With the Judiciary Committee slated to begin debate on a comprehensive immigration reform package this Thursday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced several amendments he may offer to improve the reform bill, including provisions that would help small businesses and enhance protections for children.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Franken will play a key role in shaping the final immigration bill that will eventually be voted on by the entire Senate.
"Our broken immigration system has been a drag on our economy for far too long and it's time to fix it," said Sen. Franken. "We're off to a good start but there is room for improvement, which is why I plan to offer bipartisan amendments to help protect children and minimize any unnecessary and costly burdens for Minnesota's small businesses."
Sen. Franken plans to introduce a bipartisan amendment with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to improve the "E-Verify" system-which electronically identifies legal American workers-and minimize any undue burdens the system places on legal employees and small businesses that do not have the resources to deal with the errors that currently exist in the system.
Sen. Franken also plans to offer his HELP Separated Children amendment with Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to provide basic humanitarian protections for children in enforcement actions. The bill was inspired by the impacts of the 2006 immigration raids in Worthington, Minnesota, which left many young children effectively abandoned when their parents were detained.
In total, Sen. Franken filed 12 amendments which include a provision to clarify that battered immigrant women are eligible for public and assisted housing under the Violence Against Women Act and to transfer certain existing child protection programs from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Justice.