What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : S 1639. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to defeat an amendment increasing the number of green cards available for parents of U.S. citizens/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 232)
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S 1639. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to defeat an amendment increasing the number of green cards available for parents of U.S. citizens/On the motion
senate Roll Call 232     Jun 27, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on whether to delete a portion of an amendment that would increase the number of green cards available for parents of U.S. citizens. The amendment was offered to a bill intended to overhaul America's immigration system. The bill would, for the first time, set an annual cap on the number of green cards that can be issued to parents of U.S. citizens, setting the quota at 40,000 per year. There is currently no quota for parents of U.S. citizens. Dodd's amendment would increase the cap established in the underlying bill to 90,000. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., made a motion to "table" (or kill) Dodd's amendment.

Debate on the amendment was largely nonexistent, as the vote occurred toward the end of a long night of fighting over the bill itself. But generally, Republicans have argued for dealing with the ballooning numbers of immigrants in America by tightening border security, while Democrats have favored overhauling the way the immigration system works, to encourage more people living in the U.S. illegally to come forward and be recognized by the government.

During consideration of the underlying bill, the Senate leadership used an unusual procedure known as a "clay pigeon" amendment, which is, in essence, a large amendment that consists of many smaller amendments known as "divisions." Though the smaller amendments are collected into one large amendment, the Senate votes on each division separately.

Arlen Specter, R-Pa., moved that Dodd's amendment be defeated. The Senate voted 56-41 to defeat Dodd's amendment. All Republicans present voted to defeat the amendment. All but eight Democrats voted to retain it. The most Progressive members of the Senate voted to retain the amendment, with the exception of Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who helped draft the original bill. Kennedy voted against several Democratic amendments during the course of debate on this measure, arguing that the underlying bill was a carefully crafted compromise that could be undone by major changes. Thus, Dodd's amendment was stricken, and the bill went forward with a quota for "family reunification" green cards at 40,000 rather than 90,000.

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