Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Amended Immigration Bill

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The approval of the amended immigration reform bill Tuesday night by the Senate Judiciary Committee signals a major step forward. With three Republicans joining the committee’s Democrats in supporting the bill, the legislation now moves to the Senate floor.

A number of improvements were made to the bill by the committee, but a proposal to end discrimination against same-sex couples was withdrawn when Republicans threatened to abandon the bill if discrimination against LGBT couples was ended.

Attempts by some conservatives to make the “path to citizenship” even tougher failed, as Republican moderates and Democrats voted together to keep the bill intact. At least ten Republican votes will be needed to pass the bill, and it looks as though at least 5 are now on board. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch signed on for reform today. Senator McCain says he believes that as many as 20 Republicans may vote for reform when it comes up before the full Senate. Republican leader Mitch McConnell says he will not use procedural gimmicks to block a vote.

While many of us are disappointed with different aspects of the compromise, we need to understand that this is the most pro-immigrant bill we are likely to get. It is extremely important that we “own the bill” and press for it to pass the Senate without further restrictions.

It is also a good time to give our own Chuck Schumer a pat on the back. He has been working toward this day for three years. Please call him at 202-224-6542 and thank him for making a Senate vote possible.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is Director of Legal Services at CARECEN and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra University. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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