Leahy Files Amendments To Immigration Reform Bill

. . . Amendments To Bring Equality To Same-Sex Couples Under Immigration Law And Promote Family Unity Among Those Filed

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday filed three amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, including an amendment to provide equal protection to lawfully married bi-national same sex couples that other spouses receive under existing immigration law. 

Leahy said such an amendment, which can be viewed online, would “remove discrimination from our immigration system.”

“Seeking equal protection under our laws for the LGBT community, is the right thing to do,” Leahy said, noting “I withheld my anti-discrimination amendment during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. As the entire Senate turns to debate the immigration bill, the fight for equality must go on.”

The Senate voted 84-15 Tuesday to proceed to the comprehensive immigration reform bill, which Leahy is managing on the floor.  The sweeping legislation was the subject of five markups in the Judiciary Committee, which has held six hearings on immigration reform this year.  With floor debate in the full Senate underway, Leahy filed two additional amendments Tuesday.

  • To allow long-term temporary agricultural workers to be accompanied by a child or spouse while working in the United States, extending a right already granted in the immigration bill to individuals in the country on non-agricultural temporary work visas.  Leahy filed the same amendment during last month’s Committee consideration of immigration reform.
  • To ensure that American non-profit performing arts organizations have a predictable and reliable process for the required temporary visa foreign performers need to perform in the United States.   This bipartisan amendment was filed with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

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