News Releases

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Isakson Praises President's Willingness
to Consider Border-Security-First Approach to Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today praised President Bush's willingness to look at putting new border security programs in place before creating a temporary worker program.

"Border security is the prerequisite for comprehensive immigration reform, and I'm pleased the president is willing to consider this approach," Isakson said.

Candi Wolff, the White House director of legislative affairs, said today that the President "thinks that this notion that you can have triggers is something we should take a close look at, and we are."

During debate in the Senate on immigration reform, Isakson introduced a trigger amendment that would have prohibited the implementation of any program granting legal status to those who have entered the country illegally until the Secretary of Homeland Security has certified to the President and to the Congress that the border security provisions in the immigration legislation are fully funded and operational. The Senate defeated the amendment by a vote of 40 yeas to 55 nays.

During a news conference on Capitol Hill last week, several of Isakson's Senate colleagues stood with him in support of his idea of border security as a trigger to further immigration reform.

Isakson dismissed arguments that it is impossible to secure the border or that it would take forever. He said the job can be done if the Congress and the President commit the funding and other resources to do it.

"There may be some who say you can't secure the border or it can't be done or it's going to take too long. Listen, this country put a man on the moon in nine years. This country responded to the terrorist attacks on 9-11 within three weeks. This country can do anything it sets its mind to do and we know how to do it," Isakson said. "In incremental places along the border, we have done it. It's now time to do it seamlessly across the 2,000 mile border. It's time we put in place the agents, the UAVs in the air, sensors on the ground, the prosecuting officials along the border. Most importantly, we must make a commitment to ourselves and to the American people."