Monday, June 4, 2007

This week's upcoming immigration fight

The Senate spent most of today's afternoon session on little more than a series of long-winded speeches in attempts to set the stage for this weeks upcoming immigration fight.

Tomorrow morning the main event should resume with a series debates on proposed amendments and voting.

With the defeat of the Vitter (R-LA) amendment to strike title VI from the bill by a vote of 29-66 and the Dorgan (D-ND) amendment to kill the Y-visa program by a vote of 31-64 during the first week of debate, it's appearing as though the bill's opponents will not be able to muster the needed votes to kill this legislation in the Senate.

Having tested the two most controversial aspects of the bill, the earned legalization provisions that have been characterized as "amnesty" by the right, and the guest worker program opposed by those on both sides of the debate - and failed on both accounts - it looks highly unlikely that opponents will be able to stop the bill on lesser grounds.

Not surprisingly, the World Street Journal reported this past weekend that business interests have now moved their lobbying efforts over to the House.

In a further sign that passage is expected, business lobbyists and others seeking changes in the bill already were starting to make their cases in the House, which would take up the issue after Senate passage. The Bush administration was pushing hard for a top business priority: increasing the number of laborers who would be allowed in each year under a new temporary-worker program.


The same is true of those on the left looking to modify the legislation. The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) has advised that while still working to make the Senate bill more palatable through the amendment process, it is now the House that should become the center of focus.

The debate on and the amendments to the "grand bargain" in the Senate will continue this week, but shortly the debate will move to the House. In reality, this is where we will have more leverage. The main focus of our attention should be on the House Subcommittee on Immigration, chaired by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.


Yet with that said, there are still many important amendments to be considered by the Senate, and they will be taking up 14 of them in the next few days...some the bill's architect, Jon Kyl (R-AZ), characterized today as deal breakers.

This weeks upcoming amendments

Those highlighted in red are highly troubling and should be opposed by all looking for meaningful progressive reform

  1. Grassley 1166 - This amendment would broaden the restriction on judicial review of visa revocations. Currently, judicial review of visa revocation is already severely restricted. Judicial review is, however, permitted in the context of removal proceedings if the revocation is the sole ground for removal.

  2. Cornyn 1184 - The amendment severely limits who would be eligible for legalization programs. Makes anyone who is inadmissible under 212(a) ineligible for the legalization program. This is virtually the entire undocumented population. Also makes ineligible anyone unlawfully present for one year or more and subsequently reentered. Significantly expands class of “Aggravated Felony” crimes and makes them retroactive. Gives the AG unreviewable discretion to use secret evidence to determine if an alien is ‘described in’ the national security exclusions within immigration law. Adds new grounds of deportability for convictions relating to social security account numbers or social security cards and convictions relating to identity fraud

  3. Dodd-Menendez 1199 - amendment would undo damage in the compromise that makes it more difficult for the parents of U.S. citizens to obtain a visa. The compromise would place a limit on the number of visas for parents at roughly half the current usage. The amendment retains the limitation but raises it to 90,000 visas per year or roughly the current usage.

  4. Menendez-Hagel 1194 - to extend the date for those eligible for back-log reduction green cards from May 2005 to Jan. 2007 to ensure that the entire family backlog already in line to become legal permanent residents will get addressed. The current bill would essentially toss out all applications filed after May 2005. Also calls for increased quotas in all categories (family based, employment based, and asylum/refugee) of green cards set aside for back-log reduction.

  5. McConnell 1170 - Each State shall require individuals casting ballots in an election for Federal office in person to present a current valid photo identification issued by a governmental entity before voting. Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) on and after January 1, 2008

  6. Feingold 1176 – to set up a commission on wartime treatment of European Americans of Italian and German decent during WWII and a commission to address the wartime treatment of Jewish refugees during WWII.

  7. Durbin-Grassley 1231 - to require all employers seeking a Y worker to first attempt to recruit US workers. Removes exemptions for employers in occupations and areas that the DOL has determined there is a shortage of US workers.

  8. Sessions 1234 - to deny Earned Income Tax Credit to Y and Z visa holders paying back taxes.

  9. Sessions 1235 - to deny Earned Income Tax Credit to legal immigrants with less than five years in the US,

  10. Lieberman 1191 - to improve treatment of immigrants seeking asylum and to establish clear standards for treatment of immigrants in detention.

  11. Allard 1189 - to remove the supplemental schedule for merit-based points for Z visa holders that gives credit for past employment, home ownership and having medical insurance when applying for green cards. In essence would eliminate the majority of Z visa holders from eventually obtaining permanent residency.

  12. Cornyn 1250 - removes the confidentiality protections for legalization applicants and orders the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to provide the information furnished in applications filed under section 601 and 602, and any other information derived from such furnished information, to any law enforcement entity, intelligence agency, national security agency, component of the Department of Homeland Security, court, or grand jury in connection with a criminal or civil investigation.

  13. Clinton-Hagel 1183 - to ensure that the spouses and children of legal permanent immigrants can immigrant into the United States to be with their family members.

  14. Obama-Menendez 1202 - to sunset the point system after five years. The Senate never had the opportunity to debate the system out in the open; the result is a proposal that would gut family-sponsored immigration

Call your Senators – 1-800-417-7666 in English or 1-800-882-2005 en Espanol


Grassley (#1166) abolishing judicial review on visa revocations made by the Secretary of State. Agreed to by unanimous consent on 6/4/07

Allard (#1189) to remove the supplemental schedule for merit-based points for Z visa holders. Failed by vote of 62-31 on 6/5/07

Durbin-Grassley (#1231) to require all employers seeking a Y worker to first attempt to recruit US workers. Passed 71-22 on 6/5/07

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here are my thoughts as a conservative republican that favor the Senate Bill

(1)I hate to be crass and uncaring but the Senator from Wyoming has died. GOd bless his service. I think he was against this bill. What , is the politics of that. Does the Senate proceed on this vote until or wait? If not handled carefully this could be a PR disaster

(2) I am very unclear what the end game is here with the more liberal groups on this. It seems to me that you got to keep the Republicans on board. THis is so fragile that the whole thing can collapse. I hope that the liberal interest in reform realize that. If you don't get 60 votes in the Senate what is the point? IT fails. Republicans that stook their neck out might have nothing to show for it and be replaced by much more restricitve GOPERS. I also get the sense it is this year or we shall not see this for a long time. IF the Liberal groups wish a less restrictive bill what is their plan for getting those 11 votes to get to 60.

(3)Why is Hillary talking to High Tech groups trying indicating that they may need to seperate the HIght Tech Visa issue. Why are not people outraged. THat could scuttle the whole thing

(4) What is up in the House. What is Republican Rep Flake up too. How many Republican votes can be lined up. IS Pelosi serious about having to have at least 60 GOPERS

(5) Again if people think that the Senate Bill is too tough can anyone name the GOP Senators that can get a more liberal bill to 60? What Democrats Senator will be against this.

Just questions I having trouble finding.

A bill needs to be passed. People need to take a lesson from Reagan. Get 60 percent of what you want today battle for the other 40 tommorrow

Anyway I would like to here some thoughts on this