Senate Judiciary Committee meetings to mark up the immigration reform bill began last week. In a gesture of good faith, the committee approved eight border security amendments introduced by Republicans. These changes were not drastic and didn’t come as a surprise for proponents of the overhaul.
On the other hand, starting tomorrow, the proposed changes will be more divisive, since the discussion will involve the future of millions who have been waiting to get in. Of the more than 300 amendments, 200 came from Republicans. Two senators, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), introduced 126 of these markups. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is also trying to slow down the bill with his markups.
Once the Senate debate on the bill begins, it will involve a path to citizenship. Sessions, Cruz and Grassley strongly oppose this idea. To them, reform means having an immigrant-free U.S., with a highly militarized border that is completely impossible to cross.
It isn’t unusual for a controversial bill to have hundreds of markups in an attempt to delay the process, with the end goal of derailing the bill. Just like what these senators want to do about immigrants, put things off until they somehow go away.
If the Gang of Eight gets off track and lets a minority break down its united front, it could endanger the great advances achieved so far.
The eight senators at the helm of the immigration overhaul must keep their eyes on the ball, and continue making great strides to get millions out of the shadows.