U.S. Senate (R-PA)
Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania's senior U.S. Senator, was elected to the Senate in 1980, is currently serving his fifth term and recently became Pennsylvania's longest serving U.S. Senator. He is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a senior member of the Appropriations and Veterans Affairs committees.
Senator Specter has been a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee since he came to the Senate. Now the Committee's Chairman, he has played an instrumental role in many of the Senate's most important issues. The Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictions in the Senate, ranging from intellectual property law to civil liberties and immigration and naturalization.
Senator Specter has developed a strong record on immigrant rights. His leadership was instrumental in the Judiciary Committee’s mark-up of comprehensive immigration reform, which was largely patterned on the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act sponsored by Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ). The legislation expedites the reunification of families currently awaiting visas and increases employment-based sponsorships, measures that would positively impact some of the immigration related concerns of the Iranian American community. In addition, the committee voted to remove provisions that would criminalize immigrants for living in the U.S. illegally and voted to accept an amendment that would protect groups and individuals from being prosecuted for offering emergency aid to illegal immigrants.
On non-immigrant visa issues, Specter has pledged that he will work with his colleagues in the U.S. Senate in promoting a comprehensive and rational visa policy for individuals who do not pose a threat to the United States and who wish to visit family, study, or work in the United States.
First Elected: 1980
Committees: Appropriations; Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; Veterans' Affairs -Chair
Prev. Occupation: Attorney
Prev. Political Exp.: Philadelphia District Atty., 1966-74
Education: BA University of Pennsylvania, 1951; LLB Yale University, 1956
Military: USAF, 1951-53
Up for Re-election: 2008