The Senate’s pending immigration bill includes roughly 400 exemptions, exceptions, waivers, determinations and grants of discretion.
The bill’s complexity is forcing opponents and supporters to comb through its 844 pages before they can declare their conditional support or opposition to the high-stakes measure.
“WAIVER.—The Secretary, in the Secretary’s sole and unreviewable discretion, may waive the application of subparagraph (A) on behalf of an alien,” says one passage on page 71 of the complex document.
The prospective beneficiary of that discretion by a political appointee, according to the bill, is “an alien who departed from the United States while subject to an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal.”
The document mentions “discretion” or “discretionary” 41 times.
It mentions “judge” or “judges” 73 times, and mentions “secretary” 1018 times, normally as the people who decide whether to apply a waiver, exemption, determination or exception.
The complexity has already sparked GOP objections from Sen. Jeff Sessions and other Republicans who say they should be given more time to study and then explain the bill’s myriad complexities and loopholes to the public.
Top Democratic leaders, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, hope to push the bill quickly through the committee and then to the floor by early June.
The eight Senators who drafted the measure in secret for several months are expected presented their bill to the public on Thursday.
The bill mentions “exempt” or “exemption” 18 times.
“The competition requirement under section 253(a) of title 41, United States Code, may be waived or modified by a Federal agency for any procurement conducted to implement this title or the amendments made by this title if the senior procurement executive for the agency conducting the procurement … determines that the waiver or modification is necessary,” the bill declares on 142.
“Except” appears 156 times in the document.
On page 12, one exception allows the secretary to bypass the enforcement mechanisms that limit the award of green cards to former illegal immigrants.
“(B) EXCEPTION.—The Secretary shall permit registered provisional immigrants to apply for an adjustment to lawful permanent resident status if — (i)(I) litigation or a force majeure has prevented one or more of the conditions described in clauses (i) through (iv) of subparagraph (A) from being implemented.”