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Immigration Debate Begins on Senate Floor (Updated 3/31/06)

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06033010 (posted Mar. 30, 2006)"

Immigration debate began Wednesday (3/29) on the Senate floor. The Frist bill is the starting point of debate, but Specter will offer the Judiciary Committee bill Thursday (3/30) as a 1st degree substitute amendment. There will be NO VOTES on procedural issues nor on the overall bills this week.

The debate will continue until next week, without any votes on the bills overall. Amendments can and will be offered and some will be voted on, but many may be "stacked" until the end of debate next week. The current operating assumption is that amendments will be based on the Specter bill, not the Frist bill, but that could change.

NEXT WEEK TUESDAY (4/4): Cloture motions will likely be filed on both the Frist and Specter bills, which will trigger a 30-hour deadline.

NEXT WEEK THURSDAY (4/6): Cloture VOTES will likely happen, first on Specter, second on Frist. What this means is that the Specter bill, as amended to that point, will require 60 votes to pass. If that vote fails, then there will be a vote on Frist, also requiring 60 votes. If that too fails, there will be no bill coming out of the Senate.

At this point, our assessment is that it MAY be possible to win 60 votes on Specter. IF we won this vote, then the Specter bill, as amended on the Senate floor, would be the bill that COULD go to conference with the House Sensenbrenner bill (HR 4437). It is unclear, given all the recent momentum and White House involvement, whether the House would want to go to conference with a Specter/Senate bill, or whether the House would decline and let the session end with a stalemate.

We will be working on amendments, talking points, floor speeches, etc.

We have asked our California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Carolinas Chapters to call their Senators to thank them for their committee votes. Restrictionist groups are calling these Senators "villains" for voting out a comprehensive bill. They need to hear our support.

We are also working via our coalition partners to do additional press briefings and to support ads in Capitol Hill papers for this week that cite recent polling data showing support for CIR.

Thanks, stay tuned, and we appreciate your work and support!