The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

May 9, 2013

Senators defeat border security provision

WASHINGTON —  Bipartisan authors of a sweeping immigration bill agreed to Republican-authored amendments to boost border security, as they tried Thursday to show they're open to changes to attract more GOP support for their landmark legislation.

The bill's authors also stuck together to defeat a Republican amendment that would have barred anyone from seeking citizenship until the U.S.-Mexico border had been secured for six months. Supporters of the bill charged that the real effect of that provision would have been to delay citizenship indefinitely for the estimated 11 million people living here illegally.

The fast-paced action unfolded as the Judiciary Committee convened the first of what's expected to be two weeks of meetings to plow through some 300 amendments to the legislation backed by President Barack Obama to remake the nation's immigration laws. The bill would toughen border security, overhaul legal immigration to allow tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country, require all employers to check their workers' immigration status and create a 13-year path to citizenship for the millions already here.

The debate and votes Thursday provided a window into the possibilities and challenges before the immigration bill as it faces an uncertain fate on the Senate floor in June and then in the GOP-controlled House. A handful of Republican senators appeared unwavering in opposition. In his opening comments, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, charged that the bill does little more than repeat mistakes of the past.

"It falls short of what I want to see in a strong immigration reform bill, so you will hear me say many times that we shouldn't make the same mistakes that we made in 1986," the last time Congress passed a major immigration overhaul bill, Grassley said. "You'll hear me say many times that we ought to move ahead with a bill that does it right this time."

Supporters of the bill countered that the legislation represents the country's best hope to change the immigration system and a chance to break through the partisanship that's riven Congress and the country. They pleaded with opponents and senators who might be wavering to give the bill a chance and try to improve it — not just look to kill it.

"We have come up with a fair bill where no one gets everything they want, but at the end of the day, it will mean dramatic improvement for the American economy, the American people, and will make our immigration policy much more in sync with what is good for jobs and America," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the bill's eight authors.

The bill survived an early test as the committee voted 12-6 to defeat a Grassley amendment to require border security for six months before legalization programs could begin. Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted with Democrats to bring it down. Flake and Graham are among the Republican authors of the bill.

"This amendment would set a standard that basically would delay, probably forever, any legalization, bringing people out of the shadows," said Schumer.

Grassley said the goal was to ensure real border security, something he charged the bill lacks.

"If we pass the bill as-is, there will be no pressure on this administration or future administrations to secure the border," he said.

But in a concession by Democrats, the committee agreed to a Grassley amendment to require that new border security standards in the bill — calling for 90 percent of would-be crossers to be stopped or turned back — must apply to the entire southern border, not just "high-risk" sectors with the most crossings as the bill now says. Schumer called it a positive change, and the committee agreed to it by voice vote.

The bill was written during months of private negotiations by eight senators equally divided between the two parties. Four of these lawmakers sit on the Judiciary Committee — Schumer, Graham, Flake and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — and the focus was on them Thursday to see if they would stick together to defeat amendments from either side that could strike at the bill's central provisions, upending the fragile compromises at its core.

The vote on the Grassley amendment requiring six-month control of the border before unauthorized immigrants could begin to legalize their status was likely the first of several in which the Republican authors sided with Democrats on the committee to vote down amendments from their own side. Schumer and Durbin also are expected to lend their votes to the Republican side to defeat Democratic amendments that could improve the bill for immigrant families, but cost Republican support.

Although the bill allows citizenship to go forward only after certain border security goals have been met, those "triggers" haven't proven convincing enough for many GOP lawmakers, and even one of the bill's authors, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has said border measures need to be stronger. Although Rubio does not sit on the Judiciary Committee, he has pushed for some changes to be accepted, and the authors of the bill who do sit on the committee were going along with some of them Thursday.

The committee also agreed to Grassley amendments to require more auditing of money collected under the bill, and to an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to add certain forms of trafficking in persons to a the list of violent crimes that must be reported by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

An amendment by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to give Congress a bigger role in signing off on border security steps in the bill was defeated.

Altogether, the committee approved 15 and defeated two amendments Thursday before breaking for lunch.

__

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Indianapolis police officer kills ex-wife, self

    Authorities say an Indianapolis police officer shot and killed his estranged wife, also an officer, and then turned the gun on himself.

    April 18, 2014

  • news_homesickforprison.jpg Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3½ years

    An ex-con who spent most of his adult life behind bars on Thursday got what he said he wanted for robbing a suburban Chicago bank. The 74-year-old gets to go back to the place he called home — prison.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gay Marriage Utah [Duplicate] Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_obamalocalschools.jpg Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

    Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0107 Super WAL-MART 1 Wal-Mart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

    The world's largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ukraineprotests.jpg Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

    Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_target.jpg Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

    Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Evacuation came too late for many on sinking ferry

     An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 3 protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in on his neighbor's future for hours from Moscow.

    April 17, 2014

  • news_marathonsecurity.jpg Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

How well do you monitor your child's use of social media?

I do a good job
I check occasionally
Not well at all
     View Results