Senate to Vote on Reconsidering Immigration Bill
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Tangled in there somewhere is the question of whether the nation's immigration laws will change, and NPR's Brian Naylor has the report this morning.
BRIAN NAYLOR: When we last left the immigration bill, it was just barely clinging to life. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the bill from the floor after backers couldn't muster 60 votes to end debate. Now, two and half weeks later, there will be another try, this time requiring 60 votes to resume debate. It's a vote the White House, which helped write the immigration bill, is optimistic it will win. Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who opposes the measure, says the White House has been pulling out all the stops.
JIM DEMINT: There have been a whole lot of calls and conversations. And probably there're some good deals out there, but I don't want to speak specifically on those.
NAYLOR: If debate proceeds today, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez in New Jersey hopes to restore some of the weight given family ties in the awarding of visas.
ROBERT MENENDEZ: All our amendment says is, hey, what has been a bedrock principle of immigration law for well over four decades should not be totally abandoned and that family in our society does have a value.
NAYLOR: Sonia Ramirez is with the AFL-CIO, which has announced its opposition to the immigration bill.
SONIA RAMIREZ: The touchback provision, the incredible fees that would be placed on immigrants - those create barriers for people that would be seeking legal status who are here currently.
NAYLOR: Republican DeMint says this is not the time to be debating such a contentious issue at all.
DEMINT: One of the best reasons not to move ahead with this bill right now is the favorable ratings for the president and the Congress are near historic lows. And to take the nation's most emotionally charged issue and try to ram it down America's throat at a time when there's not a high level of trust for what we're doing up here just doesn't make sense.
NAYLOR: Brian Naylor, NPR News, the Capitol.
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