Listen carefully. That ‘click’ ‘click’ ‘click’ sound you hear isn’t your clock. Around the country, and potentially around the world, immigration advocates and restrictionists alike are hitting the “refresh” button over and over and over again on a Senate Judiciary Committee website. Why? What’s so special about this website?
This website isn’t just special, it is extraordinary. It is unique in the history of immigration reform. It is the fulfillment of a promise by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who has told his fellow Judiciary Committee members that all proposed amendments to S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” must be filed by 5p.m. today and will be posted publicly on this website: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation/immigration/amendments.cfm
‘Click’ ‘click’ ‘click…we’re waiting. We’re waiting to see what amendments will be offered by the 18 members of the committee.
We know already there will be a sponsors’ amendment, which would replace the current bill with an 867 page corrected version that fixes some errors and typos, and clarifies some things that caused confusion in the original 844 page bill. The sponsors’ amendment is the equivalent of a shoe-in (see AILA’s updated section-by-section analysis showing the changes here: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=44283)
Senator Leahy himself has posted an amendment: it would prohibit the establishment of a border crossing fee at land borders for pedestrians or passenger vehicles.
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) has posted four amendments thus far.
So far, nothing else has been posted. But because of Chairman Leahy’s leadership, we know where we’ll be looking, and for the first time the American public is guaranteed the chance to review the proposed amendments before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins the markup process later this week. That is a win for a transparent government, reflecting the values on which our country was built.
We’re waiting. We’re watching.