As Part of The IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
In the U.S. Senate
In April 2006, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced an amendment to
the Immigration Reform Bill extending the Visa Waiver Program to Poland
(mentioned by name) and other countries which provide material support to
the U.S. War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senators Barbara Mikulski
(D-MD) and Bill Frist (R-TN, Senate Majority Leader) signed on as
co-sponsors of the Amendment. The bill was not voted on before the Senate
adjourned for Spring Recess on April 7.
After the recess, in May, a modified Immigration Reform Bill was
introduced, and Senator Santorum again introduced an Amendment thereto,
entitled Visa Waiver Program Expansion. It did not mention Poland by name,
but the criteria for inclusion were crafted specifically with Poland in
mind. Senators Mikulski and Frist again were co-sponsors.
||The text of the Amendment (PDF, 19 KB)
On May 17, 2006, The Visa Waiver Program Expansion Amendment was
considered by the full Senate and accepted unanimously.
||Speeches by Sens. Santorum and Mikulski on the floor of the
Senate, in support of acceptance, with emphasis on how the current
program is unfair to Poland specifically. (PDF, 25KB)
Current Status (May 26, 2006)
The Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill on May 25,
by a vote of 62 to 36.
How local Senators voted:
The measure now goes to the House-Senate Conference Committee to resolve
difference between the Immigration Reform Bills passed by the House and
Senate. The House version is much more strict, treating all
illegal aliens, and all persons who assist them in any way,
Also, the House version does not have the Visa Waiver Expansion
provision. Therefore, there is a possibility that this amendment may be
dropped in Conference.