Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sen. Hutchison (R-TX), who opposed cloture last month, lays out her thoughts on immigration reform. She seems to present a three-sided strategy: border defense, "guest worker" program, and "dealing with" the (estimated) 12 million who are here without legal authorization:
She said the immigration issue is difficult because “We have to have a secure border and out country has not had to deal with that before,” Hutchison said. “Because we have always had a camaraderie with Canada and with Mexico and we’ve kind of gone with the flow but we can’t do that any more.

“We can’t do that because we know now that we have terrorists coming in and we have drug cartels coming in ... and then you have the illegal immigration problems, the people who are coming over to work and they aren’t criminals and they aren’t terrorists.”

Hutchison said the United States must develop a program that allows people to come here to work.

“So I am going to continue to try to have an immigration program that has three components, secure border ... a guest worker going forward that provides for businesses in our country that have jobs that are unfilled,” Hutchison said. “As I talk to businesses that are food processing, or restaurants or hotels, farmers or ranchers, they want to have a legalized process by which they can get workers because they are short-handed right now.

Hutchison said the third part is finding a way to “deal with the 12 million people who are here, and that’s been the hardest part. I think we can solve one and two because the hard part is to deal with the people who are here illegally that says we are not going to have amnesty; we are not going to have a closing our eyes to illegal immigration. ... I think we can deal with the people who are here if we have settled the other two issues.”

She said she thinks Congress will have to keep working on this. She explained that she didn’t vote for the recent bill because it did contain amnesty provisions.