Senate Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Not Partisan Legislation

Leahy: Senate Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
Not Partisan Legislation

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, July 6, 2016) – A pair of partisan immigration bills that would harm communities and divert critical resources for law enforcement were defeated in the Senate on Wednesday. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who opposed the measures, challenged Republican leaders to instead work to pass comprehensive immigration reform, just as Democrats did in the last Congress.

“Just over three years ago, the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform. That bill secured the border. It provided an earned path to citizenship that would bring millions out of the shadows. And it reformed and modernized our legal immigration system,” Leahy said.

He added: These partisan bills stand in stark contrast to those carefully crafted reforms. Republican leaders, it appears, prefer an approach inspired by Donald Trump and the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is fueling his campaign.

A broad range of groups representing domestic violence victims, law enforcement leaders, housing and low-income advocates, mayors, faith and civil rights leaders, labor groups, and immigrant rights organizations opposed the bills that were defeated in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Toomey bill undermines basic community policing principles, and it threatens to deny communities needed funding through Community Development Block Grants that fund crime prevention programs and support important public services. The Cruz bill creates two new mandatory minimums that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars and divert valuable resources away from efforts to keep communities safe. Neither bill has been considered by the Judiciary Committee.

“It is troubling that the Majority Leader is seeking a vote on this punitive, partisan bill instead of working to pass the meaningful criminal justice reform bill that has strong bipartisan support. It is yet another example of his willingness to put politics above real solutions,” Leahy said. “The problems plaguing our immigration system demand that we respond thoughtfully and responsibly. We can do better. We owe it to the American public to do better.”

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