The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on February 13 to discuss the proposed immigration reform drafted by a bipartisan group of eight senators. According to The New York Times, the hearing will take place primarily to hear from Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security.
Some government officials believe this meeting will be the first step in a long process, although it’s not likely that specific details will be revealed. This hearing comes one day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, when he called for a sweeping immigration overhaul.
“Comprehensive immigration reform must include a fair and straightforward path to citizenship for those ‘dreamers’ and families who have made the United States their home – the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States,” Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in his opening statement. “I am troubled by any proposal that contains false promises in which citizenship is always over the next mountain. I want the pathway to be clear and the goal of citizenship, attainable.”
It is expected that some lawmakers will represent the harsh challenges of getting the legislation through Congress, even though officials from both parties and the president are supportive of the move. Some believe that the bill will not protect the rights of workers in the United States. The largest concern is securing the border, which Napolitano is expected to cover as a member of the panel on immigration reform.
A growing concern is looming over the LGBT community on whether or not they will have the same rights under the comprehensive bill, but Leahy intends to protect undocumented individuals within the community, which is something that President Obama backed during his immigration speech in January.