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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Feingold's Letter

I wrote Feingold, among others, a letter requesting they respect the many American citizens and NOT support amnesty. Here's his reply:

April 12, 2006

Mrs. Stephanie XXXXX

Dear Mrs. XXXXX,

Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. I
appreciate hearing from you.

As you probably know, in March 2006 the Senate Judiciary
Committee, of which I am a member, considered an immigration
reform proposal sponsored by the Chairman of the Committee,
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Committee considered the bill
over several days, and ultimately reported an amended version of
the Chairman's mark to the full Senate by a vote of 12-6 on March
27, 2006. I voted in favor of the bill.

On March 29, 2006, the Senate began consideration of S. 2454, an
immigration bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-TN). During the Senate's consideration of S. 2454, Senator
Specter offered the Judiciary Committee bill as a complete
substitute amendment to replace Senator Frist's bill.
Unfortunately, efforts to end debate and bring this amendment to a
final vote were defeated by a vote of 39-60. Efforts to limit debate
on Senator Frist's bill also were defeated, by a vote of 36-62. It is
unclear at this time when the Senate will resume consideration of
either immigration reform proposal.

I support the bill that was reported to the full Senate by the
Judiciary Committee because it is a pragmatic, comprehensive
to our country's immigration problems.
It would
strengthen border security, which is vital, while also creating a
system that allows law-abiding non-citizens to enter the country
legally to work when there is truly a need for their labor
, and that
deals with the "shadow population" of undocumented immigrants
who are already here

The Judiciary Committee bill, as well as a separate proposal
sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy
(D-MA) known as the Secure America and Orderly Immigration
Act (S. 1033), would allow undocumented aliens to earn legalized
, but only if they could show work history, satisfy
background checks, pay fines, fulfill English language and civics
requirements, and wait at the back of the line in order to obtain
permanent status. In other words, people who come forward and
play by the rules would be able to earn a path to permanent legal

The Judiciary Committee bill also would create a guest worker
program that allows employers in the future to turn to foreign
, but only when they cannot find American workers to do the
job. This approach would recognize that American businesses
need access to foreign workers for jobs they cannot fill with
American workers
, and help to avoid a future flow of
undocumented workers. This new guest worker program also
would include strong labor protections to ensure that foreign labor
does not adversely affect wages and working conditions for U.S.
workers. We must not create a second class of workers subject to
lower wages and fewer workplace protections, which would hurt
all workers by driving down wages for everyone.

I do not support the immigration reform bill recently passed by the
House, H.R. 4437, nor do I support Senator Frist's bill, S. 2454.
These bills would criminalize millions of people who are
or who have provided humanitarian assistance to
the undocumented. They do not contain the important reforms to
our immigration system that are in the Judiciary Committee bill,
which would bring illegal aliens out of the shadows and ensure that
our government knows who is entering this country for legitimate

The Judiciary Committee bill is not perfect, and it contains some
provisions that concern me. But overall it is a strong piece of
legislation, and I hope that ultimately, the Senate will pass the bill
reported by the Judiciary Committee or a similar comprehensive

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with me.
I look forward to hearing from you in the future.


Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator

I've added emphasis (obviously) and X'ed out my personal information. Other than that, I've left it as it is, refraining from sarcastic commentary. It wasn't an easy choice. Take it for what you will, one thing I can certainly say for good ol' Russ is that his words speak for themselves. My response will be forth-coming shortly.


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