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Sen. Casey (D-Pa.) -- Increase Border and Workplace Enforcement

 

Sen. Casey (D-Pa.) -- Increase Border and Workplace Enforcement

Quotes - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

AP: Please explain whether you support a bill recently passed in the Senate that would give more money for border security, a guest worker program and a shot at citizenship for illegal immigrants.

CASEY: ... From 1999 to 2003, the number of employers who were notified that they would be fined for hiring illegal immigrant went from 417 in 1999 to 3 in 2004. In 1999, there were 2,849 work site arrests. By 2004, that number dropped to only 159.

Associated Press

AP: Please explain whether you support a bill recently passed in the Senate that would give more money for border security, a guest worker program and a shot at citizenship for illegal immigrants.

CASEY: ... From 1999 to 2003, the number of employers who were notified that they would be fined for hiring illegal immigrant went from 417 in 1999 to 3 in 2004. In 1999, there were 2,849 work site arrests. By 2004, that number dropped to only 159.

I support a new direction. My preference was to address the problem in two steps: secure our borders and increase enforcement for employers who hire illegal immigrants first, before dealing with the problem of the illegal immigrants already here. The bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate recently, however, attempts to address a myriad of immigration problems in one bill. I have serious reservation about this "kitchen sink" approach, but doing nothing is a far worse option. The immigration bill does contain important reforms that I support - like increased security at our borders and increased enforcement - and I believe, while far from perfect, it will help address the problem…

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AP: What's the ideal solution for dealing with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States?

CASEY: Ideally, we would have cracked down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and secured the borders ten years ago. ... We need to secure the border and make sure employers do not hire illegal immigrants. I support tough penalties for corporations that hire illegal immigrants. My opponent voted against tougher penalties for those corporations again this year.

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AP: Please explain whether you do or do not support building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

CASEY: I support provisions passed by the Senate to strengthen border security by building fences at strategic points on the border, by increasing the number of border patrol agents, and implementing other measures to secure the borders...

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AP: Many employers hire illegal immigrants. What role do businesses have as part of the solution? What penalty should be there be - if any - for those who hire illegal immigrants? Should it be a felony to hire illegal immigrants?

CASEY: Enforcement is the key. The Bush administration's inaction on cracking down on employers that hire illegal immigrants contributed to this problem.

I supported a proposal passed by the Senate to double fines for employers that hire illegal immigrants, increase the number of inspectors from 200 to 10,000, and create an electronic verification system. Under this amendment, repeat offenders could face up to three years in prison…

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AP: How critical of an issue is illegal immigration in Pennsylvania? Do you think Pennsylvania is helped or hurt by illegal immigrants who come here to work?

CASEY: Studies have shown that lax action against businesses that cheat the system by hiring illegal workers contributes to depressing wages. ...

Associated Press

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