Senate hearing on immigration delayed

The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed a hearing on immigration reform a day before a bipartisan bill is to be introduced.

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The hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but has been shifted to Friday morning, according to the panel's web site. A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the delay was to give senators more time to read a bill Rubio and seven other senators are expected to introduce on Tuesday. 

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said:

The news suggests the immigration bill to be introduced on Tuesday could be lengthy and complex.

A bipartisan group of four Republican and four Democratic senators has been working for months on the contentious issue.


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The immigration reform bill will focus on tighter border security and will offer a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country illegally, providing they meet a stringent set of requirements.

But the pathway is already provoking criticism from conservatives who argue there should be no "amnesty" granted to people who are already in the country illegally.

Rubio in recent weeks sought to temper expectations on the Senate’s prospects for comprehensive immigration reform, but over the weekend he emerged as the primary conservative advocate for the Gang of Eight proposal.

Rubio hit all five Sunday shows in a public pitch for the emerging bill seeking to allay the fears of conservatives that the legislation amounted to “amnesty.”

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday added another hearing to the committee’s schedule. The hearing, to be held next week, will be the fifth of its kind to focus on immigration reform.

“I am working with Senator Grassley, the Committee’s ranking member, to determine what witnesses he and other Republican Senators would like the Committee to invite to these two hearings,” Leahy said in a statement. “I look forward to reviewing the bill, holding prompt hearings on the legislation, and proceeding to debating and marking up legislation on this important issue.”

This story was updated at 2:15 p.m.