Immigration reform priority for senators
WASHINGTON — A sense of urgency permeated the Senate's first immigration reform hearing of the 113th Congress on Wednesday as lawmakers and Obama administration officials said they see a rare chance for compromise on one of the nation's most divisive issues.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the United States is “at a unique moment in history” with a real chance to pass bipartisan immigration reform in this session of Congress.
“For the first time in recent memory, we are seeing a bipartisan consensus emerge about what those commonsense steps should be,” Napolitano said. “We must not miss this opportunity.”
President Obama, in his state of the union speech on Tuesday night, urged lawmakers to pass a bipartisan bill that he can sign into law. Senate Republicans have expressed an increased willingness to tackle the issue as a way to reach out to Latino voters, who overwhelmingly supported Obama and Democratic congressional candidates in last fall's election.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the committee's chairman, said he is determined that the panel will vote on legislation this spring. If the committee is able to pass a bill, the legislation would then go to a vote of the full Senate.
Two Democrats and two Republicans on the committee are among a bipartisan group of eight senators working on a compromise bill that includes stronger border security and an earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the United States.
“Our window of opportunity will not stay open long,” Leahy said. “If we are going to act on this issue, we must do so without delay.”
While senators asked tough questions of Napolitano and other witnesses, the overall tenor of the hearing was much more positive about immigration reform than a hearing in the House last week.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Despite U.S. dollars and bombs, effort failing to squash ISIS
- Global lion population falling primarily because of loss of habitat, experts say
- VA whistle-blowers aghast
- Fetal parts in Planned Parenthood lab shown in 4th video
- Piece of plant found on island on way to France for analysis
- Ex-Cincy cop pleads not guilty, posts bond
- Christian college in Illinois to stop providing health care over Obamacare
- Theater shooter known as angry man with violent ideas
- Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
- Undocumented alien released, suspected in crime spree
- University of New Hampshire language guide panned