An amendment presented by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (#43) that would have made it more difficult for gang members to obtain amnesty, was voted down along party lines during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up of the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

The Gang of Eight bill (S. 744) allows an illegal alien who is a convicted member of a criminal street gang to be eligible for amnesty if he renounces his gang affiliation. A renunciation is not needed for gang members under 18. (See FAIR’s Analysis of the Gang Provisions in the Senate Amnesty Bill) The Grassley amendment would have stricken this section and changed the standards of admissibility relating to aliens in criminal gangs by making it harder for those aliens to be eligible for admissibility or RPI status. It also would have switched the burden of proof from the Secretary of Homeland Security to the alien.

The amendment stated that an alien is inadmissible if they are a member of a criminal street gang unless the alien could demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the alien did not know and could not have known that the organization was a criminal street gang. The amendment used this same standard for determining whether an alien would have been deportable for being in a criminal street gang and for determining whether the alien would have been eligible for RPI status.

You can view the list of amendments being debated today on the Senate Judiciary Committee Website.