US Senate passes sweeping immigration bill

Associated Press

June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate passed sweeping legislation Thursday offering the hope of citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in the shadows, while promising a military-style effort to secure the long-porous border with Mexico.

The issue sits atop President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda, but the bill’s prospects are highly uncertain in the Republican-controlled House, where many conservatives prefer more border security to any pathway to citizenship.

The bill would amount to the most dramatic changes in decades to U.S. immigration laws. Some onlookers erupted in chants of “Yes, we can” after the vote result was announced.

The developments marked an end to years of partisan gridlock on immigration. The shift started quickly after last year’s presidential election, when many Republican leaders concluded the party must show a more welcoming face to Hispanic voters who had given Obama more than 70 percent of their support.

“Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop commonsense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen,” Obama said in a statement shortly after the vote.

A small bipartisan group of senators had worked out the current bill — a rare show of cooperation in the bitterly divided Congress.

“Do the right thing for America and for your party,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat who said his mother emigrated to the United States from Cuba. “Find common ground. Lean away from the extremes. Opt for reason and govern with us.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake recalled the time he spent as a youth working alongside family members and “undocumented migrant labor, largely from Mexico, who worked harder than we did under conditions much more difficult than we endured.”

Division among Republicans was evident as potential 2016 presidential contenders split. Sen. Marco Rubio was one of the bill’s drafters, while senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were opposed to it.

The legislation’s chief provisions include numerous steps to prevent future illegal immigration and to check the legal status of job applicants already living in the United States. At the same time, it offers a 13-year path to citizenship to as many as 11 million immigrants now living in the country illegally.

The measure also requires 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, the completion of 700 miles (1,226 kilometers) of fencing and the deployment of an array of high-tech devices along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Other provisions would expand the number of visas available for highly skilled workers relied upon by the technology industry. A separate program would be established for lower-skilled workers, and farm workers would be admitted under a temporary program.

In addition, the system of legal immigration that has been in effect for decades would be changed, making family ties less of a factor and elevating the importance of education, job skills and relative youth.

The Republican leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, said at a news conference the separate legislation his chamber considers will have majority support among Republicans.

Boehner declined to say if there were circumstances under which he could support a pathway to citizenship, but he made clear that securing the border was a priority.

12 Comments on this post.

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  • Delialusion
    27 June 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Here you go, start your barrage of disapprove and good luck with your complaints.

  • Delia
    28 June 2013 at 4:30 am - Reply

    A Half bake cake is’nt edible untill fully cook .

    • delialusional
      28 June 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Then you must not know how to cook ! Until your fellow too-conservatives join in the new century of 2000’s, America will remain highly divided. Would you want your kids, grand kids to be like you? A person with medieval beliefs that is stuck in snow globe….

      • Wil
        28 June 2013 at 6:51 pm - Reply

        Though I don’t agree with Delia; Why is it mid-evil to want border security and not reward those who broke the law? While I would agree that every person on this earth should be treated be treat with respect, one still don’t reward law breakers. Illegals act like it’s their right to be granted a status. Why? People come to any country uninvited should be deported. That country has the right to enforce its laws. Once again I’ll stay I’m not for the mistreatment of any one. Deportation is not mistreatment.

  • delialusional
    28 June 2013 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Ako wala alam immigration reform. – Barok

  • tomador inigo
    28 June 2013 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Patayin ang mga ayaw sa immigration bill tulad ng taksil sa bayan …mga may bayong sa ulo!!!

    • delialusional
      28 June 2013 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Thank You… marami dito ang mga porke nakatungtong ng states akala mo kung sinong magaling na. Tapos ikinahihiya pang sila ay Filipino…

  • jr against right wingers
    28 June 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Bravo! This immigration reform bill is for THE COMMON GOOD! The greedy, exclusive party of the right wing republicans are self destructing. The Tea Party in my honest opinion are a menace to their party that even Ronald Reagan would be considered liberal in todays standard, you know what im saying. They have veered to far to the right that is too strong for many people except the die hard noz and delia. So people are dumping the Tea and ditching the Party!

  • Delia
    28 June 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Counting the chicken before it hatch .

    • delialusional
      28 June 2013 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      @delia- ano ang relasyon ng sinabi mo sa reform? Puede ba sumagot ka naman ng maayos, nang iinsulto ka lang naman dito eh/

  • tomador inigo
    28 June 2013 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    No republican will win in the election…for ever*

  • tomador inigo
    28 June 2013 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Nkkakahiya nman talaga magi g filipino dahil sa mga lintik n walang pagpapahalaga sa bayan ..tulad ng mga ganid at makapal ang muka magnanakaw…n pulitiko…hoodlum in robes at kriminal n nkabarong …mga buraot!!!

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