Photo: Immigration Reform Vote
11 million undocumented immigrants are one step closer to getting on a path to achieving legal status in this country as is the broadest overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. This evening the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 13-5 vote moved the comprehensive immigration reform bill “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013,” forward.
The committee vote had 10 Democrats and 3 Republicans voting in favor of moving the legislation to the next step. The three Republican ‘yes’ votes came from three Senators that were part of the “Gang of Eight” that authored the bill and proposed it. A total of 43 Republican amendments were added and adopted in order to obtain a successful vote.
The legislation that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee consists of: more high-skilled workers visas, new visa program for low-skilled workers, path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., mandatory E-Verify for employers and increased funding for border security.
The historic vote was greeted with “Yes, we can! Si, se Puede! shouts from the viewers galley.
The 13-5 vote came about due to last minute negotiations amongst the committee and the withdrawal of a controversial amendment to the original bill that would of allowed same-sex couples to sponsor their foreign partner for a green card.
The Dream Act Coalition was one of the first pro-immigrant rights organization to react:
“The Dream Action Coalition lauds the effort of senate judiciary committee chairman Patrick Leahy to provide a space for republicans and democrats to improve the “gang of 8”‘s immigration bill. From keeping a path to citizenship for the undocumented families in this country to clarifying citizenship path for Dreamers who serve in the military, members of both parties have played an important part in ensuring the American people see their government work efficiently.”
The legislation is now headed for consideration before the full Senate in early June, where many conservative Republican Senators say they will oppose the bill.