Democrats demonstrated yesterday that they’re open to some Republican attempts to stiffen the bill’s border-security provisions. They rejected more significant revisions.
May 10 -- A Senate panel rejected Republicans’ broadest attempts to add stricter border-security rules to a proposed immigration law, while accepting a change seeking a 90 percent apprehension rate along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a preview of the coming Senate floor fight over the immigration bill, Democrats who control the Senate Judiciary Committee demonstrated yesterday that they’re open to some Republican attempts to stiffen the bill’s border-security provisions. They rejected more significant revisions.
"Be constructive. We are open to change," New York Senator Charles Schumer, one of eight senators who authored the bipartisan proposal, said as the panel began considering amendments. "But don’t make an effort to kill a bill that is the best hope for immigration reform, I believe, that we’ve had in this country."
The plan seeks to balance Democrats’ proposed path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with enough border-security improvements to satisfy Republicans.
The Republican Party is trying to reconnect with Hispanics after President Barack Obama won 71 percent of that group’s votes in the November election.
The bill, S. 744, was proposed by four Senate Republicans and four Democrats. The two Republicans in that group who also serve on the Judiciary Committee -- Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona -- voted against several of the broader amendments offered by fellow party members.
The Judiciary panel yesterday considered what border- security goals must be met before the government would open a path to citizenship. Committee members have filed about 300 proposed amendments, and the panel will continue work on the bill May 14.
Among the rejected amendments was one from Texas Republican Ted Cruz to replace all of the measure’s border-security rules.
"The bill has grave problems when it comes to border security," Cruz said. He said he would insist on putting "real teeth in the border security elements."
Cruz’s proposal, rejected 5-13, would have tripled the number of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border and quadrupled surveillance equipment such as cameras and drones before any prospective citizen could be granted "registered provisional immigrant" status.