Posted on May 9, 2013

Ted Cruz Files Amendment to Deny Path to Citizenship as Senate Works on Bill

Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, May 8, 2013

Lobby groups and political officials on both sides of the immigration reform debate were still duking it out right down to the wire, a day before the Senate Judiciary Committee is to begin marking up a nearly 900-page bill.

The office of Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, sent out a press release Wednesday pushing five amendments he filed to the bill, which generally tightens enforcement and provides a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.

Cruz’s amendments seek to further tighten border security, streamline the legal immigration process, deny public benefits to those here illegally, reform the high-skilled worker visa program and prohibit a path to citizenship for the undocumented.

“The amendments filed today to strengthen border security and reform our legal immigration system will not only bring meaningful, effective improvements to our immigration system, but also have a chance of becoming law,” said Cruz in a statement. “America is a nation of immigrants, built by immigrants and we need to honor that heritage by fixing our broken immigration system, while upholding the rule of law and championing legal immigration.”

His amendments are among more than 300 filed by the Tuesday evening deadline. Republicans wanting tighter enforcement provisions filed a majority of the amendments, with Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, leading the pack with 77 amendments.


The Judiciary Committee includes four of the eight senators (Rubio is one of the eight) who authored the bill, and they plan to try to vote together in the committee to stave off poison pill amendments from either side that could upend their deal.


Meanwhile, religious leaders are warning that including a gay rights amendment  in the immigration bill could cost their support for the legislation.


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont is considering offering an amendment that would allow gay couples to sponsor their partners for U.S. residence like other married Americans can.