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Breaking down the 15 'nay' votes on immigration

On Tuesday, the bipartisan immigration legislation moving through the Senate cleared its first hurdle, with 82 senators -- including 28 Republicans -- voting for the cloture motion to proceed on the bill.

But 15 senators -- all Republicans -- voted against the motion. Strikingly, with just two exceptions, each of these "nay" senators hail from states with Latino populations less than the national average (about 16 percent).

The two exceptions: Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

Here are the 15 "nay" votes:

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Percentage of Hispanic in Wyoming: 9%
2012 state vote: Romney

“Senator Barrasso strongly supports reforming our immigration system and Senator Rubio deserves a tremendous amount of credit for proposing serious reforms that are very difficult and contentious.
Senator Barrasso believes the current bill gets many things right.  However more has to be done to guarantee stronger border enforcement and effective triggers before he can support it.  Senator Barrasso will be actively working on the bill as it moves forward to strengthen those provisions,” said Laura Mengelkamp, a spokesperson for Sen. Barrasso.

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Arkansas Hispanic population: 6%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

Sara Lasure, a spokesperson for Sen. Boozman said on Tuesday, “Senator Boozman has serious concerns that the border security component of the bill is not strong enough and that the language in this bill will lead to amnesty so as it is currently written he will not support it.”

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Idaho Hispanic population: 11%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

Although Sen. Crapo not yet released an official public statement, on Tuesday afternoon, he tweeted, “The U.S. Senate is officially considering the Immigration Reform bill. We need an open amendment process and significant changes must occur before I could support the bill. I will continue to evaluate the 1,944 page bill and welcome your input.”
 
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Texas Hispanic Population: 38%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

In his floor speech yesterday, Sen. Cruz said, “As written, this bill will not pass into law. And if this bill did become law, it would not solve the problem. Indeed, it would make the problem of illegal immigration that we have today worse rather than better… I very much hope we work together in a bipartisan manner to fix this problem in a way that secures the border, in a way that respects rule of law and in a way that improves legal immigration so we remain a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants.”

Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
Wyoming Hispanic Population: 9%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

A press release from Sen. Enzi’s office released yesterday reads, “The Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill gives everyone something to disagree with, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who would like to see more emphasis on E-Verify, border security and other measures in the bill… Enzi opposes amnesty and in addition to border enforcement and security, wants guest worker programs that work, ‘from sheep herding to high tech engineers.’”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Iowa Hispanic population: 5%
2012 presidential vote: Obama

“It seems as though the rhetoric was spot on, but the details were dubious. What they professed --- that the border would be secured and that people would earn their legal status – was not what the bill actually did. The bill, as drafted, is legalization first, border security and tracking visa overstays later, if at all,” Sen. Grassley said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Oklahoma Hispanic Population: 9%
2012 presidential vote: Romney
“This is an amnesty bill that fails to address the serious problems and dire need for reform that is plaguing the U.S. immigration system," said Inhofe on Tuesday. "We must effectively secure our borders. The Department of Homeland Security has already proven itself incapable of properly securing the border, and the arbitrary triggers in this proposal allow the administration to certify that the borders are secure without any oversight from Congress.  This proposal contains provisions that would allow illegal aliens to obtain citizenship in as little as 13 years while many current legal immigrants must already wait for much longer. Furthermore, the fence alone cannot prevent illegal entry of immigrants, and we must eliminate the availability of entitlements and other public assistance resources that attract and keep these individuals inside the United States. In many instances, the current proposal before the Senate may weaken current law and therefore I cannot support it."

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Illinois Hispanic Population: 16%
2012 presidential vote: Obama

“Senator Kirk believes that the border security provisions in the current bill are inadequate.  He hoped to see a bipartisan strategy to strengthen border security first, before moving forward.  Instead, it appears the Senate approach is once again falling along partisan lines,” said a spokesperson for Sen. Kirk on Wednesday morning.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Utah Hispanic Population: 13%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

“Among the many problems with the bill, the proposal provides immediate legalization without securing the border; rewards criminal aliens, absconders, and deportees and undermines law enforcement; contains national security loopholes and facilitates fraud in our immigration system; creates no real penalties for illegal immigrants and rewards them with entitlements; delays for years the implementation of E-Verify; and does not fix our legal immigration system…I firmly believe that we can achieve real comprehensive reform without having to pass another thousand-page bill full of loopholes, carve-outs, and unintended consequences. In fact, the only way to guarantee successful reform of the entire system, and ensure we are not repeating the mistakes of the past, is through a series of incremental steps that ensure the foundational pieces — like border security and an effective entry-exit system — are done properly,” Sen. Lee noted in an Op-Ed piece that he wrote for the KSL-TV website.

Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID)
Idaho Hispanic Population: 11%
2012 presidential vote: Romney
Suzanne Bottorff, the Press Secretary  for Sen. Risch says that the senator has yet to release a public statement on the issue.  However, Risch made an appearance Tuesday night on the Nate Shelman show to discuss his decision:
http://cdn.stationcaster.com/stations/kboi/media/mpeg/The_Nate_Shelman_Show-1371001726.mp3

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Kansas Hispanic Population: 11%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 
South Carolina Hispanic Population: 5%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

“Our immigration system is broken, and needs to be fixed.  That process should start with securing the border, enforcing existing laws, and creating a workable, efficient system for future immigrants.  Unfortunately, the sweeping approach of the Senate bill limits our ability to tackle these issues in a targeted, responsible way. We see the failures of that approach every day as Americans struggle to digest the complexities of laws like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.  While I cannot support the current legislation, I am hopeful in the future we can move forward with a more tailored plan that accomplishes meaningful reform,” Senator Tim Scott stated publically.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Alabama Hispanic Population: 4%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

Sen. Jeff Sessions has publically expressed two reasons why he is choosing to oppose comprehensive immigration reform at this time: “The Senators didn’t write this. [The special interests] knew exactly what they were doing. They were putting in numbers to get certain workers that businesses wanted so they could have more employees and they could keep wages down. That was what the scheme was,” he said on Tuesday.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL)
Alabama Hispanic Population: 4%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

Jonathan Graffeo, Shelby’s press secretary said, “He’s been voting against amnesty since the 1980’s, and will continue to do so.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Louisiana Hispanic Population: 4%
2012 presidential vote: Romney

“The big threat is that Senator Cornyn's amendment could pass the bill but definitely won’t fix it,” Vitter said. “To be effective, his security 'triggers' must occur before any legalization takes place, not after. We must ensure that real enforcement is in place, working, verified BEFORE any adjustment of citizenship status happens. It's also important for Congress to be the judge of whether the border had been secured, not the Administration, which would certify that the borders are secure enough today.”