Senate opponents of a new comprehensive plan to overhaul the immigration system are devising a strategy aimed at killing the measure though a series of delays in the legislative process.
According to The Washington Post
, the tactics could include so-called “poison pill” amendments to the bipartisan measure being introduced Wednesday. Opponents are also committed to slowing down the measure in committee hearings. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and other Republicans have already complained about what they see as a rush by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to move the measure through his panel within a matter of a few weeks.
Taking time to understand the bill “is essential to gaining public confidence in the content of the bill. We know it’s complicated,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration.
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“I can’t see any reason to undermine confidence by trying to jam it through without adequate time for people to read it and to hear from their constituents,” Cornyn said.
The group of eight bipartisan senators working to bring the bill to the floor for a vote have already agreed they will come together and oppose amendments aimed at dismantling the main parts of the measure, the Post reported Wednesday.
According to New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a key Democratic sponsor of the bill, the group of eight are willing to allow their colleagues to offer some amendments during Judiciary Committee proceedings in early May. But they hope to bring the measure to the floor for a vote no later than June.
Supporters of the reform plan worry that a flurry of amendments could end up delaying or killing the bill outright, which is what happened the last time Congress tangled with a controversial immigration overhaul bill in 2008.
The Post also reported that some opponents of the bill may try to slow it down because of the deadly bombings in Boston on Monday. Rep. Steve King on Tuesday urged caution on immigration reform, suggesting that whoever carried out the deadly attack could have entered the United States on a student or work visa.
“I think it would force the people who have their hands over their own eyes and fingers in their ears to take a look from a different perspective,” King told the Post in an interview, as he called for a delay in considering immigration reform.
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is urging the Senate “to quickly move” the bipartisan bill forward and “do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible.”
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