Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy issued a wry statement Wednesday welcoming the release of a bipartisan immigration reform proposal from the so-called “Gang of Eight” senators.
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has already been openly annoyed with “a few senators who are engaged in secret, closed door discussions on their own [immigration] proposal.”
Leahy’s statement Wednesday reiterated his frustration with the Gang of Eight’s work thus far and seemed to breathe a sigh of relief that the bill is finally available for the Senate to mull over.
“Now that we have comprehensive immigration reform legislation to review, the Senate Judiciary Committee can make progress on this important issue. Our current immigration system is broken. We owe it to the millions of American families who are suffering under this current system to reform it, which is why the Judiciary Committee has already dedicated considerable time to comprehensive immigration reform this year.”
Leahy emphasized his gratitude that the bill will finally be available for senators outside the Gang of Eight to “improve.”
“I was glad to hear Senator [Marco] Rubio say this past weekend that he expects the 92 Senators not involved in the ‘Gang of Eight’ to improve this legislation. I expect that many Senators on the Judiciary Committee will have additional ideas for improvements to the proposed bill, and for more ways we can improve the broken system. In addition to the hearings we have already had on immigration reform this year we will have two more public hearings to examine this proposal. Then we can begin the serious work of debating and voting on amendments, and voting on advancing an amended proposal to the full Senate for consideration.”
“I look forward to reviewing the legislative text released today and to our next Judiciary Committee hearing where the details of this proposal will be examined in public,” Leahy said.
The Gang of Eight consists of Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet and Bob Menendez as well as Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake. Their legislation was introduced early Wednesday morning.