Senate Judiciary Committee Amendments
Beginning May 9, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will offer amendments to change the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). In advance of this process, known as “mark-up,” the senators on this committee have filed hundreds of proposed amendments. Any filed amendment can be considered during hearings this week and the two following weeks (ending on May 24 before Congress’s Memorial Day recess).
LIRS has completed the following preliminary analysis of filed amendments that speak to our five principles for immigration reform. As new information becomes available, we will post a more detailed analysis on our comprehensive immigration reform website (www.lirs.org/cir). LIRS supports reform that will:
- Provide an earned pathway to lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their families. While some amendments would make the roadmap to citizenship more accessible and efficient, others would place additional burdens on people seeking to adjust their immigration status. Harmful amendments must be rejected in favor of those that create a fair and accessible process for aspiring citizens.
- Ensure the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is humane and just. Many of the filed amendments should be rejected as they would eliminate important protections for immigrants in detention, such as restrictions on indefinite detention and expanded use of alternatives to detention. However, some amendments would make positive changes and should be supported. We are excited about amendments to improve the plight of unaccompanied migrant children, survivors of human trafficking, and children in families with mixed immigration status who may be harmed during immigration enforcement actions.
- Protect families from separation and ensure an adequate supply of visas for families seeking to reunite. Several filed amendments seek to improve the situation of families separated by our family-based immigration system, including restoring the right of U.S. citizens to have their siblings and older married children join them in the United States. Though some amendments would curtail family unity like efforts to limit the number of visas awarded to family members, the majority would improve family unity and should be supported.
- Provide adequate resources and protections to ensure the successful integration of refugees, asylees, survivors of torture and trafficking, and other vulnerable migrants. As introduced, S. 744 includes several improvements to current refugee resettlement and asylum processes. However, many filed amendments seek to weaken critical protections included in the original bill for those fleeing persecution. Any amendment that delays enactment of these long-needed changes serves only to delay the creation of an immigration system that is fair, efficient, and humane and should be rejected.
- Ensure the protection of U.S. citizen and migrant workers. S. 744 includes important protections for U.S. citizen and migrant workers to ensure workers in the United States are treated with respect and fairness. It is critical that amendments expand and improve, rather than diminish, protections against exploitation of workers and labor trafficking.
To voice your support for compassionate immigration reform, call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected to the office of a senator on the Judiciary Committee visit the LIRS Action Center (www.lirs.org/action).