Immigration Bill Riddled With Exemptions, Complex Terminology

Friday, 19 Apr 2013 01:10 PM

By Melanie Batley

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The Senate’s immigration reform bill apparently includes hundreds of exemptions and other exceptions that are giving supporters and opponents pause as Congress begins consideration of the 844-page document.

According to The Daily Caller, the comprehensive and complicated bill has about 400 "exemptions, exceptions, waivers, determinations and grants of discretion" included throughout, adding to its complexity and, perhaps, supporting claims from conservatives that they need more than just a few weeks to consider the measure.

The language alone, The Daily Caller notes, is bound to add to the confusion. For example, it mentions “discretion” or “discretionary” 41 times, “judge” or “judges” 73 times, and “secretary” 1,018 times, a reference to who will be responsible for approving a waiver, exemption, or exception to the requirements laid out in the law.

“Exempt” or “exemptions” are mentioned 18 times, while the word “except” appears 156 times. There are also 94 uses of the term “waiver.”

The Daily Caller noted that one example of a complex passage appears on page 71. It reads: “WAIVER. — The Secretary, in the Secretary’s sole and unreviewable discretion, may waive the application of subparagraph (A) on behalf of an alien. The prospective beneficiary of that discretion by a political appointee, according to the bill, is ‘an alien who departed from the United States while subject to an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal’.”

Senate Democratic leaders have previously said they want to begin consideration of the bill in the Judiciary Committee immediately, with the aim of moving it to the floor for a vote by early June.

However, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior Republican on the panel, is leading the effort among GOP conservatives to slow the process down. He's already called on Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to add more hearings on the measure to the committee's schedule.

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