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Friday, January 18, 2019

The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill took a significant step forward Tuesday afternoon, when the Senate voted 82-15 to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed on the measure. The Senate will now begin formal debate on the bill, with the goal of holding a final vote on the compromise measure by the July 4th holiday.

Despite weeks of heated debate over the bill, just 15 senators voted against moving it forward: John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and David Vitter (R-LA). All 15 are Republicans.

Despite the overwhelming support for the motion to proceed, the ultimate fate of the compromise bill is still very much in question. Many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the motion to proceed may ultimately oppose the bill after it undergoes a contentious amendment process. Specifically, Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendment to add strict border security requirements before any immigrants can obtain permanent residence — a proposal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has called a “poison pill” — and Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) amendment to add language protecting same-sex couples could divide the fragile coalition that supports the bill. Leahy has not yet announced whether he will offer the amendment, which he declined to offer in committee in the face of Republican threats that it would scuttle the deal.

As Jamelle Bouie points out in The Plum Line, Democratic senators such as Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) could ultimately oppose the bill as well.

Senate leaders from both parties hailed Tuesday’s vote as a critical step toward fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.

“There are 11 million reasons to pass common-sense immigration reform that mends our broken system — 11 million stories of heartbreak and suffering that should motivate Congress to act,” Senator Reid said ahead of the vote. “The bipartisan proposal before the Senate takes important steps to strengthen border security. It also makes crucial improvements to our broken legal immigration system.”

Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who has threatened that the bill would need “major changes” to ultimately win his vote — voted to invoke cloture, arguing on the floor that the Senate “deserves a chance to debate it” and “the opportunity to amend it.”

Even if the bill does survive the Senate, there are no guarantees that it will advance through the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner expressed his concerns with the “Gang of Eight” compromise during a Tuesday morning interview with ABC News, telling host George Stephanopoulos that “especially in the area of border security, and internal enforcement of this system, I’m concerned that it doesn’t go far enough.”

“I would expect that a House bill will be to the right of where the Senate is,” Boehner added.

Were the House to pass the Senate bill, it would almost certainly be with a minority of the Republican House majority — in violation of the so-called “Hastert Rule.”

Earlier Tuesday, President Barack Obama had pushed the Senate to move forward with the bill. The president stressed that the compromise bill contains several elements for which Republicans have pushed — such as $6.5 billion in new border security, and harsher penalties for businesses that employ undocumented workers — and insisted that “no one is going to get everything they want. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me.”

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7 responses to “Immigration Reform Clears First Senate Hurdle In 82-15 Vote”

  1. Fern Woodfork says:

    Immigration Bill Has Been Kicked Down The Road For Way Too Long Now, This Bill Must Be Passed Like So Many Other Bills!! The GOP/Tea Party Needs To Quit Looking For Boogies Men And Scandal And Do Some Damn Work Around Here!!

  2. tax payer says:

    If it passes in the Senate than it’ll be defeated in the House unless the Republicans decide the Democrats are better than them, so I don’t think that will happen in this decade. They have to do what the people want and that’s to vote no, and make these illegals get to the back of the line and do it the proper way. Don’t reward them because 25 years from now ( you will be asked to do it again ) and it will be a merry-go-round that will never stop.

    • John Pigg says:

      I don’t think wishing the problem away is a constructive method of dealing with the situation.

      • tax payer says:

        I know, so if only I could have my wishing lantern back than it would become a reality, but my ex took it and her boyfriend stole it from her.

        • John Pigg says:

          You cannot deport 10 million people. And if you take the meager jobs they have you will see an explosion of crime. The best alternative is to get them paying taxes and on social security and pay a fine.

          • tax payer says:

            We already have those crimes being committed by Americans, so it won’t be something new to us. Some of them ( illegals ), but not all of them earn up to $15.00 an hour tax free and they aren’t about to start paying taxes on a minimum wage job. I heard the American people will have first choice on all jobs, so if that’s true than I am for it because the companies have to post those jobs for thirty days, and if no one qualifies than the illegals will get a chance to apply instead. I am retired, so no one can take my job because I left it 12 years ago, so another American could have it.

  3. Dominick Vila says:

    The reasons immigration reform has not taken place by now are cultural hatred and the fact that it will adversely affect the interests of economic sectors such as the agri-business, hospitality, the garment industry, and to a lesser extent construction. It remains to be seen how broad and effective the “reform” is. For starters, children of illegal immigrants born in the USA should enjoy the same rights and privileges of every other American citizen, not only because that is consistent with the Constitution, but because children are not responsible for what their parents do. Children who were brought to the USA by their parents should be able to become naturalized citizens for the same reason.
    The existing law must be modified to facilitate the entry of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. There is, obviously, a demand for farm hands and laborers in our country, or they would not come in the first place. With that in mind, why do we encourage the entry of professionals from countries that hate our guts, and we deny those willing to do jobs that most of us are not interested in the ability to enter the USA legally?
    The tough part is what to do with those who are already here and who, regardless of how inadequate or discriminatory the existing law may be, broke our laws. In my opinion, they should not be granted a path to citizenship, but she be given legal residency status to allow them to live and work in the USA legally, pay taxes, and enjoy the privileges afforded to those with a green card.

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