U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the author of 18 amendments to the Senate immigration overhaul bill, says he expects action on the bipartisan effort sometime this spring or summer.
“There is a clear and urgent sense that we have a fragile and fleeting moment of opportunity,” Blumenthal told reporters during a conference call on immigration this morning. “We must act now or lose this historic opportunity…if not now perhaps never, at least in our generation.”
The Democrat from Connecticut said he thinks that sense of urgency is evident in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
One of Blumenthal’s 18 amendments would offer a pathway to citizenship for nearly 1 million young children brought to the U.S. illegally–the so-called “little DREAMERs.” Other proposals would limit the use of solitary confinement at detention centers, protect workers’ rights and combat gun violence.
Blumenthal said he is encouraged by the conversations he’s had with the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and John McCain of Arizona.
“I’m very pleased with the process as it’s going right now,” Blumenthal said. ”I think the group of eight has adopted a very sensible…approach…and that we have as good a chance as possible about reaching a bipartisan compromise.”
The Senate judiciary committee will hold a series of meetings over the next two weeks on the bill.
Blumenthal was joined on the conference call by two advocates of immigration reform: Ana Maria Rivera, legal and policy analyst for Junta for Progressive Action, and Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy and policy for United We Dream.