Sheldon Whitehouse on Immigration

Last Updated : Apr 28, 2010

Voting Record

Funding for Sanctuary Cities

Sactuary cities are those that allow illegal immigrants to reside within their borders with the understanding that the local government with not seek to determine immigration status or enforce the federal mandates concerning immigration. Senator Vitter put forth an amendment to create a reserve fund to hold money that would normally go to these sanctuary cities. On March 13, 2008, a motion was put forth to "table" or remove the amendment from consideration. Virtually all Democrats, and about 1/4 of the Republicans in office agreed to remove the amendment from consideration in a 58-40 vote. Sheldon Whitehouse voted to table the amendment, and therefore supported the sanctuary city policy.

Sheldon Whitehouse voted to table the amendment, and therefore supported the sanctuary city policy.

The DREAM Act

When the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill failed to pass, several members of congress attempted to achieve the same goal by passing the individual pieces of legislation that comprised the Reform Package. The DREAM Act was one such piece of legislation that grants citizenship to those that came to this country prior to the age of 16. Although the Bill got some support from both Democrats and Republicans, it too failed to pass the Senate in a 52-44 vote. Sheldon Whitehouse voted in favor of the DREAM Act.

Sheldon Whitehouse voted in favor of the DREAM Act.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In June of 2007, Congress attempted to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The bill iteself was a series of smaller pieces of legislation which established the requisites for people living in the US illegally to obtain amnesty. The bill also sought to grant other rights to illegal immigrants prior to and after they become citizens. Despite a massive Public Relations campaign to promote the legislation, the bill got no Republican support and roughly 2/3 of the support of the Democrats. The bill was rejected in the Senate in a 61-34 vote. Sheldon Whitehouse voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

Sheldon Whitehouse voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 424; Uniting American Families Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include a "permanent partner" within the scope of such Act. Defines a "permanent partner" as an individual 18 or older who: (1) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 or older in which both individuals intend a lifelong commitment; (2) is financially interdependent with the other individual; (3) is not married to, or in a permanent partnership with, any other individual other than the individual; (4) is unable to contract with the other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act; and (5) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of the other individual. Defines a "permanent partnership" as the relationship existing between two permanent partners.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 729; Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009 or the DREAM Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on state residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such state residence. Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and (6) was under age 35 on the date of this Act's enactment. Sets forth the conditions for conditional permanent resident status, including: (1) termination of status for violation of this Act; and (2) removal of conditional status to permanent status. Authorizes an alien who has satisfied the appropriate requirements prior to enactment of this Act to petition the Secretary for conditional permanent resident status. Provides for: (1) exclusive jurisdiction; (2) penalties for false application statements; (3) confidentiality; (4) fee prohibitions; (5) higher education assistance; and (6) a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report respecting the number of aliens adjusted under this Act.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 774; DREAM Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on state residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such state residence. Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; and (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal.

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