Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) brushed off Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) calls to take immigration reform slow and carefully, chiding the senator in an open letter yesterday.
“You have said that ‘delay for delay’s sake’ would be a mistake in this matter, I agree. But excessive haste in the pursuit of a lasting solution is perhaps even more dangerous to the goals many of us share,” Rubio, a member of the Group of Eight bipartisan immigration negotiators, wrote the Judiciary Committee chairman.
“I received your letter delivered Easter Sunday evening. Yours is the second open letter in March that I have received from a Republican Senator, each suggesting, in one way or another, that we slow the process for consideration of comprehensive immigration reform,” Leahy wrote back.
“While you have conducted the process of the ‘gang of eight’ behind closed doors, I can assure you that it has always been my position as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the work of the Committee should be open to the public so I have every intention of ensuring that debate and consideration of any future comprehensive immigration reform legislation will be thorough and will be conducted in open session and streamed live on the Judiciary Committee website,” he continued. “…While we have been waiting for legislative language this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee has already held several widely-attended hearings to examine the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform, including extensive testimony from the Secretary of Homeland Security. I hope these hearings have been useful as you have been developing your legislation.”
Leahy said his committee “is capable of swift and thorough action,” adding he’ll “consider” scheduling a hearing on the Group of Eight’s final plan, which could be unveiled next week.
“I will, however, remain mindful of the urgent need for us to actually get to the work of debating and considering amendments without unnecessary delay because this is an issue to which our attention is long overdue. 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,” he said.
“By this summer, I hope that all members of the Senate will be able to vote for or against comprehensive immigration reform and that each member will take into consideration the significant process that the Senate Judiciary Committee will have completed. The American people have grown tired of the endless filibusters that occur regularly in the Senate. I look forward to working with you to overcome such obstruction in the weeks to come.”