House measure offers pathway to citizenship
Tired of waiting for the GOP, House Democrats announced their own immigration bill Wednesday that grants illegal immigrants a path to citizenship but strips out the tough new border security measures passed by the Senate earlier this year.
Democrats said they took the bill that passed the Senate on a 68-32 vote and rewrote it, cutting out 20,000 new Border Patrol agents and 350 miles of fencing and additional technology. In place of those security measures, they inserted another House bill calling for the federal government to come up with a strategy to secure the border. The text wasn’t available by Wednesday evening.
Their goal, Democrats said, is to jump-start the immigration debate in the House.
“We’re not introducing the perfect bill, but we’re introducing a comprehensive reform bill that provides that space for compromise,” said Rep. Joe Garcia, Florida Democrat.
Unlike the Senate bill, which was written by four Republicans and four Democrats and passed only after that Gang of Eight accepted a GOP amendment adding new fencing and 20,000 Border Patrol agents, the House bill is sponsored only by Democrats.
But the lawmakers said they took pains to include a bipartisan bill that cleared the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this year that demands the Homeland Security Department come up with a strategy for securing the border.
The Democrats also said they already were making sacrifices by accepting most of the Senate bill, which grants a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants but curtails some current legal immigration