This Week Begins Amendment Phase of Immigration Reform

On Tuesday, the amendments proposed for the Senate immigration reform bill will be posted online. There will be more than a hundred amendments to make the bill more conservative and several dozen to make it more liberal.

The focus for immigrant rights supporters will not be to get the most pro-immigrant bill possible, but to get the most pro-immigrant bill that can pass.

The “Gang of Eight” bill was the product of a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. Any changes to the basic structure of that deal risks blowing up the bill and ending the immigration reform effort, so do not expect any successful effort to restore the Diversity Visa Lottery or to eliminate the new employment-based visas.

There is a possibility that immigration marriage equality may be added, but some Republicans say they will vote against the bill if that happens. The bill will need at least ten Republicans to pass.

On Thursday, mark-up on the bill will begin. This is the process of discussing and voting on amendments by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

New Yorkers will be represented on the committee by Senator Chuck Schumer. Mark-up will take about two weeks. We’ll be watching the amendment process closely and we will let you know when to contact your senators about proposed changes. In most cases, you may only have a few hours to weigh-in.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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