Senator Hatch considers comprehensive immigration package

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Utah Democrats saluted Senator Orrin Hatch after he announced this month that he will consider supporting a comprehensive immigration reform package.

“It is no secret that, from time to time, we have had issues with Senator Hatch’s positions,” Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Debakis said. “However, his recent support for an immediate and comprehensive immigration reform bill is statesman-like, and a welcome respite from the gridlock and intense partisan bickering that is currently paralyzing Washington.”

Utah’s Democratic Party hopes Hatch will be able to persuade Senator Mike Lee to adopt a similar stance. Lee is currently opposed to any comprehensive bill regarding immigration.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch said he is considering supporting some aspects of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. (AP Photo by Rick Bowmer)
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch said he is considering supporting some aspects of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. (AP Photo by Rick Bowmer)

There is a hopeful attitude among the state’s Democrats as they have pushed for reform.

“We look forward to working with (Hatch) as legislation is put forward and advanced,” Debakis said.

Hatch will start the process of reviewing the immigration reform package this week. The package includes protections for families, students and high-skilled as well as agricultural workers.

“Senator Hatch has not made up his mind if he wants to support the total package,” Hatch’s press secretary, Heather Barney, said. “He would love to support it but there are some things he needs to work out before he will give his full support.”

Earlier this year Hatch introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, which would bring reform to national immigration laws. This act would allow more American-trained foreign workers to live in the United States.

Hatch said this month that an updated high-skilled immigration system would directly create jobs and spur growth across all sectors of the economy. He also said he would like to cap H-1B working visas somewhere between 115,000-300,000 per year.

Hatch addressed Utah business leaders at the Zion’s Bank building last week, where he told them, “I’d like to support it, but I’m not there yet.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will review the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act beginning Thursday.

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