Update on Senate Debate

From the Desk of Rich Stolz, Co-Director of FIRM  A summary of the debate thus far:   The Senate voted on cloture on Monday, which moved the bill to debate.  The roll call vote can be viewed at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00173.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted against an amendment introduced by Sen. Dorgan to strike the guestworker provisions from the bill.  The roll call vote can be viewed at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00174.  So what does this mean?  Essentially, the Republicans voted as a block and the Democratic votes were split.  The bi-partisan group of Senate deal makers held.

Today, the Senate voted for an amendment introduced by Sen. Bingaman to cut the number of guest workers from 400,000 to 200,000.  This amendment passed the Senate.  The vote was 74 to 24.  The roll call vote can be viewed at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00175.

Today, the Senate also passed three additional amendments by unanimous consent:

a) a Graham (R-SC) amendment to place minimum and mandatory fines and prison sentences on undocumented immigrants for illegally re-entering the United States; the prison sentences grow exponentially based on crimes that may have been committed by the immigrant while in the United States;

b) a Feinstein (D-CA) amendment to institute protections for unaccompanied minor undocumented immigrants;

c) a Gregg (R-NH) amendment to increase the number of detention beds and border patrol officers as a condition to meet the triggers in the proposed legislation.  Further votes are pending.