Senate Opens Debate on the Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill

Senate Opens Debate on the Bipartisan Immigration Reform BillThe Senate Judiciary Committee strengthened and passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744), last month. Several amendments were filed to this bill and the bill was passed by the Committee after it was strengthened. The Senate opened floor debate on the bill, last Friday and the Senate is expected to pass the bill before the 4th of July recess. Majority leader Harry M. Reid, opened the debate and stated that majority of the Americans want the US Congress to pass the immigration reform bill. He said that the bill would help the undocumented immigrants to come out of their shadows and that it would make America safer. Nevertheless, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is against the Senate immigration reform bill, argued that the bill would grant amnesty to the law breakers and encourage illegal immigration.

Republican Senator Mike Lee, who was initially a member of the Gang of Eight has now become a vocal opponent and he stated that the Senate bill will not fix the country’s broken immigration system and that it is not right to proceed with this bill. The lawmakers are ready with several amendments and they would soon begin the process of offering changes to the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. At the same time, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, is trying to draw the attention of the conservatives and he stated that the bill will not pass if it does not include tougher border security measures. He also stated that he would work with the other lawmakers and introduce changes that would attract the conservatives. Nevertheless, Democrats may not accept proposals that would harm the centerpiece of the bill that would permit the unauthorized residents to enter the legalization process and put them on a path to US citizenship.

Though the bill enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, it would struggle in the House controlled by the Republicans. Republicans have already stated that eight members of their party have reached a deal on the bill they are creating and that they prefer smaller bills. Republicans do not want to put the undocumented immigrants on a 13 year path to citizenship and they focus on border security. According to them, the Senate bill would grant amnesty to the undocumented immigrants who broke the country’s immigration laws. Though there are some Republicans who are against immigration reform, many members of the party are now supporting immigration reform as they believe that they need to attract the Hispanics who supported President Obama and re-elected him.