On Tuesday evening, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to allow S-744, the bipartisan Senate Immigration Bill, to pass from the Senate Judiciary Committee for discussion by the whole Senate floor. Republican Senators Graham (SC), Flake (AZ), and Hatch (UT) joined with all committee Democratic Senators to support moving the bill forward, while Senators Grassley (IA), Sessions (AL), Cornyn (TX), Lee (UT), and Cruz (TX) voted against the bill.
More than 3,000 faith partners from multiple denominations called Senators on the Committee during the last two weeks of discussions on amendments. Faith voices particularly assisted in defeating amendments that would have further denied immigrant rights, and helped pass amendments that help immigrants in detention, discourage racial profiling, and restrict immigration enforcement actions near schools, hospitals, victims services locations and places of worship. All amendments which passed and failed can be found at: www.judiciary.senate.gov. Additional amendments can continue to be supported or discouraged as the full Senate conversations are anticipated to begin perhaps as early as June 10, following fiscal “scoring” over approximately the next two weeks.
As faith communities look ahead to Senate floor conversations, action is still strongly needed!! Senators will be on recess and in their home offices beginning Thursday, May 23 until Monday, June 3. Please set up local visits with both your Senators and Representatives and their staff while they are back home! This recess, visits are especially important, as they will be the FINAL opportunity legislators will have to hear from you locally before the full Senate discussions begin!! Also, remember to continue to make phone calls to legislators, write op-eds in your local papers, and take part in vigils and other efforts which communicate your faith presence and support for compassionate immigration reform!!
Finally, please be sure to LET YOUR COMMUNITIES KNOW that the bill is NOT yet passed…but only now moves for discussion in the Senate. A long pathway of Senate debate, as well as a complex set of discussions in the House, are still before us. We are still likely months away from full bill passage. In the meantime, please protect those immigrants you know from any unscrupulous efforts of those who may advertise and promise to “help them through the bill” for a cost.
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