The Who's Who of Immigration Policy Making - the Senate Democrats

By David North, September 26, 2009

There are five Democrats and four Republicans on the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, which is part of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

All five Democrats drew grades of F on the immigration policy votes followed by Numbers USA, the restrictionist organization.

The ranking Democrat on the subcommittee for years was the late Ted Kennedy (D-MA), either as chairman in Democratic congresses or the ranking minority member in Republican ones. He has now has been replaced by Charles Schumer (D-NY) who follows similar policies.

Schumer's key role, as a young member of the House of Representatives more than 20 years ago, in the shaping of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was described in an earlier blog of mine. Although the holder of a law degree, he never practiced, having been elected to the New York state assembly, from Brooklyn, shortly after leaving Harvard Law.

The other four Democrats on the subcommittee are:

Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is also chairman of the parent committee. That his state, unlike those of the other four, has a relatively small foreign-born population does not keep him from joining the solid open-borders majority. He was a county prosecutor before his election to the Senate.

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), one-time Mayor of San Francisco, is another long-time member of the subcommittee. The only non-lawyer on the Democratic side of the panel, she had a full set of four immigrant grand-parents.

Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) is from down-state Illinois and like Schumer had previous experience in the House of Representatives. He was for four years the senior Illinois colleague to now-President Obama; Durbin is also the deputy leader of the Senate Democrats.

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is the newest member of the subcommittee, arriving in the Senate in 2007 after defeating the liberal Republican Lincoln Chaffee. A Yale graduate, he is from an old New England family and worked as a lawyer in both the state and federal governments before becoming a Senator.

Although all five members have failing scores, generally, from Numbers USA, three of them -- Schumer, Feinstein and Whitehouse -- all have B marks from the organization for the narrower issue of border control.


If you enjoyed this blog, check out others in this series by David North: