04.10.13

Leahy Continues To Lead Open Process For Immigration Reform

[Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the Committee’s process for considering comprehensive immigration reform this spring. Leahy has consistently said he will lead an open and inclusive process. The Committee has so far this year heard from 16 witnesses, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, over the course of three hearings, and will next week hear further testimony from Napolitano and an additional panel of witnesses at a fourth hearing focusing on legislation to reform the Nation’s immigration system.]

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“After meeting with the Gang of Eight yesterday, I was assured that they would release legislative language in a few days.  I have received letters requesting a hearing on their proposal, and at least one member of the group mentioned the need to bring Secretary Napolitano back to the Committee to comment on the proposal.  Today, I noticed a Judiciary Committee hearing for next Wednesday with Secretary Napolitano.  I appreciate her willingness to return just a few weeks after her last appearance, and while she is juggling other congressional appearances before other committees. 

“Under the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee, notice of any future hearing is required one week in advance.  I trust and expect that we will have legislative language to review by the time of the hearing.  I also expect that members will have additional witnesses they would like to call for what is a fourth hearing on immigration reform and I am happy to receive those requests.  Members of the Committee will be able to ask witnesses about various provisions of the proposal and the American people will be able to watch the public proceedings streamed live on our Committee website, just as they have been able to watch our previous immigration hearings.

“Despite the progress that the bipartisan group of Senators is making, and despite my announcement of yet another immigration hearing, it is clear to me that some opponents of immigration reform will never be satisfied and will attempt to delay this process no matter how we proceed.  I have reviewed past efforts to reform our immigration system when Republicans were in control of the Senate and the White House.  I plan to follow a similar process this year.  It will be transparent and thorough, but those who are condemning consideration of legislation before it is even begun have apparently decided that no process will be enough on such a vital and bipartisan effort.”

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