Following a vote last night in which the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a comprehensive immigration reform package by a vote of 13 to 5, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:
"Last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee brought this country one step closer to achieving a real solution to our broken immigration system. While not perfect, the legislation that was approved with bipartisan support represents the best chance in decades for the United States to create a commonsense pathway towards citizenship. I am disappointed that the Committee did not include more amendments to strengthen family unity in our immigration process, but I will continue fighting for such provisions as the bill moves to the Senate Floor and here in the House."
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected an amendment by Sen. Hirono (HI) to create a visa for brothers, sisters, sons, or daughters of a citizen to enter the United States if the citizen was subject to extreme hardship without them. The amendment failed by a vote of 11-7. This amendment would have helped to bring family members together at a time when they needed it most. The Committee did approve amendments to reunify Filipino Veterans of World War II with their children and to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of the merit-based immigration system on families.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held five markup sessions to consider the bipartisan legislation, debating more than 200 amendments offered by members of both parties. Tuesday's vote also comes after six hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of immigration reform, including three focused specifically on the legislation approved on a bipartisan 13-5 vote. A list of the amendments considered by the Judiciary Committee can be found on the Senate Judiciary website.
Congresswoman Judy Chu has been a long time advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and has become a leading voice fighting for family unity to be addressed in the process. Her efforts have included letters to each member of the Senate Gang of Eight, followed up by a number of direct phone conversations with the Senators and a face-to-face meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. While she was successful in pressuring the group to allow increase the number of parents they would allow to bring children to the United States, she will continue fighting to ensure siblings will be able to bring their brothers and sisters here as well.