CHEYENNE — Wyoming’s U.S. senators voted against the Senate immigration reform bill Thursday on grounds it is the wrong tool to fix the problem.
The Senate passed the immigration reform bill by a vote of 68 to 32, although it could stall in the House.
In a joint media release, Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso said the bill fails to address too many key issues.
For reform to work, “we must have a strong, workable employment verification system in place,” the Wyoming senators said in the release. “If we can ensure that only legal job seekers gain employment in this country, then we remove the incentive for illegal immigration.”
The bill also fails to prevent noncitizens from receiving welfare and tax benefits and fails to fully address border security and border enforcement, the senators said.
U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said the first step toward immigration reform is to secure the border.
“I applaud Sens. Enzi and Barrasso for their votes against this bill,” Lummis said in the senators’ release. “Wyoming people have made clear to me that securing the southern border is a precondition to comprehensive immigration reform. And they’re right.”
Lummis went on to say that U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has said the House will not take up the Senate’s bill and will produce its own instead.