Despite the fact that no bill has been introduced and there have been no hearings on the matter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced today that he plans to bring immigration reform to the floor of the Senate next month.
Responding to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who spoke on immigration before him, Reid said from the Senate floor this afternoon, “The good news is that within the very near, foreseeable, future hopefully I can start it in that next work period. Because, we are going to start immigration legislation here on the floor.”
The next work period begins April 8 and runs through April 26.
Yesterday, six Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Chairman Patrick Leahy a letter asking Democrats to give the American people some time to consider whatever legislation the Senate’s Gang of Ocho was about to produce. From the letter:
As you are aware, this bill potentially could be the most dramatic and consequential alteration of our immigration system in nearly 30 years, impacting nearly every aspect of our legal and economic structure, and increasing entitlement spending to historic levels. Before the Immigration Reform and Control Act was first introduced in the Senate in 1982, the Committee had 100 hours of hearings with 300 witnesses before marking up a bill. Congress continued to debate the bill for the next three years, and even then, the Judiciary Committee spent three months reviewing the bill before it was reported in August of 1985. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the public be given adequate time, consistent with past practice in handling complex comprehensive immigration legislation, to read and analyze the contents of any such bill before it is listed on the Committee’s Executive Business Meeting agenda.
It is unclear how Leahy can both honor Republican requests for deliberate consideration of immigration reform and stick to Reid’s timetable.