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Federation For American Immigration Reform


Washington DC - In one of the crucial tests of the Senate immigration bill, 51 senators voted to grant amnesty to illegal alien terrorists and criminals. By a 46-51 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) that would have barred illegal aliens who have been determined to have committed terrorist acts, or who have been convicted of a variety of criminal offenses, including gang activity, from eligibility for the proposed Z visa amnesty that would allow them to remain in this country indefinitely.


Under the plan being debated in the Senate, S. 1348, illegal aliens would receive Z visas that would permit them to live and work in the U.S. and ultimately to citizenship. The Cornyn amendment sought to exclude individuals who have been convicted of offenses including failure to register as a sex offender, alien smuggling while using a firearm, or document and identity fraud. The amendment would also have prevented people who have committed terrorist acts from qualifying for the Z visas.

"The defeat of this amendment demonstrates just how determined the Senate leadership is to pass a massive illegal alien amnesty," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "They will let nothing upset their delicate compromise between all of the special interests that are seeking new benefits from the immigration system. Their determination to satisfy the desires of the illegal alien and the cheap labor lobbies is so fierce that they are not even willing to prevent terrorists and criminals from gaining legal status."

The Cornyn amendment would have provided some much needed protection to public safety and national security in a bill that is overwhelmingly tilted in favor of illegal aliens seeking to remain in this country. "The vote on this amendment is a clear indication that the Senate and President Bush are willing to compromise every measure of security in their quest to defy the will of the public and enact a sweeping illegal alien amnesty. Even criminals and terrorist get a break under S. 1348," declared Stein.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the architects of the so-called compromise, described the Cornyn amendment "a Trojan horse amendment to kill the bill." "If excluding people who have committed criminal acts in this country is a deal-breaker, then we have to wonder what kind of deal the Senate is attempting to foist on the American public," said Stein. "American citizens are sitting in prison for having committed some of the same offenses that are not only being overlooked for illegal aliens, but actually allow them to be rewarded with the right to remain in this country legally."

FAIR is calling upon the Senate leadership to reject a motion for closure and ultimate defeat of the bill. "In their irrational haste to pass this amnesty bill, countless vital interests are being ignored or shunted to the side. Today's defeat of the Cornyn amendment is evidence of the fact that little if any consideration is being given to matters as important as public safety and homeland security," said Stein.







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