On Tuesday, June 11, the immigration reform bill, S. 744, passed the next significant hurdle on the road to becoming law. In the morning, the Senate voted to limit debate on the motion to proceed to the bill. Then, in the afternoon, the Senate voted by an overwhelming majority vote (84 to 15) to proceed to the bill. This means that Senators will now give floor speeches and propose amendments to the legislation.
This is good news for the bill, but it still does not mean the legislation will pass. Although many Republicans voted to proceed to debate, many said they are uncommitted to supporting the immigration plan on a final vote. Nevertheless, the immigration community is optimistic that S.744 still has a much better chance at becoming law than its predecessors.
Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas proposed an amendment that has become popular with some senators, but has been called a poison pill by others. The amendment would require strict border security results before eligible undocumented immigrants can take advantage of the path to permanent residence. Those opposed to the amendment say it will only further hinder the path to residence, which already requires a ten year wait.
President Obama acknowledged that no one will likely get what they want with S.744, but what we will get is a compromise and “common-sense immigration reform.”