Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senate Debates Amendments to Immigration Reform

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senate Debates Amendments to Immigration Reform

Article excerpt

As Nation's Cities Weekly went to press, the Senate was continuing debate on a comprehensive immigration reform bill (S.2611).

An amendment sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that makes cities and towns eligible for a large pool of federal dollars to provide education services and health services to immigrant families in their communities passed Thursday evening with bipartisan support.

The Cornyn amendment is paid for with an additional $750 fee on immigrants applying for citizenship. Local governments stand to receive approximately $2.1 billion of the fees collected if the Cornyn amendment becomes law.

An amendment sponsored by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) that would have reimbursed local governments for providing health, education and public safety services to non-citizen residents failed on a mostly party line vote. The Republicans supporting the Clinton amendment were Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Lincoln Chaffee (R.I.).

The Clinton amendment used existing fees in S. 2611 and provided significantly more direct funding to cities and towns.

NLC staff worked closely with both Clinton's and Cornyn's offices in crafting the amendments.

Earlier in the week, the Senate passed aspects of the bill, including increased border security and a fence along the Mexican border and an amendment that would make English the national language of the United States and require immigrants to pass an English proficiency test before they can become citizens. …

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