What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : S 1639. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to kill an amendment that would prohibit certain visa recipients from receiving a green card/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 231)
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S 1639. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to kill an amendment that would prohibit certain visa recipients from receiving a green card/On the motion
senate Roll Call 231     Jun 27, 2007
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This vote was on whether to delete a portion of an amendment dealing with new visas for immigrants. 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. This vote was on whether to keep one of those divisions originally drafted by Kit Bond, R-Mo.

Bond's division would have prohibited people receiving the new "Z visa" from also receiving a green card.

The amendment was offered to a bill intended to overhaul America's immigration system. Among other things, the bill establishes several new temporary and permanent visas (including the Z visa) in an effort to encourage the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States to legitimize their residency. The Z visa would put immigrants, including some in the country illegally, on a path to citizenship by eventually allowing visa holders to be issued a green card. Bond's division would prevent Z visa holders from receiving a green card.

"My part of the division of this amendment, simply stated, will cut the path to citizenship for illegal aliens," Bond said. "I think most people will recognize that citizenship is the most precious gift America can provide. There are many of us who believe it should not serve as a reward to those who broke the law to enter or remain in this country. The path to citizenship is at the heart of the amnesty criticism of this bill, which we are hearing very loudly in my State and across the Nation. I believe cutting this path cuts out the most severe complaint against this bill."

Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said Bond's amendment would, in essence, allow employers to put immigrants to work, without any sort of citizenship reward. And once that work was done, they would be subject to deportation. As a result, Bond's amendment would, do nothing but breed resentment and hostility among America's population of immigrants, Kennedy said.

"As long as those individuals are working and who will never become citizens, who will never have that right to become a part of the American dream, and once you stop working, out of the country you go. Better gather up all of your belongings, because you are going to be out of status, and out of status means you can be subject to deportation," Kennedy said. "You can imagine what that individual is going to say to their employer when the employer says: Sure, you have worked 40 hours. You work 50 hours, 60 hours, and bring your wife in and make sure she works overtime this week as well; otherwise, you are out of status. You are out of here."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made a motion to table (or kill) Bond's division. By a vote of 57-40, the Senate voted to table the division. All but eight Democrats voted for the motion to table the division. Republicans mostly voted against the motion to table the division, though 16 voted for it. Thus, the bill went forward without language that would have prohibited certain visa recipients from also receiving a green card.

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