Senator Orrin Hatch on Tuesday filed 24 amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill put forward by a group of Senators known as the Gang of 8. Hatch’s amendments focus on law enforcement, high-skilled work, health benefits, and back taxes.
Speaking in Salt Lake City last week, Hatch told KUER the immigration bill would substantially improve border security, but he said there’s more work to be done.
“Everybody knows there has to be more fencing, more high tech surveillance,” Hatch said. “The best thing that would improve it on top of all that would be to have a good immigration bill that really does work and shows these people we’re not against them, but we expect our laws to be followed.”
Hatch’s proposed changes include amendments to strengthen law enforcement components of the bill – cracking down on identity fraud and marijuana cultivation on federal lands, and requiring inclusion of a DNA profile as part of a background check. He wants to increase the number of visas available for high skilled and well-educated workers. Hatch has an amendment to strengthen the ability to collect back taxes of newly legalized immigrants, and one to ensure that health insurance subsidies are only available five years after gaining legal status.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is beginning mark-up of the immigration bill this week.