Senate Approves Immigration Overhaul

Fox News, June 27, 2013

The Senate on Thursday approved a sweeping immigration overhaul that would extend legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants while increasing border security, sending the bill to the House side where it faces a chilly reception.

The vote caps weeks of bipartisan negotiations and hands President Obama, who has made immigration legislation the cornerstone of his second-term agenda, a partial victory.

The Senate voted 68-32 to approve the bill, following a series of test votes that already demonstrated the legislation had enough support to pass.

The question is whether the Senate vote can compel the Republican-led House to follow suit. Some Republicans have already declared the Senate bill “dead on arrival” in the House, but House lawmakers are working on their own piecemeal version of immigration legislation.

House Speaker John Boehner, who says both chambers should act on immigration, declined to say Thursday how his caucus would proceed.

“We’re going to go home for the recess next week and listen to our constituents,” he said. “And when we get back, we’re going to … have a discussion about the way forward.”

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All Democrats, in addition to 14 Republicans, voted for the legislation on Thursday. All “no” votes came from the Republican side of the aisle.

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At its core, the legislation in the Senate includes numerous steps to prevent future illegal immigration, while at the same time it offers a chance at citizenship to the 11 million immigrants now living in the country unlawfully.

It provides for 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, requires the completion of 700 miles of fencing and requires an array of high-tech devices to be deployed to secure the border with Mexico.

Businesses would be required to check on the legal status of prospective employees. Other provisions would expand the number of visas for highly skilled workers relied upon by the technology industry. A separate program would be established for lower-skilled workers, and farm workers would be admitted under a temporary program.

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Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., called it “the mother of all amnesties.”

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