Coons withdraws amendment to stop deportations to unsafe areas

By Alexander Bolton - 05/09/13 03:32 PM ET

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Thursday withdrew an amendment to immigration reform legislation prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from deporting illegal immigrants to unsafe locations.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the bill, warned that Coons’s amendment was drafted too broadly. Schumer noted that much of Mexico, where more than 12,000 people were killed in drug-related violence last year, could be deemed unsafe under the proposed amendment.
Pro-immigrant advocates expressed dismay over the amendment stalling.
“It is a strong amendment that should not be controversial. I'm hopeful that Sens. Coons and [Jeff] Flake [R-Ariz.] will come back with a tweaked version that easily passes,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice.
The committee also defeated by a vote of 11 to 7 an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) exempting Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano from having to issue policies governing use-of-force guidelines for Border Patrol officials.
The panel adopted by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (R-Calif.) requiring the DHS to set standards to ensure the humane treatment of children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.