The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday continued an extensive markup session on the so-called Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, considering whether to tack on hundreds of proposed amendments.
One such amendment, put forth by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), would restrict the legal flow of future low-skilled immigrants to the country because of Sessions' concern that they would depress wages and threaten employment for U.S. citizens. Conservative firebrand and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who staunchly opposes the immigration bill and often characterizes it as amnesty, spoke up in opposition to the measure.
"I intend to vote no on this amendment," Cruz said. "The reason is I think legal immigration is a fundamental pillar of our country. I regret this committee voted last week down each of the amendments that would have put real teeth in the border security provisions and would have made the -- what have gone a long way to making the borders secure. I am an advocate of legal immigration."
He added: "I have two amendments to expand the levels of legal immigration, to make this system work better which has the added benefit of -- as a nation, we need to remain a nation that celebrates legal immigrants around this table -- so many of us are the children of those who risked everything for freedom. I respect my friend from alabama's amendment but is not one that I can support."
In the end the committee voted 1 - 17 to table the amendment, with Sessions' as the sole voice in support.