Senator Charles E. Schumer is the Senior US Senator for the State of New York. Elected to the US Senate in 1998, Senator Schumer has been instrumental in furthering comprehensive immigration reform legislation. He was involved in the immigration reform debates in Congress in 2006 and 2007, and he currently sits on the Judiciary Committee, where he is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.
On April 16, 2013, Senator Schumer introduced into the US Senate the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (also known as S.744). The immigration reform bill was particularly notable because it had been written and negotiated by the “Gang of Eight” – a bipartisan group of US senators including Democratic senators Schumer, Bob Menendez, Michael Bennet and Richard Durbin and Republican senators Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Marco Rubio. Among S. 744’s original provisions, the bill would increase security measures along the border, establish a new visa program for lower-skilled workers, and provide a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants living within the United States. Although the Senate passed the bill on June 27, 2013, the House of Representatives did not take the bill up to a vote and it died with the closing of the 113th Congress.
Senator Schumer is now in line to become the Senate Minority leader in the next Congress. However, in the event the Democrats become the majority in the US Senate after the November 2016 elections, Senator Schumer would become the Senate majority leader. The Senate majority leader manages the legislative calendar for the U.S. Senate and can help ensure the consideration of specific legislation, such as immigration reform.
In this special episode of CMSOnAir, Kevin Appleby, CMS’s Senior Director of International Migration Policy, speaks with Senator Schumer about the prospects for immigration reform in the next Congress and how immigration reform supporters might prepare for another immigration debate. Senator Schumer also gives his views on the presidential election season and how the focus on immigration might impact the election’s outcome and beyond.