Senate pushes back border security legislation

Pending border-security legislation will not be back on the Senate's agenda until sometime after members return from their spring recess, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said Tuesday.

Daschle said the bill, which has been blocked in the Senate since the end of last year, would be "high on the list" of legislative priorities "after the break."

Daschle's comments appear to dash hopes immigration advocates had expressed earlier Tuesday that the Senate would try to reconsider the bipartisan legislation--which also contains an extension of the 245(i) visa program--in time for President Bush's trip to Mexico this week to discuss migration and other issues.

"The Senate's passage of the border security bill before President Bush goes to Mexico ... would indicate our seriousness in tackling important security concerns," Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a conference call with reporters.

Bush appealed Tuesday to the Senate to show the "leadership" necessary to pass the measure.

Daschle and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., support the bill, but Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has indicated he has substantive concerns about aspects of the measure dealing with the 245(i) program, which enables certain immigrants already in the United States to remain in the country while awaiting citizenship.

However, the House already has approved the Senate bill, both with and without the 245(i) extensions, so Daschle could bring up either version for amendment, a chief Senate cosponsor said.

"It's up to Sen. Daschle," said the cosponsor, Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee ranking member Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

As for a Bush administration proposal to merge the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which includes the Border Patrol, and place enforcement activities under the aegis of the Justice Department, Brownback said he did not know enough details of the plan to comment.

A spokesman for House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner, whose committee is scheduled to mark up the chairman's INS restructuring legislation shortly after the spring recess, indicated likewise. But "from what details are available of Bush's plan, it would not negatively impact our legislation," he added.

However, Butterfield criticized the new homeland security plan as one "that has not been carefully or thoughtfully considered, and we're gravely concerned ...that stakeholders have not been consulted," Butterfield said.

Added Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum: "This would [cause immigration] enforcement to be completely divorced from adjudications, which we think would likely make a bad situation worse. It seems to us to be going in exactly the wrong direction."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.