Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will begin marking up the Gang of Eight's amnesty bill (S.744) on Thursday, have filed 300 amendments that propose changes to the 867-page legislation. The lion's share of amendments were offered by Republicans on the committee; in fact, the committee's Ranking Member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), offered almost as many amendments (77) as the committee's entire Democratic delegation (93).
Even the drafters of the massive amnesty bill filed amendments. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed 5, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) filed 3, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) filed 4. Only Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) appears to be satisfied with the Gang's final product.
Amendments of note:
In response to the Boston bombings, Sen. Graham offered amendments to tighten up the refugee and asylee visas.
Sen. Flake offered amendments to modify the Border Oversight Task Force, requires DHS to submit regular updates on implementation of its border strategies, and requires illegal aliens that receive amnesty to go through another backgorund check when their initial 6-year temporary visa expires.
Sen. Leahy offered amendments to recognize same-sex couples under provisions of the bill.
Sen. Feinstein offered amendments that would reduce the size of the Southern border region from 100 miles of the border to only 25 miles and removes the December 31, 2011 requirement from the amnesty allowing any illegal alien in the country at the time of enactment to qualify.
Sen. Whitehouse offered an amendment that prohibits the re-E-Verifying of an employee that changes jobs when there is a "substantial continuity in the business operations between the predecessor and the successor employers."
Sen. Franken offered amendments to make it more difficult for farmers to access the new guest-worker program, reduce the unemployment threshold from 8.5% to 7.5% before farmers can access the program, and requires farmers to expand their recruiting efforts of American workers before accessing the program.
Sen. Grassley offered 77 amendment that strengthen the border security provisions, extend the border security strategies to the Northern border, strengthens the "triggers", remove several exception clauses, makes the qualifications for amnesty tougher, deports illegal aliens that don't qualify for the amnesty, and requires all employers to use E-Verify within 18 months of enactment.
Sen. Hatch offered amendments to increase the penalties for committing identity fraud, collect DNA from all amnestied illegal aliens, strengthens the "triggers", requires a biometric exit system at the busiest airports, adds his I-squared bill to increase high-skilled immigrants, requires all illegal aliens that apply for amnesty to pay back taxes from all pre-amnesty employment, and to preclude Social Security credits from unauthorized employment when determining future public benefits.
Sen. Sessions offered amendments that would limit the number of work permits given and reduce the number of annual green cards issued under the bill's provisions. He also offered amendments to lower the unemployment threholds from 8.5% to 5%, require a biometric entry/exit system to be used at ALL ports of entry, and strengthens the border and interior enforcement provisions of the bill.
Sen. Cornyn offered amendments that strengthen border enforcement.
Sen. Mike Lee offered several substitute amendment that would replace the entire bill with a border security only bill, Sen. Grassley's E-Verify bill, or the I-Squared Act.
Sen. Cruz offered amendments to strengthen the border security provision and require completion before the amnesty, block the path to citizenship for amnestied illegal aliens, and modifies the numerical limits of green cards and H-1B visas.
For a full list of amendments, see the Senate Judiciary website.
Updated: Wed, May 8th 2013 @ 11:34am EDT