Photo: Immigration Reform - Senate Vote
Passage of comprehensive immigration reform, that includes a 13-year path to citizenship, has passed a big hurdle today in the U.S. Senate.
In a vote of 82-15 the Senate voted to advance the bill to the next stages which are the formal debate, amendment and full vote . The fact that there were 82 votes, 22 more than the 60 needed, meant the bill would not be filibustered. All Democratic Senators voted for the measure including 27 Republicans
The last time an immigration reform bill came this far in the Senate was in 2007. That bill eventually died in the Senate. The last comprehensive immigration reform bill passed into law was under President Ronald Reagan in 1986, that legalized 3 million undocumented immigrants.
The bill was created by a bipartisan group of senators now known as the ‘Gang of Eight’.
To qualify for citizenship, immigrants would be placed in temporary legal status for at least 10 years, pass a criminal background check, learn English, pay taxes, fees and at least $2,000 in fines. The bill also contains a guest-worker program and significantly increases the number of visas for high-tech, high-skilled employees.
The formal debate process should take several weeks and is expected to being immediately