Senate opens debate on immigration

The Senate’s attempts to pass a comprehensive reform of US immigration got off to a promising start yesterday when the majority of senators overwhelmingly voted in favor of starting to debate the issue.  While there are still a number of hurdles that need to be overcome, supporters of the reform say that they are encouraged by the first two procedural votes.

“We commend members of the Senate for voting today to move forward on legislation to fix America’s broken immigration system,” says the Business Roundtable’s immigration group chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola, Greg Brown.  He added: “Today’s vote is an important step towards creating an immigration system that works.”

The Senate voted 82-15 on a motion to go ahead with the bipartisan immigration reform bill that would result in the creation of a path to US citizenship for the 11 million people currently living in the United States who do not have proper papers.  The 15 members who voted against the motion were all members of the Republican party.  The separate motion was then passed 84-15 by the upper chamber after the arrival of two senators who had missed the first vote.

The executive director of pro-immigration group America’s Voice, Frank Sharry, was scathing in his criticism of the 15 senators who voted against the move, accusing them of being “defenders of the status quo” even while the great majority of Americans accept the need for reform and are calling for action by Congress.