March 08, 2005

Craig, Crapo Vote To Uphold U.S. Sovereignty On Immigration

Both vote â??nayâ?? on trade agreements they felt were negotiated improperly

WASHINGTON, DC - Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo voted â??nayâ?? yesterday on H.R. 2758, the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which passed the Senate by a vote of 66-31, and H.R. 2739, the U.S.-Singapore FTA which passed the Senate by a vote of 66-32. Both Senators feel that free and fair trade is important to the U.S. economy, but expressed serious concern that these two agreements contained improperly negotiated language that would potentially subject U.S. immigration law to international tribunals. In a post September 11th world, Congress is constantly reviewing and reforming immigration laws to further protect this nation. Craig and Crapo have concerns that Congressâ?? hands are tied should it feel it is necessary to suspend or modify any of the immigration provisions included within these two FTAâ??s - without incidentally violating the agreements in their entirety. â??Any violation of these free trade agreements would subject the U.S. immigration laws contained within them to an international court -- something I strongly believe infringes upon the sovereignty of our laws,â?? Senator Craig said. â??It is truly unfortunate that our unelected Trade Representative stepped outside his purview and included immigration laws into these un-amendable treaties. I simply cannot live with the fact that should another tragic event occur in this nation, that Congressâ?? hands are tied in regards to immigration laws contained within these FTAâ??s. It is truly sad because there are many beneficial items included within them that I support. At this time, however, I could not turn a blind eye to the potential national security constraints placed on Congress in these agreements.â??â??Free and fair trade is an important factor in restoring the economies of the nation and Idaho,â?? Senator Crapo said. â??However, Congress must act to protect the sovereignty of our country, and my votes reflected my concerns that these measures would take away Congressâ?? ability to determine immigration law. Under the trade negotiations with Chile and Singapore, our trade representatives negotiated immigration provisions that will arguably benefit many in our U.S. industry, even some companies within Idaho. These provisions could not be changed once voted into law. The safeguards that were placed in these measures were minimal, and could ultimately cause an additional international problem. Such trade laws should be left off the table in trade negotiations, and should be left up to Congress to decide. If the immigration laws should be changed, then Congress should hold hearings and debate the matter rather than leaving it up to trade negotiators. Free and fair trade is too important a key to our economic future for us to add in such controversial elements.â??###