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May 18, 2006

Update from the Senate 5/17/06

From AILA Executive Director Jeanne Butterfield;

The Senate floor action continues to be fraught with dangers, disorganization, and delay, even while producing some significant victories!

A detailed blow-by-blow summary of today's 7 amendments is attached
Highlights:

We won important exemptions and waivers on a Cornyn/Kyl amendment that bars people with certain criminal convictions and removal orders from legalization programs. The modified amendment passed by a 99-0 vote.

We defeated a Vitter amendment that would have deleted all of the legalization provisions in the Senate bill--the vote was 66-33, and a good indicator of the likely vote on final passage of a Senate bill.

Lowlights:

We narrowly lost on a Cornyn amendment that eliminated the ability of new temporary workers to self-petition for permanent status after 4 years of working in the new temporary worker program. 8 Republicans opposed the amendment (Brownback, Chafee, Craig, DeWine, Graham, Lugar, McCain, Specter), but 3 Democrats voted in favor of it (Byrd, Ben Nelson, Stabenow), and 2 Democrats did not vote (Kohl, Rockefeller), so the measure was approved 50-48.

A Sessions amendment to build 370 more miles of fencing along the southern border also passed on an overwhelming 83-16 vote.

Debate will resume tomorrow morning and probably extend until late evening.

The first amendment up tomorrow will be a Kennedy/McCain/Graham amendment to preserve self-petitioning in a modified form, correcting some of the damage done by the Cornyn amendment.

The Brownback/Lieberman amendment that would have addressed detention issues has been put on hold, with DHS opposition apparently giving Senator Brownback pause.

We will keep you posted...it is very difficult to give any advance notice of amendments as leaders on both sides of the aisle are negotiating on the spot about the order and timing of amendments.

If you would like to see how your Senators voted, go to www.senate.gov, click on "legislation" and then on "votes" for roll call records on each amendment.

Stay tuned!

Posted by VisaLawyer at May 18, 2006 06:45 AM

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