The US Senate has started official debate on a broad immigration amendments proposal that could characterize across-the-board revamp of the United States’ border-control laws in almost 30 years.
Reports say that the Judiciary Committee is holding a meeting to mull over the first set of amendments to the comprehensive legislative proposal drafted by a bipartisan group of eight senators.
Republican Party leaders made efforts to come up with a broad immigration law in order to attract Hispanics and other minorities who reproved the GOP in the 2012 election. Meanwhile, some analysts say that not all Republican leaders are on the same page about the immigration reforms.
Some political observers say that the immigration reform bill will go through remarkable changes in the committee procedure as bipartisan advocates of the amendments on the board are expected to unite against extensive changes to their core proposal.
“I want to know how the bill doesn’t repeat mistakes we’ve made in the past,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the committee who has been skeptical about parts of the legislation, according to The Washington Post. “Since we only do comprehensive immigration reform about once every 25 years, or at least successfully so, we have to get it right . . . so that we don’t have to revisit this issue again.”
According to Senate aides, Thursday’s debate will focus on 40 amendments to the part of the bill that pertains to toughen security along the US-Mexico border. That part is arguable because the immigration legislation lays down that the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US will not be entitled to acquire green cards or US nationality until considerable new resources are spent on border control and workplace safety.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the panel’s chairman, has suggested amendments aimed to entitle foreign-born same-sex partners of US citizens to apply for green cards. However, several Republicans have refused to accept the amendments, which some observers say would torpedo the whole bill by infuriating religious groups and social conservatives.
“Labeling the inclusion of bi-national couples in the immigration bill as toxic is nothing more than a tired, insulting ruse designed to distract attention from their own failure to represent all Americans,” the Human Rights Campaign wrote in a statement, according to NBC Politics.