Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during a hearing today that now is the right time for amnesty. Sen. Schumer said the U.S. borders are more secure than ever, which is the first step to overhauling the current immigration system.
"We can pass strong, fair, practical and effective immigration reform this year," Schumer said.
During today's hearing, Schumer argued that the demands of securing the nation's borders have been met, including the hiring of 20,000 border patrol agents. He asked officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Customs and Border Enforcement and Immigration Customs Enforcement if the steps taken had slowed the flow of illegal entries into the United States and they all answered yes.
"For years now, opponents of immigration reform have continually promised that they will engage in a conversation about immigration reform once Congress showed it was serious about securing the border. Our witnesses will confirm today showing that has clearly been made," Schumer said.
Schumer also noted department statistics showing a 27 percent increase in the number of apprehensions along the border this year compared to last year, but failed to address the impact the declining economy has had on illegal border crossings. As more and more American workers lose their jobs, there are fewer and fewer jobs available for illegal aliens, which has impacted the number of people trying to enter the United States.
According to an AP report today, an official from the Obama Administration said the President plans to hold a small bipartisan meeting next month with the intent to discuss beginning the immigration debate this fall.
During a press conference last month, Pres. Obama said the Administration would not pursue amnesty until they could prove to the American people that they've secured the borders. Newly elected Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said the country is not there yet.
"We are making some good progress," Sessions said. "The question is will we continue it? I see some good things happening. I see some things that are troubling."
Updated: Wed, May 20th 2009 @ 5:36pm EDT