Brewer, AZ lawmakers react to Senate passing immigration bill - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

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Brewer, AZ lawmakers react to Senate passing immigration bill

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Senate passed historic immigration legislation on Thursday afternoon.

The vote was 68-32 and sent the measure to the House.

Gov. Jan Brewer sent out the following statement on the immigration reform bill after it was passed by the Senate.

"Since Arizona is the main recipient of the problems of illegal immigration, let me be clear. My citizens demand a secure border and I demand a secure border. It's as simple as that.

"I understand there is anticipation for me to take a position either endorsing or opposing the 'Gang of Eight' immigration reform bill. I have not endorsed or opposed the bill because I know it remains a work in progress. I have faith that House Republicans will improve the bill by making securing our border the top priority.

"Recent additions to the Senate plan are encouraging. For example, I have long advocated for additional Border Patrol agents, completion of the border fence and further use of unmanned aircraft and other technology, as well as workplace enforcement. However, supporting these provisions does not equate to an endorsement of the overall legislation. There are still too many unknowns. Specifically, Congress must require that the border-security provisions are mandated on the front end rather than forgotten on the back end.

"Our nation's immigration system is broken and has been for decades. Congress must get it right this time. America cannot again repeat the failure of the 1986 immigration reform. The federal government must begin keeping its promises when it comes to border security.

"We've been down this path before, and the federal government has failed to keep its promises - whether in 1986 or as recently as 2006, when the federal government promised to build a border fence and then failed to fund it. We need assurances of a secured border that is fully funded. Also, the federal government needs to do its job and allow States to work in partnership - through the existing 287g program - to address illegal immigration.

"I know there is skepticism regarding this latest attempt by Congress to fix our immigration system. The federal government has a multi-decade record of failure on immigration and has passed along the costs to states like Arizona. The Obama administration, especially, does not instill faith among conservatives like myself. However, conservatives must remain in the conversation to ensure that the security provisions are as strong as possible. We cannot address our priorities if we walk away from the debate.

"I respect the leading role that Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have played in the Senate legislation up to this point, and I look forward to the rest of our delegation - and Republicans from across the House - adding their voices and perspective to this process. Only then will we really know whether the final legislation is truly worthy of the American people we all represent."

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, said he applauds the passage of the landmark immigration reform bill.

"Arizonans have had to wait far too long for Congress to take action to fix our broken immigration system. I am pleased to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting the passage of comprehensive reform legislation. While neither side got everything it wanted, this legislation goes a long way toward securing our borders, modernizes our legal immigration system, spurs economic growth and provides a tough-but-fair solution to those here illegally. Now, it's time for the House to act."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton released the following statement Thursday.

"Thank you to our Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake for working hard in a bipartisan way toward comprehensive immigration reform. Along with the Gang of Eight they fought for better border security and a pathway to citizenship that will allow families to stay together and our economy to grow. But we must keep the momentum going - our representatives in the House have a lot of bipartisan work to do, and Phoenix needs them to act. No region in the country will benefit more economically from passage of comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act than ours."

U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-AZ, issued this response to the bill.

"I congratulate the Senate for taking this historic, positive step, and I hope the House will now also act to pass this legislation. Right now, there is significant momentum to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill and finally provide a path forward for millions of immigrant families who want to become fully integrated into the American way of life. This bill would also strike an important balance between a pathway to citizenship, border security, and worker visas. My constituents and I are hopeful the House will seize this opportunity to work together and finally address this issue in a comprehensive and united manner."

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-AZ, hailed the Senate's historic 68-32 vote.

"This is a time to move together on a bipartisan basis and really do the people's business. Speaker Boehner can show some leadership or keep playing the same political games that have Congress' approval rating at a historic low. The American people are watching every step of this process very closely, and the next step is letting the House take a vote. Hiding and making excuses are not on the table."

"The [Corker-Hoeven] amendment is a classic case of excess, overreach, overreaction, and wasting taxpayer money, and I reject the idea that it's the only way to make this country safe. The American people deserve a real debate about the merits of this militarize-the-border approach, because after years of trying it, we don't have much to show for it.

"We need to start hiring more officers at ports of entry to increase cross-border commerce and create jobs. We need to start considering the impacts our current law enforcement approaches are having on border communities. We've been treating immigration reform as a pure 'lack of resources' question for political reasons long enough. Let's look at the real issues at stake for a change. Speaker Boehner can take that important step any time he chooses."

President Barack Obama had this to say on the passage of immigration reform.

"Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all.

"I thank Majority Leader Reid, Senator Leahy, Senator Schumer, and every member of the 'Gang of Eight' for their leadership, and I commend all Senators who worked across party lines to get this done.

"The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise. By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for commonsense reform that I - and many others - have repeatedly laid out.

"If enacted, the Senate bill would establish the most aggressive border security plan in our history. It would offer a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally - a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and then going to the back of the line behind everyone who's playing by the rules and trying to come here legally. It would modernize the legal immigration system so that it once again reflects our values as a nation and addresses the urgent needs of our time. And it would provide a big boost to our recovery, by shrinking our deficits and growing our economy.

"Today, the Senate did its job. It's now up to the House to do the same.

"As this process moves forward, I urge everyone who cares about this issue to keep a watchful eye. Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop commonsense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen. If you're among the clear majority of Americans who support reform - from CEOs to labor leaders, law enforcement to clergy - reach out to your Member of Congress. Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them to pass commonsense reform so that our businesses and workers are all playing by the same rules and everyone who's in this country is paying their fair share in taxes.

"We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We just need Congress to finish the job.''

Promise Arizona organizers has launched all-day vigils starting Thursday in support of comprehensive immigration reform that "protects workers' rights and keeps families together."

The vigil will be on the lawn of the Arizona State Capitol from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the Senate bill wins approval, according to Promise Arizona operations manager Tony Navarette.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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