A proposed amendment to the immigration reform bill created by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" would, if passed, remove the legislation's offer of a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, filed the amendment. In total, reports the Huffington Post, senators (largely from the Republican party) have contributed 300 amendments to the bill, with Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa filing 77 and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions contributing 49.
1. Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, has proposed an amendment which would take away the path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
As it stands, the reform bill created by the "Gang of Eight" would provide the option of 13 years after paying penalties and back taxes as well as learn English. In the interim, it would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for provisional immigrant status, which in most cases would last for at least a decade before they could apply for legal permanent residency and later citizenship. Cruz' amendment would shoot down perhaps the most important source of liberal support for the bill and more than likely kill it if it is passed.
2. The 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee will begin talks on Thursday regarding amendments.
Senators in the group have pledged to shoot down amendments, which they see as "poison pills" to the legislation's hopes for passage.
3. An amendment by Senator Mike Lee of Utah would exempt domestic service jobs from "prohibitions on unlawful employment of unauthorized aliens."
Under this amendment, "cooks, waiters, butlers, housekeepers, governesses, maids, valets, baby sitters, janitors, laundresses, furnace men, care-takers, handymen, gardeners, footmen, grooms, and chauffeurs of automobiles for family use" would no longer be subject to hiring restrictions which mandate the use of an electronic verification system by employers.
4. Pat Leahy, Vermont Democrat and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, filed an amendment which would grant immigration rights to same-sex couples.
Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York have previously voiced their support for the extension of immigration rights to same-sex couples, though Durbin -- a member of the "Gang of Eight" -- told the Huffington Post he was not sure whether Republicans in the bipartisan group would consider the bill a deal-breaker.
5. Americans' feelings about the legislation are largely up in the air.
A Pew Research Center poll, released last Wednesday, indicated that 33 percent of Americans favor immigration reform, 28 percent oppose it, and 38 percent say they did not know what to think of it.