The Senate Judiciary Committee spent the last week debating over 200 amendments of the Immigration Reform Bill, finally, passing the bill out of the committee yesterday with 13-5 bipartisan vote. S.744 the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act will be discussed on the Senate floor early this June. This is a wonderful achievement for immigration reform. The “gang of eight” goal is passing with at least 70 bipartisan votes.
The bill streamlines the legal immigration process, offers a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants, and increases Border Security and increases employer enforcement using E-Verify. Many compromises were made by every member of the committee, and more compromises will have to be made in the Senate and the House of Representatives for this bill to pass as law. Some of these compromises included:
For the most part, however, the bill received only minor changes.
The bill is facing opposition the AFL-CIO labor federation, claiming the bill is anti-worker and hurt American laborers. It is also being protested by a union of immigration officers who claim the new laws neglect their needs. There is no doubt that bill will face even more challenges as the debate continues in Senate.
The bill is not going to make everyone completely happy. However, the overall changes proposed will certainly bring more good than harm, like restricting the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention and an expansion of family visas, for example. The immigration system in its current state is failing and needs change now. This is a huge step forward for immigration and if the bill can gain support from both the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress and if the spirit of compromise remains strong, it stands a very good chance of becoming new law.
President Obama issued a statement in which he congratulated the committee and urged the Senate to pass the bill soon. Obama also stated, “None of the Committee members got everything they wanted, and neither did I, but in the end, we all owe it to the American people to get the best possible result over the finish line.”
What do you think about this bill? Let us know in the comments below!
For more information about the Senate Immigration Bill, check out our immigration blog here!