The immigration reform bill, S-744, passed the Senate yesterday by an overwhelming majority vote of 68 to 32. The vote included support from 14 Republicans and no opposition from Democrats.
S-744, if ultimately enacted, would be a significant overhaul of U.S. immigration law. The bill would, among other things, provide a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., increase border security measures, and create options for highly skilled and guest workers.
Although yesterday's vote is certainly good news for immigration reform, it is not a victory. The bill will now go to the House, where its success is much less certain. In order for the bill to even be considered, it would need support from a majority of Republicans. The Senate gained bipartisan support, but it failed to gain anywhere near the support of a majority of Republicans. With even more ultra-conservative Republicans in the House, the next step presents a much larger obstacle.
Many believe the best the immigration community can hope for is a piecemeal bill from the House which will be heavy on enforcement and light on legalization. Nevertheless, the bill's success in the Senate is but one more battle won for immigration reform, and its supporters remain hopeful.