Immigration Reform: Where we Stand Today


While visas are not quite complete, a few amendments addressed Tuesday and Thursday helped to close loopholes, like those seen in the Boston bombing, while others worked to protect workers.

An amendment by Grassley which requires student visa information to be shared with Customs and Border Patrol was one of the quickest to pass.

"This will plug the loophole in terms of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing," Schumer said. "Our bill is making things better in terms of vigilance against terrorism."

An amendment introduced by Schumer passed allowing low-skilled workers the ability to leave a job and move to another one through a registry that will be created that will post available positions.

And perhaps the biggest news in the Senate is what has not happened. Amendments many say were designed to kill the bill by placing mandatory security triggers before beginning a pathway to citizenship have not passed.

The biggest culprit say critics is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose amendment that would have dramatically restricted future flow of immigration by limiting "the number of nonimmigrant aliens who may be authorized for employment in the United States" was voted down 17-1.

Sessions argued that restrictions needed to be made to ensure jobs for native born.

Fellow Republican Lindsey Graham countered citing the vast number of baby boomers who will be retiring in the near future and the need for immigrants to fill the void that will be left.

In the House, its own separate "gang of 8" shook hands over hoagie sandwiches Thursday, agreeing in principle to a similar but harsher list of immigration priorities. That agreement is now expected to be put on paper next week and formally introduced after the Memorial Day recess.

It is expected to be farther to the right than the Senate bill, leading to a compromise which many believe could come to a vote in the fall session.

Lightening speed in Congress, but motivated by Democratic Party promises to the Latino community and a desire by the GOP to talk about something, anything else before the mid-term elections.

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