A debate on the nation’s immigration policies has started in the United States Senate, but Nebraska’s senators wonder what kind of debate it will be.
Debate has begun in the Senate on the so-called “gang of eight” proposal to reform the nation’s immigration laws. Eight senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, have worked on a proposal that first cleared the Judiciary Committee and now finds itself on the Senate floor.
Sen. Mike Johanns opposes the bill as written by the gang of eight.
“If nothing changed between now and the final vote, I would be a ‘No’ vote on that bill,” Johanns tells Nebraska voters during a conference call.
Johanns holds out hope that it will change. He points to promises by Senate leadership for an open debate process with much discussion on how to fix the flaws in the bill.
Johanns, a Republican, worries though that votes on amendments will break along party lines.
“Then you end up with a situation where no meaningful amendment gets adopted, because obviously as a member of the minority, I will be out voted every single time on that kind of approach,” according to Johanns.
Sen. Deb Fischer, also a Republican, calls the current system broken.
“The border remains dangerously insecure and more than 11 million illegal immigrants are now enjoying de facto amnesty,” Fischer says.
Fischer says border security is her top issue and adds that Congress should first work to secure the border between the United States and Mexico before turning to immigration reform. Fischer opposes a pathway to citizenship and says taxpayers must be protected from allowing public benefits to flow to those in the country illegally.
Senate leadership vows to complete work on the immigration bill before the Independence Day recess.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]