On May 9, 2013, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee began a markup of S. 774, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The 18 Senators on the Committee have offered a combined 301 Amendments to the 844-page bill.
The markup focused exclusively on Title 1 of the legislation, dealing with border security. There were 32 amendments offered to this section, with 21 being approved by the Committee.
Among the measures approved by the Committee was a proposal by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that expanded a requirement that the government apprehends 90 percent of people attempting to cross the border illegally from “high-risk sectors” to the entire Southwest border. Also adopted were measures to require more reports from federal agencies charged with enforcing border laws, to eliminate fees on immigrants who cross the border legally at ports of entry, and to give the Department of Homeland Security more control over how to spend money on border control strategies.
The Committee rejected two of the more controversial amendments, that the government build 700 miles of double-layered fencing and maintain complete operational control of the entire southern border before allowing illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, offered by Senators Grassley and Mike Lee (R-UT) respectively.
Additional markups are currently scheduled for May 14 and 16 with the amendment process expected to continue for several more weeks. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has said he hopes to finish debate on up to 300 amendments by the end of the month and send the bill to the full Senate for a vote in early June.
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