Which immigration amendments passed today?

June 19, 2013

Updated 6:22 p.m. ET

The Senate considered several more amendments Wednesday to the bipartisan immigration bill. 

Every time that the Senate plans to vote on amendments, we're providing a summary of each proposal and handicap its prospects for passage. Here's a look at what transpired today:


Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.). (Post)

-- Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.): His amendment would put limits on the salaries of executives and employees working for government contractors involved in border security operations. Taxpayer funding could not be used to pay salaries above the amounts paid to Cabinet secretaries (currently $230,700). This means that a contractor could pay its executive or employees a sum higher than the Cabinet salary level, but the private company would need to pay the difference, according to Manchin's office.

Prospects for passage: Likely to pass, according to Senate aides. The issue of contractor compensation has been a pet concern of many lawmakers upset that employees with private firms doing government work are paying their workers higher salaries than public employees.

What happened?: Approved 72 to 26.


Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). (washingtonpost.com)

-- Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.): Their plans would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to establish a recruitment plan to woo former members of the U.S. military for job openings.

Prospects for passage: Highly likely. Could be one of several of these amendments approved by voice vote.

What happened?: Approved by voice vote.

-- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.): This proposal would require state-run workforce agencies to certify that a company has actively attempted to recruit eligible U.S. citizens for jobs and that U.S. citizens are not qualified or available to fill positions that could be filled with eligible foreigners with H-2B temporary worker visas.

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

What happened?: Approved by voice vote.


Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). (Brendan Hoffman/GETTY)

-- Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.): Her amendment would require the National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard to provide training programs on border protection, immigration law enforcement "and how to address vulnerable populations, such as children and victims of crime," according to her office.

Prospects for passage: Expected to pass.

UPDATE: Expected to be voted on Thursday.

-- Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.): This proposal would clarify what it would mean to be “physically present” in the U.S. for merit-based immigrant visa applicants.

Prospects for passage: Expected to pass.

UPDATE: Expected to be voted on Thursday.


Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). (Post)

-- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.): His proposal is considered one of the most aggressive border security proposals in the mix. As we've written previously, his amendment stipulates that no illegal immigrant could apply for green card status until the Department of Homeland Security and Government Accountability Office jointly certify that there is “100 percent situational awareness” along the border, meaning that the U.S. Border Patrol has “monitoring capability at every segment” of the roughly 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border. It also requires full implementation of the E-Verify system and a biometric tracking system at the nation's exit and entry points.

Prospects for passage: The amendment is opposed by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight," Senate Democrats and a few other Senate Republicans. It is likely to fail.

UPDATE: Expected to be voted on Thursday.


Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). (Rick Bowmer/AP)

-- Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): His proposal is an off-shoot of the Cornyn amendment and would require "fast-track congressional approval" once the secretary of homeland security notifies Congress that the U.S. government has met all the requirements laid out in Cornyn's plan.

Prospects for passage: Expected to fail.

What happened?: Defeated 39 to 59.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). (AP)

-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): The so-called “Trust but Verify" amendment would require DHS to implement specific border security measures, including hundreds of miles of additional fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, and provide a report to Congress each year on its progress. Then Congress would vote annually as to whether DHS has met border security goals. Another group of illegal immigrants would earn legal work visas each year if the metrics are met, according to Paul.

Prospects for passage: The proposal is expected to fail along party lines.

What happened?: Senators voted to table the amendment, effectively defeating it.

-- Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.): This amendment would require that the Southern Border Security Commission, to be established by the new law, include a representative from Nevada.

Prospects for passage: This amendment is one of the few GOP proposals expected to pass and is similar to a proposal Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) successfully amended to the bill on Tuesday.

What happened?: Approved 89 to 9.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). (AP)

-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.): This amendment is similar to Cornyn's proposal and would require DHS to meet certain requirements before DHS could begin processing applications for eligible immigrants to seek a permanent status.

Prospects for passage: The measure is expected to fail.

UPDATE: Expected to be voted on Thursday.

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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