List of Rejected Amendments that Could Have Improved the Gang of Eight Amnesty Bill

On May 9, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee began amending (“marking up”) S. 744, the 844-page Senate Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Three hundred amendments and five days of hearings later, the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its markup, passing the legislation out of committee 13-5 and sending it to the Senate floor for debate. Rather than improving the legislation, the markup only made the bill worse, doing nothing to secure our porous borders and making it even easier for illegal aliens to gain citizenship.

Below is a list of key amendments offered during the hearing that would have improved the bill, but were ultimately rejected.

Title I

Cornyn 1: Revises border security provisions to:

  1. require DHS and the Comptroller General to determine the borders are secure before permitting illegal aliens amnestied (receiving “registered provisional immigrant” status) to receive a green card;
  2. require DHS to achieve 90% apprehension rate along all border sectors;
  3. require DHS to develop and utilize new and improved border metrics;
  4. authorize the border commission created under the bill to act as an advisory panel to the Secretary of DHS immediately following enactment (rather than taking over in 5 years if Secretary fails to meet goals); and
  5. require DHS to develop a plan to decrease wait times at ports of entry, including by requiring the addition of 10,000 CBP officers, no less than 5,000 of which are mandated to be border patrol officers.

Cruz 1: Prevents illegal aliens from obtaining amnesty until the DHS Secretary:

  1. triples the number of border patrol agents along the Southern border;
  2. quadruples the number of drones, cameras, helicopters, and other equipment along the border;
  3. completes the remainder of the border fence as mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006;
  4. develops real-time information sharing w/ the DOH and all federal law enforcement agencies;
  5. completes and fully implements the biometric US-VISIT entry-exit system; and
  6. establishes operational control over 100% of the Southern border. If the DHS Secretary fails to substantially comply w/ all requirements w/in 3 years, the Department’s political appointees’ salaries will be cut by 20 percent and given in the form of block grants to Southern border states.

Grassley 4: Requires DHS Secretary to submit to Congress certification that the Southern border has been under “effective control” for at least 6 months before the Secretary can begin processing applications for amnesty (“registered provisional immigrant” status). Requires the 90% apprehension rate goal be met in all border sectors, not just those deemed “high risk.”

Lee 4: Requires the House of Representatives to vote to determine whether the DHS Secretary has achieved the goals in the Secretary’s border security and fencing plans before the Secretary can process applications for illegal aliens to gain amnesty (“registered provisional immigrant” status) or a subsequent green card.

Sessions 4: Requires the use of a biometric entry-exit system at all ports of entry before the DHS Secretary may adjust the status of RPIs to LPRs.

Sessions 9: Requires the completion of a double-layered border fence along the Southern border, replacing the DHS Secretary’s optional border fencing strategy.

Sessions 11: Ensures that “effective control” of the border encompasses all unlawful entries into the U.S., using the definition of operational control as under the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

Title II

Cruz 2: Prohibits aliens from receiving Federal, State, or local means-tested benefits while not in lawful status.

Cruz 3: Prohibits amnestied illegal aliens from receiving U.S. citizenship.

Lee 8: Prohibits absconders or illegal aliens attempting to reenter after receiving a deportation order from qualifying for RPI status.

Lee 10: Requires illegal aliens pay all back taxes, penalties, and fines before eligible for RPI status.

Lee 12: Prohibits the use of sworn affidavits for employment verification for RPIs seeking to adjust to LPR status.

Sessions 30: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to limit the additional child tax credit to citizens and LPRs.

Title III

Grassley 29: Requires all businesses regardless of size to use the electronic employment authorization system to verify work eligibility of new hires w/in 18 months of enactment.

Grassley 35: Allows state and local E-Verify laws to stay in place until the program is implemented and used nationwide.

Grassley 43: Makes it more difficult for criminal street gang members to gain amnesty; strips DHS Secretary of the authority granted to her to waive gang members into the amnesty.

Grassley 47: Strikes provision from bill making it more difficult to detain criminal aliens.

Grassley 52: Prevents certain changes to the asylum program from taking effect until the Director of National Intelligence submits to Congress a report on the U.S. Government’s handling of the Boston Marathon bombings, including the intelligence and immigration failures leading up to the attack. The changes put on hold include the provision eliminating the requirement those seeking asylum declare their intent to file w/in 1-yr of arriving the United States.

Sessions 31: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to limit the Earned Income Tax Credit to U.S. citizens and LPRs.

Sessions 32: Among other things, affirms in Fed law that state and local law enforcement have inherent authority to assist in the enforcement of fed immigration law.

Title IV

Grassley 56: Strikes the provision waiving for “low-risk” applicants the requirement under current law that all individuals (with the exception of those below age 14 and above age 79) seeking a visa be subject to an in-person interview.

Grassley 60: Requires all employers using H-1Bs (instead of only H-1B-dependent employers) to attest that they made good faith efforts to recruit U.S. workers first.

Grassley 67: Requires annual audits of one percent of employers employing H-1B and L-nonimmigrant workers.

Grassley Second Degree #1 to Hatch-Schumer Second Degree to Hatch 10: Requires all employers make a good-faith attempt to recruit U.S. workers before using H-1Bs.

