Leahy Files Additional Amendments To Immigration Reform Bill

. . . Amendments To Bring Equality To Same-Sex Couples Under Immigration Law And Improve EB-5 Program Are Among Those Filed

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday filed several amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act.  All amendments filed by Committee members will be available later tonight online.

The Committee will meet on Thursday to begin consideration of the bipartisan immigration reform bill.  Among Leahy’s amendments is one that provides equality in immigration law by allowing American citizens who are in long term committed relationships to sponsor their foreign partners for green cards.  Leahy has championed the issue for the last decade through his push for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which was the subject of testimony before the Judiciary Committee in 2009 and just last month.  The amendment Leahy filed today mirrors his legislation, which covers all bi-national permanent partnerships.  Additionally, Leahy filed a separate amendment that provides equal protection to lawfully married bi-national same sex couples that other spouses receive under existing immigration law. 

“For immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” Leahy said.  “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”

Leahy filed the following additional amendments on Tuesday:

  • To make significant improvements to the job-creating EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center program, which has been a proven economic driver in Vermont and other states throughout the country.
  • To ensure that immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes do not wait longer than 180 days to receive their work authorization while their immigration applications are being adjudicated. 
  • To use the $1.5 billion in fencing funding as effectively as possible, ensure transparency and consultation with relevant stakeholders, and add a rule of construction that nothing in the bill authorizes fencing at the Northern Border.  This amendment is offered with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
  • To allow long-term temporary agricultural workers to be accompanied by a child or spouse while working in the United States. 
  • To allow undocumented individuals who register for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI) to pay the fines required under the legislation in installments.

On Monday, Leahy filed an amendment to bar the creation of a land border crossing fee.  All amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 must filed by today at 5 p.m.  The amendments will be posted online ahead of Thursday’s executive business meeting.

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