CIR UPDATE: TODAY and this week- expected state of play in Senate this week

1:13PM EST/ 10:13AM PT- Just saw Senator Reid on the Senate floor beginning the debate on immigration.... (I'm writing in Pacific Time because FIRM is having it's Immigrant Organizing Committee in LA this week.. more on that later) 2pm- We anticipate a press conference from Senator Kennedy's office along with a press conference from a coaliton of immigrant rights advocates later this afternoon- we'll give you updates as they come in.

Today at 5:30 pm, we anticipate that the Senate will vote on whether to debate the bill that has emerged from the deal between the Senate negotiators and the White House.  A tense amendment fight will proceed on Tuesday and Wednesday.  A vote could happen as early as Thursday on a final bill.  Which amendments will be introduced - we anticipate that we're looking at 5 or 6 amendment proposals on both the Democratic and Republican sides -  still to be determined. 

Here is a brief memo from Rich Stolz, our Co-Director at FIRM on expectations for the state-of play in the Senate this week:

Political Assessment: Senate

On Monday, May 21, 2007 the Senate is scheduled to vote on the motion to proceed to debate on the legislative deal announced last week by a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House.  We can anticipate that the Senate will debate the bill, including a limited number of amendments, this week.  There is a slim possibility at the moment that the debate may last past this week, but for now, it appears that the Senate will attempt to vote on a final bill, including any amendments, this Thursday, May 24.

We can anticipate that there will be an effort to amend the bill, and that both sides will have a handful of amendments that they can introduce this week.  Amendments will be filed in the next twenty-four hours, and further amendments may be filed later this week, depending on how the bill managers choose to proceed.

Likely Amendments:

  • Sen. Dorgan (D-ND) is likely to introduce an amendment to either strip the guest worker program from the bill or to sunset the guest worker program.  Both amendments he filed last year failed but garnered a number of Democratic supporters.
  • Sen. Bingaman (D-NM) is likely to introduce an amendment to shrink the number of guest workers allowed by half to 200,000.  Advocates are urging him to also include a pathway to citizenship for guest workers, since this amendment is likely to pass.
  • Sens. Clinton (D-NY) and Dodd (CT) are likely to introduce an amendment to improve the family portion of the bill – either to improve the cut-off date for family backlogs, to allow legal permanent residents to bring their relatives into the country, to allow Z-Visa holders to bring relatives into the country, or to tweak the point system.  Advocates are still trying to identify Republican co-sponsors for these amendments.
  • Some technical provisions we dislike in the bill may be addressed in a manager’s amendment to the bill on the floor, but the content of such an amendments remains unclear.
  • There may be several anti-immigrant amendments in play, including amendments to deny social security benefits to legalized immigrants, attacks on birthright citizenship, denying the earned income tax credit to legalized immigrants, further barriers to judicial review, etc.
  • Other pro-immigrant amendments may include a Kerry amendments to improve treatment of immigrants impacted by raids, a Lieberman amendment to improve treatment of detainees and improve DHS accountability, a Feinstein amendments for unaccompanied minors, a Durbin/Grassley amendments on the H1B program, amendments on the employer verification system, and amendments to improve the legal re-entry provision as part of the legalization program.