An immigration overhaul coming from a bipartisan coalition within the Senate now faces three weeks of debate on the floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expects that it will come to a vote prior to the July 4 session break. If all 54 Democrats in the Senate vote for the bill, which is unlikely, the “Gang of 8” putting forward the over 800-page legislation would still need the support of upwards of six Republicans to prevent a filibuster. If passed in the Senate, the immigration reform package will face an uphill battle for passage in the House.
The legislation marks the first major set of reforms to immigration policy since President Ronald Reagan’s administration. It lays out a pathway to citizenship for those in the United States illegally now, tighter border security regulations, and processes to open up legal entry into the country for more families and workers. Those who oppose the bill worry that it lacks strict enough border control and grants too much amnesty to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US.
President Obama has urged Congress to work together to produce a bill before summer’s end. He addressed the topic in his weekly radio address Saturday. “The bill before the Senate isn’t perfect,” he said. “It’s a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me.”
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced on “Face the Nation” Sunday, that she will back the bill, calling it “tough but fair” and “a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem.” The Gang of 8 working to drive the legislation through both chambers come from a bipartisan background and are willing to make concessions only “without forsaking our principles.”