Retiring Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) used his farewell address on the Senate floor today to lament the failure of Washington to fix our badly broken immigration system, an issue he championed during his time in Congress. Too bad Mel’s replacement, George LeMieux, is already unveiling an immigration stance at odds with the more moderate Martinez approach— and with Republicans’ long-term interests, for that matter.
Today Sen. Martinez invoked President Ronald Reagan during his farewell speech, saying,
“…if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.” I believe those words to be as true today as they were then. Although the [immigration] bill didn’t make it across the finish line, I’m proud of the progress that was made. I hope Congress can one day reach consensus on the issue because fixing our nation’s broken immigration system remains a national imperative.”
Sen. Martinez also spoke about the need to put differences aside to solve tough problems, about his experiences working with the late Senator Ted Kennedy in a bipartisan manner. He stated:
Senator Ted Kennedy has played an integral part in this institution and I’m saddened by his death. It was an honor to work with him, closely with him on immigration. While we often disagreed, he was a man of his word and always ready to get something done. I always admired his ability to put differences aside and find consensus on some of the most important issues facing our nation. His work on immigration was no exception.