Republican Sen. Rob Portman Wednesday introduced a pair of ''simple amendments'' to the Senate's immigration reform bill to prevent violent criminals from becoming U.S. citizens.
The amendments ensure the legislation ''does not extend that privilege to those who would commit crimes against the most vulnerable,'' Portman said in a news release.
One of Portman's amendments would make anyone convicted of a felony domestic violence, stalking or child abuse charges inadmissible.
Language in the bill now says that people convicted of these felonies would only be eligible for admission if they served at least one year in prison, which puts the emphasis on time served, not the offense, according to the release. The amendment ''would take extraneous considerations'' that might change prison sentence length ''out of the picture'' and apply ''the same standard to all applicants for citizenship.''
Portman's other proposal would remove discretionary authority to ensure that people convicted of a crime against children are not eligible to become a U.S. citizen.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, is co-sponsoring another amendment that reinstates a provision from the original immigration bill to require employers give American skilled workers the first chance at a job before it can be filled with a visa holder.