Chambliss said in a press release issued late Monday that he regretted his flight delay prevented him from voting against ending debate on the bill.
“We all know our immigration system is broken and we need to fix it,” Chambliss said. “However, we should be having a full and open debate on solutions, not rushing to finish the bill before Sen. Reid’s artificial deadline. I have serious concerns with several provisions in the bill including border security, interior enforcement, and the program designed to address our agricultural labor workforce, and until those concerns are addressed I cannot support limiting debate.”
Isakson said in the same press release that he also regrets the missed vote, which he blamed on his first flight being canceled and second flight delayed by bad weather.
“Had I been here for the vote, I would have voted ‘no’ on this motion to end debate on this amendment,” Isakson said. “While I appreciate and applaud the vast improvements in the border security provisions, I feel there were still too many waivers and other loopholes that could have allowed green cards to be issued before our nation’s borders were truly secured.”
Sue Everhart of east Cobb, who stepped down in May after six years as chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party, knows Chambliss and Isakson better than most. Everhart said she had no cause to doubt the reasons they gave for missing the vote.
“This could very easily be verified,” Everhart said. “I’ve never known either one of them to be men that lied, so I would say they told the truth.”
Everhart said she would like to see more debate on the immigration issue as well.
“We’ve got to do something to control this immigration, but the first thing we’ve got to do to me is control the borders, and of course I’m no longer chairman of the party, so whatever I say doesn’t mean anything, but there will be I’m sure some kind of road to citizenship for some people,” Everhart said.
The country has struggled with immigration problems since the 1930s, Everhart said.
“I wasn’t alive then, but Congress was warned to do something about it, and they let it fester for all these years, and it’s like anything,” Everhart said, using the example of what happens when she lets things pile up around her house and it gets out of hand.
“I think what’s happened to Congress is they’re worried about getting reelected rather than worry about addressing it until we’ve reached the point that nobody knows what to do,” Everhart said.
Rich Pellegrino of Austell, director of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, wants to see the U.S. Senate pass the bill.
“We can’t let perfection be the enemy of good, and there are certainly things in the bill that to me are bloated — you know, money spent for border security etc., but generally, I think it’s a good framework to begin the process, so I want to see it advance as quick as possible so that the House can then decide what they’re going to do.”
The final version of the bill will end up in the House anyway, Pellegrino said.
“So I’m anxious for it to get to the House, and yes, definitely I want our senators, and I have spent time at their offices urging them to support this bipartisan effort not only because immigration but also the fact that this is the only major legislation that we can see in the near future where there is a chance for bipartisan cooperation, and to provide the example for Americans that we can work together on different sides of the aisles,” Pellegrino said.