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ImmigrationGOP lawmakers say immigration reform bill should not be rushed

Published 3 April 2013

As the unveiling of the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration bill approaches, , Republican lawmakers, including one who  is part of the bipartisan group,  are asking Senate leaders to slow down the consideration of  the bill so as  to avoid making “fatal mistakes.”

As the unveiling of the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration bill approaches, , Republican lawmakers, including one who  is part of the bipartisan group,  are asking Senate leaders to slow down the consideration of  the bill so as  to avoid making “fatal mistakes.”

Fox News reports that advocates for immigration reform were heartened  last week after representatives for big business and labor came to an agreement on allowing low-skilled workers in the country. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on Sunday that he anticipates a bill as early as next week and that “every major policy issue has been resolved.”

The bill  is said to include:

  • A program to bring tens of thousands of low-skilled workers into the country as part of a guest worker system.
  • A pathway to citizenship for eleven million illegal immigrants. The proposal would include a 10-year wait for a green card, and a total 13-year wait to apply for citizenship.
  • Strengthened border security, likely tied to the pathway to citizenship.
  • Requiring employers to use E-Verify to check immigration status of workers.
  • Overhauling the legal immigration system, authorizing more visas for high-skilled workers.

Fox News notes that top Republican legislators have their reservations about the bill, and say they are worried that it is being rushed to the floor.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), a member of the Gang of Eight, said it “will only be a starting point” and other senators till need to weigh in on the situation.

“Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system,” Rubio told reporters. “But arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”

Rubio wrote  a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,  last weekend to say that  “excessive haste in the pursuit of a lasting solution” is “dangerous” to the goal of comprehensive immigration reform and that a “rush to legislate” would be “fatal to the effort of earning the public’s confidence.”

Rubio is making a push for Democrats to take their time considering the bill, but Schumer said on NBC’s Meet the Pressthat he believes Rubio will fall in line eventually.

“He is protecting some of the things that he thinks are very important in the bill. But I don’t think that’ll stand in the way in any way of any final agreement” Schumer said.

Rubio’s statements and letter came on the heels of Leahy writing a letter to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), a critic of the Gang of Eight  proposal, saying he was worried about “delays for delay’s sake” weighing down the process. Leahy said he anticipates an “open and transparent” process with “public proceedings,” but also stressed that the committee has held dozens of hearings on the issue.

“If any of the more junior senators need more time to get up to speed, I will look forward to them discussing their specific readiness problems with me directly,” Leahy wrote.

Sessions said that he took the letter as a signal that the chairman does not want to hold anymore hearings on the issues and wants to get the bill moving.