U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Tuesday after President Barack Obama announced his proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. The Judiciary Committee is the primary committee of jurisdiction for immigration reform, and Chairman Leahy announced Tuesday that the Committee will hold its first hearing on immigration reform in two weeks, on Feb. 13.]
"President Obama should be commended for making Comprehensive Immigration Reform a top priority. His recommendations for how to tackle one of our Nation's most pressing problems are thoughtful, realistic, and inclusive. I am particularly pleased to see that the President's proposal includes better access to visas for victims of domestic and sexual violence, improved laws for refugees and asylum seekers, an enhanced investor visa program, and the assurance that every family, including binational gay and lesbian spouses, receives equal treatment under the law. The President's courageous words today, the leadership of Senator Reid, as well as the recent work of a bipartisan group of Senators are encouraging. I look forward to seeing principles turned into legislation. True reform must address all these issues and others, such as those facing our Nation's dairy and agriculture industries.
"I plan to hold a hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform the day after the President's State of the Union address to the American people and the Congress, and to have the Senate Judiciary Committee consider Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation this spring."