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April 21, 2015

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Heller ‘looking very favorably’ on immigration reform bill

Dean Heller

Dean Heller

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller still won’t completely commit to being a “yes” vote for comprehensive immigration reform.

But if the Senate adopts a new compromise on border security, he can’t see much of anything that would keep him from voting for the bill.

“I think [the bill] needed this kind of an amendment, to advance the legislation,” Heller said Thursday. “I mean, clearly, there are those who won’t vote for it no matter what. But for those who were leaning toward voting, this really does solve a lot of the issues.”

Should the border security amendment pass, Heller said, he sees no deal-breakers or poison pills that could compromise his willingness to vote for immigration reform.

“The process, which nobody wants to talk about, obviously, clearly could hang this thing up. But I’m certainly hoping that’s not the case,” Heller said. “But I just hope this thing doesn’t blow up...I’m looking very favorably upon it.”

Heller voted for Sen. John Cornyn’s farther-reaching border security amendment, which would have committed several billion dollars to build up the border force and hinged the pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants on verification that the border was at least 90 percent secure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called it a “poison pill.”

“I liked Cornyn’s amendment, too, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen,” Heller said, explaining his vote in favor of the Cornyn amendment Thursday. The Senate voted 54 to 43 to block the Cornyn amendment from advancing.

“I supported it, but everyone knew it was too much for the other side,” Heller said. “So the art of compromise, I think, wins out at the end of the day.”

The new border security amendment, drafted by Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, would commit more resources to hiring additional border security guards, building more areas of the fence, and expanding the radar and drone surveillance from the underlying bill.

It would not, however, make undocumented immigrants wait until all those developments were verified as complete before they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

There is a concern that the cost for such new undertakings could raise the overall price tag of the underlying immigration bill, which the Congressional Budget Office said this week would actually reduce the deficit by $197 billion over the next ten years and another $700 billion in the ten years thereafter.

But leading Democrats are saying that if a comprehensive immigration bill is the end goal, this is the best deal either party will get.

“The American people have sent us a message: ‘You’d better make sure the border’s secure.’ This amendment makes sure,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. “I think it’s a real breakthrough...It solved the riddle of how we deal with border security in a way without allowing somebody in future years who is against citizenship to impede that path.”

Republicans are also fairly sure they have enough votes to deliver a strong majority for immigration reform, so long as the Corker-Hoeven amendment is part of the final product.

Corker said he believes the amendment would bring on at least 15 Republicans and that those additional votes were solid.

“And I think as we continue to address some of the issues that people have in their own state, I think that could build,” Corker said.

Fifteen Republicans, added to the approximately 50 Democrats Reid has long thought he could bring on board, would give the comprehensive immigration reform bill well over the 60 votes needed to clear any procedural filibusters.

For Heller, the critical Corker-Hoeven amendment also has an extra sweetener: His two airport security amendments are included in its language.

“One of the things that was important to me is that my other amendments were part of the bill,” Heller said. “Both of the other two amendments that I spoke about on the floor are now encompassed in this new amendment.”

The Senate on Wednesday passed Heller’s amendment to include Nevada on the Southern Border Security Commission, a body that will take over the construction of border security if the Department of Homeland Security cannot complete plans to satisfaction within five years. The vote was a decisive 89 to 9 in favor.

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  1. Cut the invaders OFF WELFARE and out of jobs. This would free up more than 7 million jobs for American CITIZENS. This would cut federal AND local government expenditures in many, many programs: HOUSING vouchers, food banks, EBT SNAP, free breakfast/lunch/groceries, free cell phones, MEDICAID, UMC and other EMERGENCY ROOMS, Health Dept. vaccine clinics, K-12 costs drop 40% or more.....

  2. SECURE the borders, implement database tracking of all foreigners entering/exiting/student visas, DISENFRANCHISE THE ILLEGALS already here, take back the jobs, cut them off LIHEA, TANF, EBT, REFUNDABLE tax credits and DO NOT PAY THEM TO HAVE ANCHOR BABIES. We NEED to PREVENT every path towards legal residency and prevent every path towards citizenship except for those who emigrate LEGALLY.

  3. Those who are not legally here and receiving any public service should be given an OPTION: if they plan to stay in the USA, then apply for legal residency or citizenship, or expect to be deported. Sure, there will be some that will fly under the radar, but, eventually over time they will surface and be given an option.

    Our society cares for all who are in need, hence the social safety net. But this has been abused. We can either earn respect or demand it. There are no FREE rides in life, and at some point, we must consider the good of all ultimately.

    Blessings and Peace,

  4. Our society can't afford to take care of OUR seniors, cold and hungry while we feed and medicate illegals. We can't seem to find the money to feed our long-term unemployed yet we bring free hot meals to the illegal kids. INSIDE OUT government. Middle-aged Americans are doing that suicide thing in record rates with DIRECT CORRELATION to unemployment. ENFORCE our laws and get the illegals out of here. $75 per bus ticket south--from non-profits as soon as we cut off welfare and enforce our employment laws.

  5. July 15 join the MARCH on D.C. to REMOVE ILLEGALS so American Blacks, other minorities, Whites can find jobs, any jobs. So we can afford more than $16 a month in EBT SNAP for AMERICAN seniors instead of $186 per month for each illegal--even those working off the books.

  6. Leezah, Senator Heller knows "comprehensive" immigration "reform" will NOT PASS. Looks like the Dean is trying to get the far-left liberals to deal with reality or to at least figure out what reality is. The House is working on separate legislation to try to get Obama off dead center and ENFORCE laws against employers of illegals and AGAINST WELFARE for illegals and anchor babies. Can our economy ever get back to where it once was with 50 MILLION ILLEGALS and CONVERTED illegals? THEY must LEAVE--on their own or by force.

  7. We already take a million a year. That's too much. Let's CUT BACK.

  8. Vote against it Dean. This bill is death to America.