Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/14/2013 12:07 PM

Senators argue over immigration bill ID mandates

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Senators weighing a landmark immigration bill defeated an effort by Republicans Tuesday to require biometric identification -- such as fingerprinting -- to track who is entering and leaving the country.

The amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., would have required a biometric system to be in place before any immigrant here illegally could obtain permanent residency or citizenship.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"This is a big, big hole in the system and it's gone on for years and years," Sessions said as the Senate Judiciary Committee opened its second day of meetings to plow through hundreds of amendments to legislation remaking the U.S. immigration system, a top priority for President Barack Obama.

"This is one of the reasons the American people have so little confidence in any of the promises we make," Sessions said.

An author of the bill, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, agreed with Sessions that biometric IDs are the most secure. But he said authors of the bill determined they were too costly to implement anytime soon. Indeed current law already requires such a system to be in place, but the Department of Homeland Security has been unable to implement it.

Instead the bill seeks electronic scanning of photo IDs.

"Current law is a concept, and there is apparently not a whole lot of will by Republicans or Democrats to make the concept a reality," Graham said. "What we've done is taken the current system and make it better."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a biometric system would cost $25 billion. He and other Democrats said Sessions' amendment would simply throw up barriers to a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 6 to defeat Sessions' amendment. Graham and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., joined with the Democrats on the committee in voting it down.

Graham, Flake, Schumer and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are four of the eight authors of the immigration bill. Since they sit on the Judiciary Committee together they have resolved to vote together against amendments that could strike at the core provisions of the legislation and threaten the fragile alliances behind it.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here