Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released the following statement on the Senates passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Our current immigration laws are broken, and we need tough, smart and comprehensive reform. The bill that passed the Senate today is not perfect, but it takes important steps towards securing our borders in a way that is tough and smart.

This bill will add thousands of new Border Patrol agents, increase the use of aerial vehicles and sensors on the border, and toughen penalties for those caught evading immigration officers or smuggling people across the border. It will crack down on companies that illegally hire undocumented workers, something that is long overdue. And it will reflect economic realities by creating a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants if they pay a fine, learn English, undergo a criminal background check, and go to the back of the line.

The Senate bill will now go to a conference committee with a bill passed by the House that would turn rape crisis counselors, members of the clergy, and aid workers into felons simply for providing humanitarian assistance to undocumented immigrants. That bill does not reflect the values of the America I know, and I hope the conference committee will produce a final bill that does.

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