Gov Richardson Welcomes Senate Immigration Debate

Border Governor Richardson Applauds Security Measures: Additional 18,000 Border Patrol and New Interdiction and Identification Tools.

Urges Senate to Maintain Strong Family Reunification Criteria for Applicants, Strip Out Excessive Burdens and Penalties

WASHINGTON, DC - Governor Bill Richardson today welcomed the bipartisan effort made in the Senate in drafting a compromise immigration bill.

"As a border Governor, I believe this bipartisan bill includes the necessary measures to secure our border, not just against illegal immigration, but also against gangs and violent crime," stated Governor Richardson. "This legislation makes a good start toward re-securing our southern border, including 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, new technology to aid interdiction, and a system for employers to verify job applicants are here legally, and penalties for those employers who don't."

Thankfully, this bill begins to address the application backlog that hurts those immigrants who have followed the rules and waited in line.

"I agree that the 12 million illegal immigrants should meet tough requirements--keeping a clean record, maintaining good employment histories, and waiting eight years before applying for permanent resident status," stated Governor Richardson. "But there needs to be an earned path to legalization."

"I have concerns about certain provisions: the requirement for the head of household to leave the country and reenter legally is bureaucratic and problematic. While I support fines for those who broke the law, we must be sure that the fines are not so unrealistic that immigrants simply stay in the shadows rather than earn legal status."

"Some other measures, I cannot support. While our country should always look to make our workforce globally competitive, we should be careful not to tear apart America's families. The stability that a family provides to a new citizen is a strong guarantor of long-term success--success that often comes in the form of the next generation--(just ask Senator Bob Menendez or Senator Mel Martinez.)"

"I also remain concerned about the proposed guest worker program, which cannot be designed to only meet the needs of employers, and forget to protect the basic dignity and rights of these low-skilled workers. But I remain optimistic that these concerns can and will be addressed through vigorous debate and serious legislative deliberation."