Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday that the bipartisan Senate immigration bill can pass the upper chamber if it includes his taxpayer protection amendments.
"They have to give me some of my amendments — my Finance Committee amendments — which will make it so it will pass, so if they're smart they'll work with me," Hatch told KUTV news in a story posted last Monday.
Hatch seemed to side with supporters of the bill by telling the TV station that "we're not going to send 11 million people back to their countries." But he again stressed that his support for the bill in the Judiciary Committee does not mean for sure that he will support the bill on the Senate floor in June.
Hatch has four amendments he's looking to attach to the bill once it reaches the Senate floor.
Many Republicans have complained that President Obama created a waiver that allows states to ignore the requirement in the 1996 law that people must look for work in order to receive welfare benefits. Hatch says that waiver also allows the secretary of Health and Human Services to direct some welfare funds to some immigrant families.
Another of Hatch's proposals would require Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) applicants to show that they have paid all unpaid taxes, and that they stay current on their taxes. The Senate bill as now written would give about 11 million illegal immigrants RPI status, putting them on a path to citizenship.
Hatch's third amendment would ban people with RPI status from accessing ObamaCare subsidies for five years. Under the current bill, there is no ban on the ability to access these healthcare subsidies.
And finally, Hatch has proposed language that would prevent unauthorized work by immigrants from counting toward eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.
Hatch's influence was already felt when the Senate Judiciary Committee considered the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. To win support from Hatch in committee, senators voted to support his language that would dramatically expand the ability of companies to hire skilled foreign workers.
Approval of that language prompted labor leaders to note that they oppose these changes, since they could make it easier for foreign workers to find jobs over unemployed Americans.