Immigration Reform Bill Passes Senate

On June 27, 2013, a majority of US senators passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that grants 11 million undocumented immigrants immediate legal status and a path toward American citizenship. The bill also allows for $30 billion to be distributed to the southern border to enhance security. This historic vote was passed with a 68-32 vote, with the support of 14 republicans. The bill will now face House approval.

Supporters of the bill hope this historic vote will increase its chances of survival in the House, bringing attention back to the efforts to bring undocumented immigrants out of society’s shadows. This Republican- and Democrat-sponsored bill will allow for more skilled foreign workers to enter the country, create a sensible temporary worker program, tighten employment and border enforcement, rationalize the future flow of legal immigrants and give 11 million undocumented Americans a path towards citizenship.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nev), said just before the vote “We’re poised to pass a historic immigration bill. It’s landmark legislation that will secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law.”

Afterwards, President Obama, in a written statement, applauded the Senate’s success, thanking those who passed the bill for “bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all.”

The legislation will require $40 million in funding, create 700 miles of new fencing across the US/Mexico border and up the number of border security agents to 40,000. It also enlists the services of drones, radar and thermal imaging systems.

The House Republicans are more keen on a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, rather than a comprehensive bill. There are currently efforts by the House Judiciary Committee and a bipartisan group of Congressmen to write their own version of immigration reform.