The Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill is headed to the Senate floor. This bill if passed would benefit the undocumented immigrants by permitting them to enter the legalization process. Likewise, US employers who are in short of low skilled workers could hire low skilled foreign workers legally as the bill would create new visa programs for low skilled foreign workers and agricultural workers. Nevertheless, attempts were made to derail the immigration reform bill but the bill managed to pass the Judiciary Committee. Senator Patrick Leahy tried to add amendments on same sex couples but the Republicans and the members of the Gang of Eight stated that they would not support an immigration reform bill that would permit US citizens to sponsor their same sex foreign partners. That is the reason why Senator Patrick Leahy dropped the idea of adding that amendment to the Senate bill. Republicans focus on border security and more than 40 amendments filed by the Republicans were approved.
The Senate immigration reform bill will be brought to the floor for debate, in June and the Senators might take few weeks to debate on the bill and to vote. The federal government does not recognize same sex marriages and it does not grant immigration benefits to the same sex couples. Senator Patrick Leahy wanted to attach the same sex provision to the bill but as the Republicans would kill the bill if such provisions were added to it, he did not introduce that amendment in the committee. President Obama stated that the same sex couples also deserve the same immigration benefits but the Senate bill would have faced a bigger hurdle if this provision was added to the bill.
This decision of the Senate Committee not to add protections for the same sex couples, has angered gay rights advocates. They believe that the federal government would recognize same marriages if the Supreme Court overturns Section 3 of DOMA. There are more than 24,000 same sex couples in the United States and if provisions for these couples are added to the bill, most of these couples would be benefited. Senator Patrick Leahy is disappointed as he was not able to attach the same sex provision to the Senate immigration reform bill. Nevertheless, he is likely to push for a vote on this amendment in June when the full Senate considers the immigration reform bill. If he introduces that amendment, the amendment would require at least 60 votes to pass.