Russ Feingold on Immigration

Last Updated : Dec 17, 2010

Summary

Senator Feingold is a strong supporter of amnesty for illegal aliens living in the United States. He voted in favor of the 2007 "Comprehensive Immigration reform" plan that would have granted amnesty to illegal aliens, and in favor of the DREAM Act which would have also granted amnesty for illegal immigrants who graduate from US schools.

When questioned about illegal immigration, Senator Feingold called for another "Comprehensive" style reform. He also cosponsored the AgJobs Bill which would have granted amnesty for agricultural workers.

In another town hall, Senator Feingold stated that he did not support amnesty for illegal aliens, but then defined a system where illegal aliens pay a fine and "go to the end of a line" as not being amnesty.  

 

Support for Comprehensive Reform

In June of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his support for the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Senator Feingold also noted his support for the DREAM Act, and his opposition to efforts to enforce US laws concerning immigration and measures which will make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to receive amnesty.

 

Opposition to Proof of Citizenship

In April of 2007, Senator Feingold released a press statement noting his opposition to measures that would require someone to prove citizenship prior to receiving Medicaid benefits.

 

Response to question at town hall

After the passage of the health care reform bill, Senator Feingold was asked about his position on illegal immigration at a town hall rally. Senator Feingold states that it must be dealt with at the national level.  He then states that there are far too many "undocumented people" in the country, and goes on to use every phrase associated with amnesty that is known.  He refers to the "back of the line", discusses a "fine" to be paid, and makes as clear as possible (without actually stating it) that he supports amnesty.

 

 

Townhall Question

 

Support for the DREAM Act

In September of 2010, Senator Feingold wrote and op-ed noting his support for the DREAM Act and for legislation to assist the children of illegal aliens in the time between their parent's deportation and re-arrival in the country.

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. Russ Feingold voted to table the amendment, and therefore supported the sanctuary city policy.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the DREAM Act.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

Russ Feingold voted in favor of 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Secure Fence Act.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

Russ Feingold voted in favor of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 424; Uniting American Families Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include a "permanent partner" within the scope of such Act. Defines a "permanent partner" as an individual 18 or older who: (1) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 or older in which both individuals intend a lifelong commitment; (2) is financially interdependent with the other individual; (3) is not married to, or in a permanent partnership with, any other individual other than the individual; (4) is unable to contract with the other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act; and (5) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of the other individual. Defines a "permanent partnership" as the relationship existing between two permanent partners.

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-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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