Photo: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Passes
The U.S. Senate has just approved on a vote of 68-32 a historic, comprehensive immigration bill that will increase border security to unprecedented levels and create a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants.
This bill saw its passage in great part to 14 Republicans joining the ranks of the Democrats - all Democratic Senators voted for the measure. More Republican Senators supported the proposed legislation when a border surge amendment that would add 20,000 more Border Patrol agents and add 350 more miles of border fencing, was added. The last overhaul to the country’s immigration laws was in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan called the “Immigration Reform and Control Act.”
Some critical elements of this historic legislation are: a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the country before December 31, 2011, more high skill H-1B visas and more guest-worker visas for lower-skilled labor.
The legislation received a boost when the Congressional Budget office announced that passage of comprehensive immigration reform would help the economy by reducing the deficit by some $197 billion over the next 10 years.
Both Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D) and Senator Mark Kirk (R) voted for the measure.
The 1,200 page bill now goes to the Republican-controlled House which many say will kill the bill. Republican House Speaker John Boehner was quoted as saying “Its dead on arrival.” The House has been working on parallel immigration legislation without much success.