Over the weekend, Gang of Eight Members, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) urging him to have an open and transparent process when the Committee begins work on the Gang's soon-to-be-released legislation. On Tuesday, Sen. Leahy responded to Rubio with his own letter and stated that he plans to move "quickly and decisively" on the bill.
Sen. Leahy told Rubio that if the Committee does not move the bill fast enough, it jeopardizes whether the Senate will be able to pass the bill at all.
"The Judiciary Committee is capable of swift and thorough action... I am hopeful you recognize, as I do, that if we do not act quickly and decisively we will lose the opportunity we now have to fix our immigration system."
In his letter, Sen. Leahy also referenced a separate letter that he received from six of the GOP Members of the Committee making the same request. He also responded to that letter by saying he plans to move the bill with "all deliberate speed."
After learning of the letter sent to Sen. Rubio, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) issued the following statement:
"Chairman Leahy's letters to both Senator Rubio and to Committee Republicans reveal a determination to rush a bill through before the public can get involved in the process... Now that the special interests have what they want, the deal has been made: force it through and set the public interest aside... A sound committee process will take months [and] will require extensive hearings to understand every major component of reform, including [h]ow the immediate legalization of millions of illegal workers will impact unemployed Americans ... Failure to commit to this kind of open process is tantamount to an admission that the bill is not workable and will not stand up to public scrutiny."
Sen. Sessions went on to list several concerns regarding immigration reform that "will take months - not the two-week timeframe Chairman Leahy has outlined - and will require extensive hearings to understand every major component of reform."
- How the immediate legalization of millions of illegal workers will impact unemployed Americans
- How a further increase in the number of guest workers will impact unemployed Americans
- How the wages of legal workers and legal immigrants will be affected by the future flow of low-skill immigrants and chain migration
- The long-term cost to taxpayers, especially as illegal immigrants become eligible for most welfare and public benefits once granted green cards and citizenship
- Tracking visa overstays
- Metrics for establishing border security
- Resuming and strengthening cooperation with local law enforcement
- Resolving the concerns of ICE officers, including the abuse of prosecutorial discretion and so-called deferred action
- Worksite enforcement
- Ensuring that the currently unenforced public charge law is enforced
- Ensuring proper input and evaluation from the law enforcement community
Updated: Wed, Apr 3rd 2013 @ 1:00pm EDT