Chambliss: We’ll tackle immigration

By Dave Williams, Gwinnett Daily Post, August 12, 2005

LAWRENCEVILLE — Congress needs to find middle ground on immigration reform between deporting illegal immigrants and giving them a blanket amnesty, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Thursday.

The Senate will take up competing bills on the issue when lawmakers return after Labor Day from their August recess, the Georgia Republican said during a meeting with Gwinnett Daily Post reporters and editors.

“We can’t simply close our borders. We don’t have the manpower to do that,” he said. “If (illegal immigrants) are here for the right reason, let’s figure out some kind of accommodation.”

With the tide of illegal immigration into Georgia and other parts of the nation showing no signs of receding, the issue is expected to be on the front burner in next year’s congressional elections....

“You can’t go to a construction site or carpet plant and not find a significant work force made up of illegal immigrants,” said Chambliss. “Sticking your head in the sand means our children will have tenfold the problems we have.”

But state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, chief sponsor of the package of immigration reform bills introduced in the Georgia Senate last winter, said giving illegal immigrants even temporary amnesty to work in the U.S. sends the wrong message.

“It’s easy for us to sit back and say they’re doing jobs other people don’t want to do,” he said. “(But) we cannot have a system that rewards people for breaking the law.”

Jimmy Herchek of Suwanee, a member of Georgians for Immigration Reduction and editor of the Citizenship Matters newsletter, said illegal immigrants won’t be motivated to seek blue cards until stricter law enforcement makes it more likely that they will be caught....

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