WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up weeks of work on immigration reform by passing S. 744 the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5 last night. At the end of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy said, "The dysfunction in our current immigration system affects all of us and it is long past time for reform. I hope that our history, our values, and our decency can inspire us finally to take action," as he successfully concluded an unprecedented effort to open the immigration reform process to the public by making all amendments available online.
"At the outset of this process, the Senate Judiciary Committee faced 300 amendments filed by Senators, only some of which would have improved our immigration system. For the most part, Senators stood firm against a number of detrimental proposals that, if accepted, would have yanked our immigration system backward," said American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) President, Laura Lichter. She continued, "We applaud wholeheartedly the efforts of the four "Gang of Eight" members on the committee who helped ensure the core principles of the reform bill were essentially maintained."
As attention turns to the Senate floor where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed to bring up the bill quickly, AILA remains committed to supporting amendments that would ensure all families can reunite with their loved ones, including the siblings of U.S. citizens and LGBT/same-sex families, as well as protect businesses and workers and maintain our country's commitment to the ideals of equal rights and due process.
"This next week, during Memorial Day recess, the American people need to make sure their voices are heard by calling on their Senators to support a balanced bill on the Senate floor and withstand the efforts of obstructionists who would offer destructive amendments that only serve to undermine this carefully wrought bipartisan framework. We need the Senate to pass immigration reform that will meet our country's economic needs and reflects our nation's values," concluded Ms. Lichter.