On June 13, 2013, the United States Senate voted to block Senator Grassley’s amendment 1195, which would prohibit the granting of Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status until the Secretary has maintained effective control of the borders for 6 months. The amendment was successfully tabled (essentially killed) on a 57-43 vote.
At the end of that vote Senator Reid announced that because the minority party had objected to the amendment agreement, there would be no more votes for the rest of the week and that they would reconvene on Monday, June 17. He also indicated that Senators should be prepared to work through next weekend (June 22 and 23) in order to pass the bill before the end of the month.
Here are a few highlights from the debate, provided by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):
- Senator Schumer (D-NY): This amendment would delay legalization for the 11 million people for 5-6 years. What do we do until then, what are we telling those 11 million? That if you hide successfully from the police then maybe 6 years from now you can have the right to work and to travel. This will clearly unravel the compromise of the bill. This amendment is opposed by all eight members of the “Gang of Eight.”
- Senator Leahy (D-VT): The pathway to citizenship must be earned, but it also must be attainable.
- Senator Grassley (R-IA): We were promised a fair and transparent process. This move to table the bill is the opposite of that. We were promised border security after the amnesty bill in the 1980s, and we never got that. If we allow the RPI process to go through there will be no pressure on this or future administrations to get the job done to secure the border.
On June 12, 2013, Senators took the floor to make opening statements and statements in support of various amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (widely known as immigration reform). The three biggest debates included: Senator Cornyn’s (R-TX) border security/trigger amendment (RESULTS Act), which saw Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Schumer (D-NY) fighting back against Senator Cornyn as he made his case; Senator Hatch’s amendments on limiting eligibility to public services for all immigrants and requiring payment of all back taxes while also limiting access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for RPIs; and the debate between the majority and minority party on how many votes amendments will require to pass (60 or 51).
Originally published on AILA website.
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