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Senate committee to hold hearing on immigration bill April 17

Sen. Patrick Leahy

The Senate Judiciary Committee has slated a single hearing on the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform bill for Wednesday, April 17, drawing fire from other committee members who say the legislation is being rushed through.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy formally announced the hearing in remarks on April 10 in responses to mounting criticism that group of eight bi-partisan senators was putting the bill together without providing opportunities for input from other members of Congress.

Leahy said DHS secretary Janet Napolitano will testify.

The “Gang of Eight” group, composed of Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham(R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), has been working steadily on the bill, which reportedly tops 1,000 pages long, since the end of January. The measure is to be unveiled by the group soon.

The single hearing has brought criticism from other Judiciary Committee members, who say the legislation is being rushed.

“The process that Chairman Leahy has described – a single hearing on a potentially 1,500 page bill – is unacceptable,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), committee member and former ranking member in a statement after the hearing was scheduled by Leahy. “It is an explicit rejection of the process demanded by Judiciary Committee Republicans and endorsed by Senator Rubio,” he said. “To acquiesce to such a process would be to accept the majority’s plan to rush through this massive legislation before the American people know what’s in it.”

Sessions said the bill is another attempt to enact “amnesty” and the American people were being shut out of the process.