Salazar, U.S. Senate Push for Debate on Immigration Reform

Sen. Ken Salazar joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and democratic Senators Edward Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, and Robert Menendez in a news conference today calling for a debate on comprehensive immigration reform beginning Monday on the Senate floor.

Questions remain on whether the debate will focus on a previous proposal authored by Sen. Kennedy and Republican Sen. John McCain that was jettisoned by conservative House members or if a new bipartisan compromise has been reached with the White House. According to a joint statement released by the senators, Sen. Salazar remarked:

“Like President Bush, I believe we must reform our immigration laws in a manner that meets America’s needs for the 21st century, but also preserves our history as a nation of immigrants and laws. No matter what we do, comprehensive immigration reform must be tough at the border and on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, fair to those who agree to pay taxes and commit no crimes, and practical by providing solutions to today’s illegal immigration problems and addressing our future workforce needs. I remain hopeful that these talks will produce a sensible and strong comprehensive immigration reform bill.”

Salazar has taken heat from both conservative and liberal immigration groups critical of his moderate stance on the issue.

Look for more reporting from Colorado Confidential as we follow the proceedings next week.