Byron York reports that six Republican senators are trying to put the brakes on the rush toward “comprehensive” immigration reform. They’ve written a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy noting that the last time the government enacted a major immigration reform, it was preceded by 100 hours of hearings, 300 witnesses and a robust national debate. By contrast, this time around the Democrats are hoping to push a bill through after the Easter break. The letter also notes that nearly half of the current Senate wasn’t even around during the failed 2007 reform effort.
The six senators include Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, along with Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch of Utah, Charles Grassley (IA), and Jeff Sessions (AL). York has their entire letter at the link. It describes immigration reform as “consequential” and deserving of a serious debate that, so far, has not occurred.
[T]his bill potentially could be the most dramatic and consequential alteration of our immigration system in nearly 30 years, impacting nearly every aspect of our legal and economic structure, and increasing entitlement spending to historic levels. Before the Immigration Reform and Control Act was first introduced in the Senate in 1982, the Committee had 100 hours of hearings with 300 witnesses before marking up a bill. Congress continued to debate the bill for the next three years, and even then, the Judiciary Committee spent three months reviewing the bill before it was reported in August of 1985. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the public be given adequate time, consistent with past practice in handling complex comprehensive immigration legislation, to read and analyze the contents of any such bill before it is listed on the Committee’s Executive Business Meeting agenda. We further request that during this time, the Committee hold hearings on the overarching issues integral to the legislation.