After several months of heated debate, the US Senate has overwhelmingly passed the comprehensive immigration reform bill that intends to put the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants onto a pathway to citizenship.
The public galleries erupted in chants of “Yes, we did!” after Senators voted 68-32 in favor of the landmark legislation that revamps legal immigration, bolsters border security and demands a wait of 13 years before those without legal documents can put in a citizenship application. “Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all,” President Barack Obama stated in the wake of the historic vote.
Fourteen Republicans joined the unanimous Democrat support as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the rare step of asking members to cast their votes from their desks in the Senate while the chamber was being presided over by Vice President Joe Biden. “We’ve taken giant steps forward towards solving our immigration problem today,” noted a delighted Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the Gang of Eight who crafted the immigration reform bill in the first place.
However, the legislation is now facing a difficult road in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans, but Republican Senator John McCain has, along with Schumer, appealed to their colleagues in the House to work with them to achieve the most critical US immigration reform for a quarter of a century.