Judiciary Committee Holds Fourth Markup On Comprehensive Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee resumed consideration Monday of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s immigration laws.  A webcast of today’s executive business meeting, which is in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building, can be viewed online.

More than 300 amendments were filed to the bipartisan bill, a copy of which has been posted online for more than one month.  The Committee, under Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) leadership, has held three markups over the last two weeks and considered 99 amendments offered by Members from both parties.  Monday marks the Committee’s fourth executive business meeting focused on immigration reform, with members beginning the day considering amendments relevant to the interior enforcement provisions in Title III of the bill. 

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 Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary,
On Committee Consideration Of 
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744
May 20, 2013

I will be brief so that we can resume consideration of amendments to the immigration bill.  This is our fourth day considering amendments to this bill.  That is as many sessions as were held when the Committee considered the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986 and reported it by a vote of 12 to 5.  At that time the Committee considered a total of 11 amendments.  We considered twice as many on each of the three days we have met this month, and members of the public have been able to follow our debate by watching our proceedings online and on C-SPAN, and logging on to our Committee website that being updated in real time.  The Committee has voted to accept 67 amendments offered by Senators from both sides of the aisle and from very different attitudes about the bill.   

I thank the Senators serving on this Committee for their cooperation in getting us to where we are today.  We have completed work on two of the four titles and on the important trigger provisions.   Today I want us to complete work on title III, the immigrant visa provisions, so that tomorrow and Wednesday we can concentrate on title II, the fundamental provisions on citizenship.  I believe that given the extensive discussion and debate we have already engaged in during the last two weeks, we should be able to complete Committee consideration of this historic legislation on Wednesday.  To do so, we will need to work extended hours today and tomorrow.  If our work is not completed by Wednesday night, we will continue on Thursday and, if necessary, on Friday. 

I asked at the outset of our work that Senators consider which of their filed amendments they need to offer so that we can make progress.  I renew that request this week.   By and large it has been a good discussion and debate.  We have broken new ground in terms of transparency.  This week is the time for us to complete our task so that all Senators can consider further improvements to comprehensive immigration reform legislation.       


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