Anticipating the huge hurdle in the House for the passage of the immigration reform bill, community leaders and local officials in Nevada joined US Sen. Harry Reid at a Las Vegas rally to drum up support for the pending legislation.
“We have a bipartisan bill that is not perfect, but it is damn good,” Reid told the gathering held at the Culinary Union Local hall last July 1.
The senior senator from Nevada also said, “We’re a long ways from finished. We’re only halfway done.
The US Senate, under the leadership of Reid who is majority leader, passed a sweeping comprehensive immigration reform bill that would offer, among others, a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented people in the country. The bill also improves border security, imposes a new merit-based system for immigration, and offers relief for individuals who entered the US before age 16.
“Democrats support it. Republicans support it. Independents support it. All people in Senate support it except for Republicans in Congress,” Reid also said at the rally.
Gracing the event was US Rep. Luis Gutierrez who echoed Reid’s sentiments about the immigration reform bill as he vowed to work in Congress for its passage.
“My commitment to you is to work tirelessly as I have learned from the leader of the US Senate,” the congressman representing Illinois’ fourth congressional district said.
“We want 100 percent of the US House members from the State of Nevada to support immigration reform,” he also said.
Nevada’s Democratic representatives Dina Titus of the first congressional district and Steven Horsford of the fourth district both strongly support the reform bill. In fact, Titus who was also at the Las Vegas rally said, “We want to send a huge loud message that we want to get immigration reform done and done now.”
But Republican members Joe Heck from the state’s third congressional district and Mark Amodei, from the second district have yet to support the legislation.
At a separate media conference last July 1, Heck talked about the Senate’s immigration reform bill. “It has some things in it that are good. It has some things in in that concern me.”
He noted that he welcomes “the opportunity to take pieces of the senate bill and amend it to take care of my concerns.”
Among the issues that concern the congressman in the Senate’s version of the reform bill is the waiver provision on border security.
“If we don’t [improve] border security within 10 years, then it gets waived. I don’t think you can waive it,” Heck said at the media conference at his Henderson, NV office.
“I don’t think Congress should put that type of a waiver in there. So I think there are things in there that need to be fixed,” he also said.
Heck also hinted at a possibility of having several immigration reform legislation instead of just one bill.
“When you get a bill that is over 1000 pages, too many provisions will be slipped in. They are going to have to address that,” he said, adding “Instead of one big bill, we’ll do several.”
Meanwhile, Heck supports the merit-based system that is in the Senate version of the reform bill. “I think it’s important to move to a merit-based immigration system. While we want to give everybody as much as possible to achieve the American dream, we have to make sure there is some benefits to the US of having those immigrants come,” he said.
“I think the Senate bill did a good job in attaining the balance necessary to make sure that we have an opportunity to encourage family reunification but also making sure future immigrant visas are based on the needs of the US,” he also said.
(Las Vegas July 4-10, 2013 Sec A pg.1)