House Subcommittee Meets at Ellis

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Members of the House Subcommittee on Immigration will visit Ellis Island this morning, to hold the first in a series of hearings on immigration reform. WNYC's Marianne McCune reports.

REPORTER: This is the House's first hearing on comprehensive immigration reform since the democrats came to power, and New York's immigrant advocates say they're encouraged by the setting.

REPORTER: To them, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty signify a recognition of the value and contribution of immigrants. Norman Eng of the New York Immigration Coalition says they serve as a reminder that today's immigrants are no different from those of the past. The subcommittee is planning several more hearings over the next couple months with the aim of drafting legislation that can pass the House.

REPORTER: Those testifying today include a border patrol official and experts from some of the less immigrant-friendly think tanks. But this event is called “An Historic and Personal Reflection on American Immigration,” and it differs in tenor from last summer's more enforcement-oriented hearings. None of the lawmakers on the subcommittee are from the tri-state area. For WNYC, I'm Marianne McCune.