The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” has released a new version of the immigration bill that contains 999 references to waivers, exemptions and political discretion.
The revised 867-page bill contains multiple changes from the first 844-page version, released April 18, but Democrats have not announced any delay to the committee review of the complex bill that begins next week.
The bill includes roughly 1.14 waivers or exemptions per page. By comparison, the 2,409-page Obamacare law includes 0.78 waivers and exemptions per page.
The Obamacare law contains 1,882 mentions of “unless,” “notwithstanding,” “except,” “exempt,” “waivers,” “discretion” and “may.” “Waiver” is mentioned 209 times in the law.
The new draft of the immigration bill — which will allow officials much control over the supply and cost of labor needed by American companies — has 85 mentions of “unless,” 150 uses of “except,” 18 inclusions of “exempt,” 92 mentions of “waiver,” 42 offers of “discretion,” 47 use of “notwithstanding” and 618 uses of “may” in the 876-page bill.
The Daily Caller subtracted mentions of “may not” from both bills’ final tally of exemptions and options.
President Barack Obama backs the bill, and told reporters Tuesday that it “is going to be a historic achievement.”
The bill has been crafted by eight senators, led by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranked Democrat in the Senate.
Alex Conant, a spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio, the leading GOP supporter of the pending immigration bill, did not respond when asked by email if Rubio will ask for a delay to let his fellow GOP senators and their staffers read and understand the new version.
Since January, Rubio has declared that senators and outside opponents of the bill will have plenty of time to review the bill’s contents and to urge changes.
“Senator Rubio has said from the outset that we will not rush this process, and that begins at the committee level,” Conant told The Washington Post April 12.
“The Judiciary Committee must have plenty of time to debate and improve the bipartisan group’s proposal. … We believe that the more public scrutiny this legislation receives, the better it will become,” Conant said.
“We don’t see anything really coming to the [Senate] floor before, at the earliest, sometime in May,” McCain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren April 11.
“We want to give it plenty of time.”
Jessica Brady, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary Committee, declined Wednesday to say if the Democratic-run committee would delay the bill’s review.
Instead, she forwarded April 25 remarks by committee chairman Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.
“When we next meet, the bill will have been publicly available for three weeks. So before we vote on any aspect of it we and the public will have had the bill for some time,” he said.
The bill is extremely complex.
For example, there are 47 mentions of the term “notwithstanding,” each of which creates an exemption to the bill or to existing law. On page 339 of the new bill, a paragraph requires the amnesty be extended to illegals who voluntarily left the United States or were deported.
“Notwithstanding section 212(a)(9) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)), an alien’s application for an immigrant visa shall be considered if the alien was excluded, deported, removed, or departed voluntarily before the date of the enactment of this Act,” says the paragraph.
Another section allows the families of deported illegals, including family members who never visited the United States, to apply for the amnesty.
The limited-immigration group NumbersUSA has estimated that 33 million extra people would be able to apply to live in the United States because of the immigration bill, under the terms of the original draft.
The group — which wants to reduce the current annual immigration rate of 1 million — has not released an estimate of how many people could arrive under the new draft.
Advocates for the bill have highlighted at least one change in the new version, which is the addition of language that is said to plug a gap created by the bill’s immediate elimination of the current E-Verify system and its projected creation of a new E-Verify system. E-verify is used by employers to gauge whether a job applicant has the right to work in the United States.