Senators Following Slower Path on Immigration

Posted October 15, 2009 at 3:17pm

Although Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) vowed this week to introduce comprehensive immigration reform next month, his Senate counterparts expected to take the lead on the issue aren’t heeding a similar timeline.

“That’s new to me,— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said of Gutierrez’s announcement, made Tuesday at an immigration rally on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve been talking to Sen. Schumer, and we hope to get something done that’s comprehensive,— Graham added. “We just don’t know when yet.—

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, has been meeting periodically with Graham to discuss ideas on immigration, but the Senate duo has no plans to offer legislation in the near term as the Senate looks to pass a massive health care package.

“We have to get health care done first,— Graham said.

Schumer’s Immigration subpanel is scheduled to hold a hearing next month on how best to track the flow of immigrants in and out of the country. Schumer met recently with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to discuss the issue, and has called on the agency to adopt a comprehensive tracking program.