National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


Is The Fix In Or Will The Senate Really Address Immigration Reform On Thursday?

March 16, 2006

Majority Leader and Judiciary Chair Must Allow An Up Or Down Vote On The Fate Of The 12 Million Undocumented

Washington, DCThe Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to continue marking up comprehensive immigration reform tomorrow, having made precious little progress today. Unless something changes, the Committee must complete tomorrow in order to meet the deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)). The question is whether they will have time to vote on the most important issues facing the Committee, especially the disposition of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States.  The following is a statement by Angela Kelley, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization based in Washington.

I hope I am proven wrong on Thursday, but it is certainly beginning to smell like the fix is in to avoid the most important vote facing the Judiciary Committee:  By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll probably know for sure whether a vote on creating a path to legal residency and eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally will happen or not.

Majority Leader Frist has imposed an artificial deadline on the Judiciary Committee’s deliberations.  It is increasingly clear he would prefer not to allow a vote on the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.  He seems inclined to go the route of the House in addressing enforcement and enforcement only. 

Chairman Specter, while saying he wants comprehensive reform and a complete Committee debate, is proceeding as if he has all the time in the world.  It will take forceful leadership to prevent opponents of meaningful reform from running out the clock tomorrow.  We will see if Sen. Specter backs up his rhetoric with action and allows his Committee to address immigration in a comprehensive, rather than a narrow and ineffective, way. 

It will be a tragedy if the Judiciary Committee is denied an opportunity to vote on a plan to give earned legalization and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 


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