Harry Reid on Immigration

Last Updated : Aug 19, 2010

Summary

Harry Reid is a strong proponent of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.  He is a strong supporter of the DREAM Act which takes educational opportunities from US citizens and gives them to illegal aliens.  He is a vocal supporter of a "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" plan.

On the floor of the US Senate, he once referred to citizens of other nations living illegally in the United States as "Undocumented Americans". When asked about the number of illegal workers taking construction jobs from Arizona workers, Senator Reid stated that there were no illegal workers in Arizona. Senator Reid opposes the use of E-Verify to check the immigration status of workers when they are hired.

 

Opposition to Birthright Citizenship

In 1993, Senator Reid sponsored legislation to clarify that citizenship was not a right of birth for illegal aliens. He spoke out on the floor of the House about the "insanity" of giving government benefits to illegal aliens.

 

 

Undocumented Americans

In June of 2007, Senator Reid spoke on the Senate floor about issues that were of concern to people in his last trip to Nevada.  He stated that along with the war in Iraq and the high gas prices, Americans were concerned about immigration.  Senator Reid stated that he wanted a bill that would bring 12 undocumented Americans out of the shadows.

 

No illegal workers in Arizona

In July of 2010, Senator Reid was asked why he refused a vote on allowing the use of E-verify for jobs with stimulus funding and what should be done about illegal aliens taking construction jobs when many American workers can't find work.  Senator Reid responded that immigration reform couldn't be done "piece-milled" and that there were no illegal workers in Arizona. Arizona has the highest rate of illegal workers.

 

Latinos for Reid

Senator Reid has a portion of his re-election website entitled "Latinos for Reid".  On that site, Senator Reid expresses his determination for "Comprehensive immigration reform."  That term is used to describe a "reform" of the immigration system which grants amnesty to illegal aliens in exchange for them paying a fine and the promise of future enforcement of US immigration law, but with no real measures in place to actually enforce the law.

Senator Read also expresses a great deal of support for the DREAM Act.  The DREAM Act was part of the 2006-2007 immigration reform push that failed when the majority of the US citizens fought against it.  The DREAM Act was passed on it's own later.  The DREAM Act grants to illegal aliens the right to stay in the country and possibly permanent residence status, if they were here before the age of 16, have been admitted to an institution of higher education, and are of "good moral character."  The act also allows illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition.  Thus the act grants the right to stay in this country to those who are taking an educational slot away from a US citizen, and allows the person in this country illegally to pay in-state tuition where a US citizen does not have that right.

In a letter on his campaign website, Senator Reid said the following about the DREAM Act:

 

The following videos were also posted on that website:

 

Official Website Statements

 

2010 Re-Election Campaign Website Statements

 

Voting Record

Funding for Sanctuary Cities

Sactuary cities are those that allow illegal immigrants to reside within their borders with the understanding that the local government with not seek to determine immigration status or enforce the federal mandates concerning immigration. Senator Vitter put forth an amendment to create a reserve fund to hold money that would normally go to these sanctuary cities. On March 13, 2008, a motion was put forth to "table" or remove the amendment from consideration. Virtually all Democrats, and about 1/4 of the Republicans in office agreed to remove the amendment from consideration in a 58-40 vote. Harry Reid voted to table the amendment, and therefore supported the sanctuary city policy.

Harry Reid voted to table the amendment, and therefore supported the sanctuary city policy.

The DREAM Act

When the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill failed to pass, several members of congress attempted to achieve the same goal by passing the individual pieces of legislation that comprised the Reform Package. The DREAM Act was one such piece of legislation that grants citizenship to those that came to this country prior to the age of 16. Although the Bill got some support from both Democrats and Republicans, it too failed to pass the Senate in a 52-44 vote. Harry Reid voted in favor of the DREAM Act.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the DREAM Act.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In June of 2007, Congress attempted to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The bill iteself was a series of smaller pieces of legislation which established the requisites for people living in the US illegally to obtain amnesty. The bill also sought to grant other rights to illegal immigrants prior to and after they become citizens. Despite a massive Public Relations campaign to promote the legislation, the bill got no Republican support and roughly 2/3 of the support of the Democrats. The bill was rejected in the Senate in a 61-34 vote. Harry Reid voted against the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

Harry Reid voted against the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The Secure Fence Act

The Secure Fence Act passed the Senate in 2006, and required the director of homeland security to take operational control over certain areas along the border in an effort to cut down on both violence and illegal immigration. The enjoyed broad support and passed the Senate in an 80-19 vote. Harry Reid voted against the Secure Fence Act.

Harry Reid voted against the Secure Fence Act.

Immigration Reform Act of 2006

In 2006, the Senate attempted to pass an immigration reform bill. S 2611 passed the Senate in a 62-36 vote with the support of about 40% of the Republicans and all but 4 Democrats. Harry Reid voted in favor of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 9; Stronger Economy, Stronger Borders Act of 2009 - Prime Sponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that Congress should enact, and the President should sign, legislation to strengthen the economy, recognize the heritage of the United States as a nation of immigrants, and amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by: (1) providing more effective border and employment enforcement; (2) preventing illegal immigration; and (3) reforming and rationalizing avenues for legal immigration.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 729; Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009 or the DREAM Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on state residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such state residence. Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and (6) was under age 35 on the date of this Act's enactment. Sets forth the conditions for conditional permanent resident status, including: (1) termination of status for violation of this Act; and (2) removal of conditional status to permanent status. Authorizes an alien who has satisfied the appropriate requirements prior to enactment of this Act to petition the Secretary for conditional permanent resident status. Provides for: (1) exclusive jurisdiction; (2) penalties for false application statements; (3) confidentiality; (4) fee prohibitions; (5) higher education assistance; and (6) a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report respecting the number of aliens adjusted under this Act.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 774; DREAM Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on state residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such state residence. Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; and (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2075; DREAM Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to permit States to determine State residency for higher education purposes and to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain alien students who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S Res 551; Social Security and Illegal Immigrants - Prime Sponsor

Expresses the sense of the Senate that illegal immigrants should not receive Social Security benefits and that this prohibition should be strictly enforced.

Session-107; Bill Number-S 1291; Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or the DREAM Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on State residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such State residence. Authorizes the Attorney General to cancel the removal of, and adjust to permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) has attained the age of 12 prior to enactment of this Act; (2) files an application before reaching the age of 21; (3) has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; (4) has been physically present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding the date of enactment of this Act (with certain exceptions); (5) is a person of good moral character; and (6) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified criminal or security grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act.Authorizes the Attorney General to take similar steps with respect to an alien who: (1) would have met such requirements during the four-year period immediately preceding the enactment of this Act; and (2) is enrolled in, or has graduated from, an institution of higher education.Directs the Attorney General to establish a procedure permitting an alien to apply for cancellation and adjustment without being placed in removal proceedings (in addition to cancellation and adjustment availability in removal proceedings).

Session-108; Bill Number-S 1545; Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2003 - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States prior to his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified criminal, security, smuggling, or illegal entrant or immigration violator grounds, with certain age-related exceptions; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a U.S. high school or equivalent diploma; and (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal. Authorizes waiver of certain grounds of deportability or ineligibility for humanitarian, family or public interest reasons. Prohibits removal of an alien whose conditional status application is pending. Sets forth continuous presence provisions.

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