WASHINGTON - March 28 - The full Senate will now consider sweeping immigration legislation approved yesterday by the Judiciary Committee by a 12–6 vote. The legislation embraces key elements of a bipartisan bill crafted by Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy and Republican Sen. John McCain. The measure, backed by four Republicans and eight Democrats, provides a way for millions of immigrants who are currently in the country illegally to become U.S. citizens, and creates a guest-worker program. In December, the House approved legislation that, for the first time, would make it a felony to live in the U.S. without proper documents or provide non-emergency aid to undocumented immigrants. The Judiciary Committee-approved legislation is expected to face acrimonious debate in the full Senate and vigorous opposition in the House.
Statement by Eleanor (Eldie) D. Acheson
Task Force Public Policy & Government Affairs Director
“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee’s constructive work that culminated in yesterday’s bipartisan vote to send a reasonable and fair immigration reform measure to the full Senate.
“Whether this rational and balanced bill advances or is trumped by the much narrower enforcement-heavy and visa reform-light legislation proposed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist remains the question. We call upon the majority leader and all Senate leadership to provide the time necessary for debate of this critically important legislation.
“To do otherwise would reveal the Senate to be as mean-spirited and politically opportunistic as the House — and our nation simply cannot afford such irresponsible and contentious behavior by its politicians, especially when it comes to one of the most pressing and complex challenges that we currently face as a country.”