Sessions 1: Among other things, revises the immigrant visa system and caps the number of green cards per year at 1.2 million. Caps the number of nonimmigrant visas at 1 million per year with 169,000 guaranteed to go to certain nonimmigrant categories.

Sessions 6: States changes made to the Visa Waiver Program (use of visa overstay rate to determine Visa Waiver Program eligibility) under bill would not take effect until the biometric entry-exit system is fully implemented.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. Pingback: Senators Cruz, Grassley, Sessions & Lee Voice Opposition to Gang of Eight Bill

  2. avatar
    Mass Immigration Is Unsustainable on

    Cruz wants to double immigration and quintuple H1-B. And he’s presumably for mass legalization, just not with citizenship.

  3. Pingback: The Rubio Deception | Furthermore

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  5. avatar

    Why do we need new laws for the same things that we have already? obammy and his czars/cabinet don’t want to enforce anything that we have as a nation. They are out to destroy everything that has been created. God is not very happy with any of their doings. WE ARE A NATION OF RULES AND you gutless people need to obey them. Start with our borders by protecting them. Other countries protect there borders, why can’t the USA do it? I am so sick and tired of obammy disregarding OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND TEARING IT DOWN. WE ARE NOT A 3RD WORLD COUNTRY. WE ARE A NUMBER 1 COUNTRY. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, LEAVE. You leaders aren’t as blessed in getting the American people to vote for you if you have to resort to having the borders wide open and buy their votes. If that is the case, you are like HITLER/MARKIST/COMMUNIST and SOCIALIST. We don’t want you here in the USA.

  6. avatar

    There is no enforcement in this. E verify is five years down the road, at least. This is an open borders bill, plain and simple.

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      Leland you still do not get it don’t you?………….I will give you an answer with a question….Ultimately who enforces the Law?.REALLY!! NOT the gov but The People…………..

      • avatar

        There is One Way Real Legal Americans can Take This Country Back from the Dmocrat/Republican Open Border Fascists

        We have big hearts in America, but don’t get us ANGRY [and I think that’s starting to happen now]…..Americans have proved in their past when that happens; Granny Bar the Door! We never lose.

  7. avatar

    These were all good amendments. The fact that all of them are being swatted down makes clear that the Democrats and their Gang of Eight GOP co-conspirators are charging forward with a bill designed to leave the border unsealed and transform the US into a one-party state. They will EASILY get 60 votes in the senate, as they only need to convince 1-2 additional GOP senators (beyond the 4 Gang of Eight Republican conspirators) that failing to allow immediate amnesty without sealing the border will lead to perpetual GOP losses.

    The arithmetic in the House is frighteningly similar. There are 201 Democrats. Virtually all of them will vote for any bill. They only need 17 more votes in the House (fewer than 10% of GOP representatives) to pass a bill. Passage in the House is a virtual certainty if it gets to a floor vote. We can call our senators and representatives until we’re blue in the face (and we should), but we’re unlikely to win the day. There is only one certain way to kill a crappy immigration bill. (I define an unacceptable bill as one that doesn’t demand that the border be sealed with a Pacific-to-Gulf impenetrable triple border fence before any regularization of illegals even begins. Certification of the border being sealed must be by 3/4 majority of both houses of congress.)

    The ONLY certain way to kill a bad bill is to make John Boehner understand that if he permits a bad bill to come to the floor that he will face the most heavily funded primary challenger in the history of congressional primary challengers. FAIR needs to move with lightning speed to identify a highly credible potential primary challenger in Ohio’s 8th district. Someone who is a reasonable person, who stands with the GOP on most important issues, a pillar of the community who will not tolerate another 1986-like bill that legalizes illegals without first sealing the border. That potential candidate needs to stand on the steps of the Capitol in DC and proclaim to the world that if John Boehner allows an unacceptable bill (as defined above) to move forward that he/she will immediately commence a primary challenge to Boehner. They should preemptively announce a campaign website (Jane or similar) – one that allows people to pledge future donations should a primary challenge be made necessary by Boehner acquiescing to another 1986 bill that legalizes illegals without first requiring that the southern border be sealed.

  8. avatar
    Concerned Citizen on

    So now we’ve had a jihadist bombing in Boston and a meat cleaver hacking attack in London, but the English-speaking West hasn’t had enough self-mutilation yet. Let’s thrown down our borders (and defenses) completely and “finish the job” by giving amnesty to anyone who wants to be here, and moreover open the doors wide open to as much legal immigration as the land will hold. It doesn’t matter whether they resent us or even hate us to the core in the name of God. Then at some point in the near future, when the tools of the state can no longer protect the public, we can “finish the job” by annihilating our nations entirely, to heck with the consequences. Let’s put men wielding bloody knives on national T.V. every day in the future because it speaks to our new, national pathologies. What a bold vision our leaders have hatched!

    I’ve said it before recently: it’s a sick world we’re living in, and our Gang of Eight leaders make it that much sicker.

    • avatar
      John Winthrop on

      You just realized that?…………………..That is the World …………………….Welcome…….