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Senators Shoot Down Extreme Amendments to Immigration Reform Proposal

The bipartisan immigration proposal is making its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On Tuesday night, Senators added 300 amendments to the bill, and on Thursday both parties are going head-to-head to see which of these additions will help the bill's passage in Congress.

Immigration reform is a top priority for both parties, but the subject of security is a sticking point for Republicans.


What’s at stake: the Gang of Eight’s delicate compromise forged after months of internal debate

The committee session is expected to last two weeks.

Update at 3:30 p.m. PDT:

The committee reviewed 32 amendments but approved only 19 that only slightly adjusted the proposal. The more extreme amendments did not get added to the proposal.

Some, like Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) amendment to triple the number of Border Patrol to 60,000, were voted down quickly. It led to a brief flareup between Cruz and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).


"The committee has consistently rejected any attempts to put real teeth in this bill to secure the border," Cruz said.

Schumer responsed “Senator Cruz is opposed to a path to citizenship. That is the division here.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) withdrew her amendment that tried to redefine the border region in order to keep the 24-hour drone surveillance away from major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles.

The committee approved Grassley’s (R-Iowa) amendment prohibiting the U.S. from collecting border-crossing fees.

Other amendments approved included increasing the number of federal judges in southwestern border court districts, and establishing grant programs for improvements at ports of entry.

Update at 10:09 a.m. PDT:

The committee voted 12-6 to strike down a high profile amendment to the immigration reform proposal it is now hearing.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wanted the entire border with Mexico to be brought under operational control before starting a path to citizenship. The bill only calls for the three Border Patrol busiest sectors to be brought up to 90 percent control.

Grassley warned the committee, "If we don’t make this very clear, we can have situations where 10 years down the road, we don’t have effective control."

The vote fell along party lines. The committee also voted to kill off a segment of the bill that would have established border crossing fees.

Timeline of hearings through tweets (follow hashtag: #CIRMarkup)