Inouye and Akaka lament death of immigration bill
Hawaii's Democratic U.S. senators expressed disappointment yesterday over the demise of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, calling it an imperfect solution but also a good compromise that addressed critical issues.
"The question now is: What do we do now?" U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye said in a news release.
U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka added, "The comprehensive immigration bill was certainly not perfect, but it represented an effort by senators from both sides of the aisle to come together to address an issue that politicians had avoided for too long."
Senate supporters of bill S. 1639 fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation. Yesterday's vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.
Key lawmakers in both parties predicted that further action on the contentious issue was unlikely this year.
"It did not completely address all of my concerns, such as family reunification," Inouye said. "But I would have voted for it because it would have been a step forward."
Akaka also noted that the collapse of the reform bill also results in the demise of an amendment that would have allowed children of Filipino World War II veterans to join their parents in the United States.
Yesterday's action does not affect legislation that moved out of Akaka's Veterans' Affairs Committee earlier this week that would restore full veterans status to Filipinos who fought alongside U.S. forces in WWII.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.