84 Votes

Senate Makes Major Move on Immigration Reform

Immigration reform including a pathway to earned citizenship moved one step closer to reality today as the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 84-15, to began debating and amending the bipartisan bill that passed the Judiciary Committee last month. Unsurprisingly, all of today’s no votes came from Republicans, including those leading the opposition to the bill: Sens. Jeff Sessions (AL), Mike Lee (UT), and Ted Cruz (TX).

While many of those who voted to take up the bill today are expected to oppose it in the end, today’s vote is the latest sign of strong momentum. By contrast, the vote to take up the 2007 immigration reform effort, which ultimately failed, was a much narrower 64-35.

Good news also came from the other side of the Capitol today, with Speaker Boehner (R-OH) predicting that the bill will become law before the end of the year. In another positive sign, Boehner also refused to rule out passing a bill through the House with mostly Democratic votes.

Finally, the president also held an event today with DREAMers and a bipartisan group of others who support reform with a pathway to earned citizenship.

The only unfortunate news on the immigration front today came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who appears to want to have it both ways once again. Rubio was reportedly asking his Republican colleagues to refrain from coming out in support of the bill so he could use the appearance of a lack support among Republicans as an excuse to drag the bill to the right. Discouraging fellow senators from supporting one’s own legislation is a relatively unheard of move.

A new poll out today shows that 81 percent of Latinos polled reject the notion of the “border-security first” approach that Rubio is inching toward. That includes 76 percent of Latinos who have voted for a GOP candidate in the past. Instead, Latinos want to see the pathway to citizenship and border security implemented concurrently, just as it is in the Gang of 8 bill Rubio himself helped author.

BOTTOM LINE: We are closer than we’ve been in a generation toward achieving real reform to our broken immigration system. Reforming our broken system will allow 11 MILLION undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, something that will boost our economy by  a cumulative $832 BILLION over the next ten years.

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Advocacy Team