2 amendments to immigration reform bill passed, 2 defeated

June 18, 2013

Updated 4:32 p.m. ET

The Senate voted Tuesday on amendments to the bipartisan immigration reform bill, marking the first time since debate started that senators were making changes to the massive legislative proposal.

Every day that the Senate plans to vote on amendments, we'll provide a summary of each proposal and handicap its prospects for passage.

Senators voted Tuesday on four amendments — two from Republicans, two from Democrats. Here's a quick look at the four amendments on the docket:


Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

— Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.): The senator's amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security to complete construction of 700 miles of double-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico border before eligible immigrants could apply for green cards and permanent legal status. The plan essentially forces the government to comply with laws passed in 1996 and 2006 that authorized the building of the fence. So far, there is only 36 miles of double-layered fence along the border, according to Thune's office.

Prospects for passage: Unlikely. The proposal is considered too aggressive by a mix of Democrats and Republicans, including members of the "Gang of Eight."

What happened?: The amendment was defeated 39 to 54.


Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) (AP)

— Sen. David Vitter (R-La.): Vitter's proposal focuses on establishing a biometric tracking system that would be able to identify immigrants who overstay visas. This issue dominated debate on the immigration bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee and led to an agreement requiring DHS to establish a biometric tracking system at the nation's 30 largest international airports within six years of the bill's passage. Vitter's plan would go much further by requiring DHS to fully implement the tracking system, known as US-VISIT, at every land border crossing, seaport and international airport in the country before eligible immigrants could apply for green cards. The Obama administration and members of the Gang of Eight agree that rolling out the system at every international point of entry would add significant cost to the bill.

Prospects for passage: Unlikely, but a similar proposal on expanding the biometric tracking system more aggressively could be considered later.

What happened?: The amendment was defeated 36 to 58.


Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) (AP)

— Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.): The senator has several proposals regarding non-native children adopted by American parents, a longtime interest of hers. Under a 2000 law, children lawfully adopted by American parents are automatically granted citizenship. Landrieu's amendment would extend those rights to children who turned 18 before the law was passed. The amendment also would change currently law by requiring that only one parent — not both — visit the child’s home country before the child receives citizenship. Finally, the proposal amendment would clarify that adopted by American parents who work overseas — such as missionaries or U.S. diplomats — only need to be “physically present” in the U.S. instead of  “residing” in the country.

Prospects for passage: Expected to pass, according to senior Senate aides.

What happened?: It was approved unanimously by voice vote.


Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) (washingtonpost.com)

— Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.): Tester is asking that the Border Oversight Task Force established by the bill to recommend to federal officials how best to secure the nation's borders include representatives from Native American tribes. The panel is already expected to include state governors, local law enforcement officials and representatives of people who own property along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prospects for passage: Expected to pass easily, according to senior Senate aides.

What happened?: The amendment passed 94 to 0.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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