By Derrick DePledge
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono was able to add an amendment to the immigration bill that would help Filipino World War II veterans reunite with their adult children.
But the Hawaii Democrat, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was unsuccessful at adding an amendment that would free up immigration slots for siblings and adult children in cases of extreme hardship.
Immigration advocates, particularly Asian-Americans, are concerned that the bill would eliminate visas for sibling reunification, which would prevent citizens from sponsoring their brothers and sisters. The bill would also prevent citizens from sponsoring adult married children who are 31 years old or older.
According to the Huffington Post, other Democrats told Hirono that the family reunification amendment could jeopardize passage of the bill.
(U.S. Sen. Charles) Schumer and (U.S. Sen. Richard) Durbin told her they had to reluctantly oppose her attempt on Tuesday to add a change that would expand family visas so that people in extreme hardship could petition for green cards for their adult children or siblings. It failed with 7 votes in support and 11 against, including Democrats Schumer, Durbin, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), all of whom said it was a good amendment but would upset the delicate balance of the gang of eight bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 to send the immigration bill to the Senate floor.