News Releases

Friday, June 14, 2006

Isakson Proposes Emergency Supplemental to Secure U.S. Border
Continues to Urge Border-Security-First Approach to Comprehensive Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON - Calling the illegal immigration crisis an emergency, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today said the President and Congress must commit to securing the border, and he proposed using a supplemental spending bill to fully fund the manpower and technology necessary to do so.

"We pass emergency supplementals for various things in this body. We've done it in response to Katrina. We've done it in response to Iraq. I would submit that the American people would tell you there's no greater emergency than securing our border," Isakson said during a speech on the Senate floor. "If the White House sent an emergency supplemental to this Senate for border security, I doubt you would see dissenters. Everyone knows it is an emergency and needs to be done."

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.

"A lot of people say we can't secure our borders," Isakson said. "Well, we can transplant hearts and we can fly to the moon. We can secure our border."  

Isakson said it is critical to secure the borders before implementing a new guest worker program because otherwise the United States will face a repeat of 1986, when amnesty was granted to 3 million illegal immigrants without enhancing border security first. The result, Isakson said, was that millions more immigrants have flooded into the United States illegally and now are straining our schools, our hospitals and our local jails.

Isakson also continued to urge his Senate colleagues to recognize the critical importance of a "border-security-first" approach to immigration reform. 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.

"About two months ago I offered an amendment to the Senate immigration bill, which at the time was referred to as a deal-breaker. It's now being referred to as a deal-maker," Isakson said. "In the absence of border security, there can be no comprehensive reform."

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