5/17: Senate Votes on Amendments to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill
- Policy Update: Senate Votes on Amendments to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Billfrom: National Immigration Forum
May 17, 2006Today, the Senate continued its consideration of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Here is a summary of the amendments that have been considered up to now, and their outcomes.
Senate Coalition Stays Together in First Test Votes
Up to now, there have been three votes on amendments that, if passed, would undermine the comprehensive nature of the Senate bill. These amendments have been rejected by the coalition of Republicans and Democrats that have supported comprehensive immigration reform.
As mentioned in yesterday’s update, an amendment offered by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) would have held up the legalization provisions of the bill until after the enforcement provisions were fully implemented. This amendment was rejected, 40 to 55.
Another amendment that was taken up yesterday, offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) would have stripped the temporary worker program from the bill. There was a motion to table that amendment. The motion to table the amendment passed 69 to 28 (killing the amendment).
§ Vote on Motion to Table:
Today, there was an amendment offered by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to strike sections of the bill pertaining to legalization and AgJOBS. This amendment was rejected 33 to 66.
Other Amendments Offered May 16
There was an amendment offered by Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) to make implementation of the temporary worker program and the legalization program dependent on the President determining that these titles will strengthen the national security of the United States . This amendment passed, 79 to 16.
There was an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Bingamen (D-NM) to cap the temporary worker program at 200,000 per year. (The bill would provide for 325,000 visas per year, adjustable up or down, depending on need). A motion to table the amendment failed 18 to 79. The amendment was then accepted by voice vote.
§ Vote on Motion to Table:
There was an amendment offered by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) that would provide more equipment and an additional 1,000 agents to the Border Patrol. The amendment was accepted by voice vote.
Other Amendments Offered May 17
There was an amendment by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that would, among other things, exclude person who have been ordered removed from participation in the legalization program (with provisions for waivers in certain cases). That amendment passed 99 to 0.
An amendment by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) would require the building of "not less than" 370 miles of fence in "high traffic" areas on the border, plus several miles in certain specified areas. This amendment passed 83 to 16. (The vote on this amendment serves to give some idea of how defense against enforcement-only measures would play out, if there were no comprehensive immigration reform legislation.)
There was an amendment offered by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) having to do with the prevailing wage for temporary workers, and bars use of the program if the unemployment rate for persons with a high-school education or less is more than 9%. This amendment was accepted by voice vote.
Voting on amendments will continue tonight and tomorrow.=====================================================National Immigrant Solidarity Network
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