Update on Amendments to Senate Immigration Bill

May 25th, 2007

This week, there was a flurry of activity in the Senate over the immigration reform legislation, with many amendments being accepted and defeated.  There still are many harsh, unfair and nonsensical provisions in the legislation that need to be deleted or the legislation will not solve our immigration problems of undocumented workers.

According to the Immigration Forum, the following is a summary of the votes that have occurred so far in the Senate.  It is very upsetting that the Bingaman amendment passed, which cuts the number of Y guest worker visas in half. These visas will allow foreigners to work temporarily in the US and such temporary authorization to work in the US is at the crux of the undocumented worker problem in the US.  By halving the number, we are assured of growing another population of undocumented workers.

Votes on May 22

A Dorgan (D-ND) amendment, to strike the Y temporary worker program, was defeated by a vote of 31 to 65.

Votes on May 23

A Bingaman (D-NM) amendment, to reduce the cap on Y temporary workers to 200,000, was agreed to by a vote of 74 to 24.

A Feinstein (D-CA) -Martinez (D-NJ) amendment, to provide for the protection of unaccompanied minors, was agreed to by voice vote.

A Gregg (R-NH) amendment, to provide even more resources for border enforcement, was agreed to by voice vote.

A Graham (R-SC) amendment, to provide for minimum sentences for those who renter the United States after removal, was agreed to by unanimous consent.

A Leahy (D-VT) amendment, having to do with rules applicable to immigrants employed as dairy workers, was agreed to by unanimous consent.

A Hutchison (R-TX) amendment, providing local officials and the Secretary of Homeland Security greater involvement in decisions regarding the location of border fencing, was agreed to by unanimous consent.

Votes on May 24

An Akaka (D-HI) amendment to exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas was agreed to by a vote of 87 to 9.A Coleman (R-MN) amendment, to bar localities from having policies that bar officials from asking about immigration status in the course of law enforcement or dispensing other services, was defeated by a vote of 48 to 49.

A Dorgan (D-NC) amendment, to sunset the temporary worker program after five years, was rejected by a vote of 48 to 49.

A Sanders (D-VT) amendment, to establish the American Competitiveness Scholarship Program, passed by a vote of 59 to 35.

A Vitter (R-LA) amendment, to strike the legalization program, was defeated by a vote of 29 to 66.