Senators Heard Constituent Pressure to Vote Against Amnesty

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate voted against the AgJOBS amnesty. In a procedural vote requiring 60 votes to limit debate and ensure a vote on the amendment the Senate voted 53 to 45 to invoke cloture, effectively keeping the amnesty off the Iraq Supplemental. The AgJOBS amendment, offered by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), grants amnesty to every illegal alien, along with his or her family, who can produce sufficient evidence to show, “as a matter of just and reasonable inference,” that the illegal alien performed agricultural work in the United States for as little as the equivalent of 2 ½ standard work weeks.

“AgJOBS is unpopular with voters and costly to taxpayers; it will encourage illegal immigration, invite fraud, and overwhelm adjudicators without providing a stable, legal agriculture workforce,” said Roy Beck, Executive Director of NumbersUSA. “The vote against AgJOBS is a major victory for the American people who have respect for and abide by the rule of law.”

Widely touted as a “guest worker” proposal, AgJOBS is an amnesty that would reward people who have violated U.S. immigration laws, and it would invite past violators to return to and encourage new illegal aliens to enter the United States.

AgJOBS would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant temporary legal residence and work permits to illegal aliens who can show by “just and reasonable inference” that they have performed the requisite 100 hours of agricultural work, unless the aliens are convicted criminals (with one felony or more than two misdemeanors), terrorists, or public charges. An estimated 860,000 illegal alien agricultural workers could qualify, not including those who would qualify through fraud. Additionally, the spouses and children of illegal aliens could bring the total number of amnesty beneficiaries to as many as three million.

Under AgJOBS, the newly-legalized temporary residents, along with their immediate families, would be granted lawful permanent residence if the aliens worked in agriculture for the equivalent of about 52 standard work weeks (2,060 hours) during the six years following enactment. After five years as permanent residents, they would become eligible for U.S. citizenship.

By not invoking cloture on the AgJOBS amendment, the Senate effectively keeps the amnesty off of the Iraq Supplemental.


Updated: Fri, Nov 16th 2007 @ 11:54am EST