Chat Box: Menendez confident of immigration reform bill

The New Jersey senator will be the main sponsor of legislation

Sen. Bob Menendez said he’s confident that a “robust” immigration reform bill can find bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate.

“I believe there is a foundation,” he said on NJTV’s Chat Box with David Cruz. “For example, many of my Republican colleagues come from [agricultural] states. They’re concerned deeply about the farmworkers provisions of these immigration reforms. Some of them come from high-tech industries that want to see us use the provision of the legislation … that would take someone who graduates from one of our great colleges and use their abilities in STEM to American products. That’s how I’m looking to create a coalition.”

Menendez was part of a group of senators — the so-called Gang of Eight — who attempted a similar bill in 2013, achieving 67 votes in the Senate but never getting a hearing in the House.

Menendez, who will be the main sponsor of the U.S. Citizenship Act, said it remains to be seen whether that coalition can hold in an era when bipartisanship is in short supply. “So long as there is significant reform, a robust reform, then I’m willing to pursue what it takes to get to 60 votes,” he said.

Chat Box streams live on NJ Spotlight News and the NJ Spotlight News YouTube channel Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and airs on NJTV Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.