Reports that a bipartisan group of senators have reached agreement on a legislative proposal for immigration reform are “premature,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday.
The Florida Republican, wrote a letter Saturday warning Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy not to rush an immigration-reform bill, saying extensive hearings are needed, reports The Hill
. Further, Rubio said he is encouraged by continuing talks, but insisted no final agreement has yet been reached.
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Saturday, business and union groups signed a temporary-worker program that appeared to be the main issue holding the Senate negotiators back. But Rubio, whose support is crucial if the Senate's so-called “Gang of Eight” is to reach an agreement, said in an Easter morning statement that he will take his time before agreeing to anything.
“We have made substantial progress, and I believe we will be able to agree on a legislative proposal that modernizes our legal immigration system, improves border security and enforcement and allows those here illegally to earn the chance to one day apply for permanent residency contingent upon certain triggers being met,” said Rubio.
Rubio’s statements come after Leahy wrote a letter last week to Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, telling the Alabama lawmaker that he intends to “proceed to comprehensive immigration reform with all deliberate speed.”
Saturday, Sessions praised Rubio for his careful consideration of immigration reform.
“What we need, and must have, is a full and thorough national discussion over every component of this bill. The timeline presented by Chairman Leahy — as well as [Senate Majority] Leader Reid [D-Nev.] and President Obama — is unacceptable,” said Sessions, who is calling for “a detailed series of public hearings.”
The bipartisan group expects to unveil its bill in April. The legislation, though, will have difficulty earning support from conservative lawmakers. While Democrats want to move the bill quickly, to capitalize on growing calls for immigration reform, Rubio said that moving too quickly will cost the measure some public support.
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