The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced a so-called comprehensive immigration plan. And, as usual, Democrats conceded to Republican demands in the name of compromise. Over the last five days, the Judiciary Committee members considered over 200 proposed amendments to the plan, and approved several of the most egregious changes to the legislation.
According to one amendment, 100 percent of the Mexican border must be under surveillance, and 90 percent of illegal border crossings must be prevented, before undocumented immigrants can even apply for U.S. Citizenship. And, immigrants will also have to spend 10 years in a provisional status, pay thousands in fines, and meet stringent work requirements. An amendment submitted by Senator Orrin Hatch, and approved by the Committee, will allow tech companies to utilize thousands of new H1B Visas, and remove the requirement that companies must try to find American workers to fill the jobs. Other provisions include authorizing the use of drones along the border, increasing the number of Customs agents, and deploying the National Guard to build a fence along our Southern border.
Yet, despite Republicans getting their way on all those provisions, and more, Senator Patrick Leahy was forced to withdraw his amendment, which would have recognized same-sex couples for the purposes of immigration. So, the GOP got their unattainable benchmarks, their militarization of our border, and a new supply of cheap labor, and Democrats had to give up on LGBT equality. It's no wonder that three Republicans in the Judiciary Committee crossed the isle to support this plan, or that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to allow a vote on it.
Democrats should not abandon their principles, just to get Republicans to negotiate – especially when the GOP's idea of negotiating is getting everything that they want. This is not compromise, it's hostage taking. The plan will be debated by the full Senate next month, so we still have a chance to stop some of these awful provisions. Call your Senators and tell them to remove the immigration benchmarks, stand up for American workers, and stop the militarization of our border.
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