about future immigration reform.
We believe the way to build greater support for immigration reform in the United States Senate and among the American public is to regain the trust in the ability of the federal government to responsibly administer immigration programs and enforce immigration laws. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to secure our borders first, and we believe this approach will serve as a platform towards addressing the other issues surrounding immigration reform.
To that end, we believe that you and your administration could alleviate many of the fears of our constituents by calling for an emergency supplemental bill to fully fund the border and interior security initiatives contained in legislation currently pending in the Senate, as well as any outstanding existing authorizations. Such a move would show your commitment to securing the border first and to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into our nation. It will also work towards restoring the credibility of the federal government on this critical issue.
We urge you to carefully consider this request, and thank you for the opportunity to express the views of the people of Georgia on this matter.
Saxby Chambliss Johnny Isakson