House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement that lawmakers and the American people “should cautiously study the President’s immigration reform proposal since this Administration has a poor record of enforcing our immigration laws already on the books.”
Goodlatte said there will be a lot of questions about how the plan would work, how much it will cost and how future illegal immigration will be prevented — and he pledged to look at each piece in detail.
Democrats were far more charitable.
“His recommendations for how to tackle one of our Nation’s most pressing problems are thoughtful, realistic, and inclusive,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., who scheduled the first hearing on Feb. 13, the day after the State of the Union address. “I am particularly pleased to see that the President’s proposal includes better access to visas for victims of domestic and sexual violence, improved laws for refugees and asylum seekers, an enhanced investor visa program, and the assurance that every family, including binational gay and lesbian spouses, receives equal treatment under the law,” he said.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Obama “is handling this perfectly. He is using the bully pulpit to focus the nation’s attention on the urgency of immigration reform and set goals for action on this issue. But he is also giving lawmakers on both sides the space to form a bipartisan coalition.“
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.