By H. Nelson Goodson
June 28, 2013
Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, anti-immigrant groups felt a blow and a major set back after the U.S. Senate passed S. 744 immigration bill by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. Fourteen Republicans supported the bill. The immigration bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration and debate.
The immigration bill includes sending $30 billion to the southern border to provide tighter security. The bill is moving forward on schedule for a possible final passage in the House by July 4, according immigrant rights groups.
Some House Republicans say, the bill is dead on arrival. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, the House is not going to approve what the Senate passed. The immigration bill must be grounded with real border security and have a majority of GOP support to pass.
Boehner said, "The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We're going to do our own bill, through regular order, and it'll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people. For any legislation – including a conference report – to pass the House, it's going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our members.
"Listen, immigration reform has to be grounded in real border security. That's what the American people believe, and it's a principle that our majority believes in as well. Chairman McCaul's done a good job passing a border security bill. Chairman Goodlatte is doing good work over in the Judiciary Committee.
"And if immigration reform is going to work, it's essential that the American people have the confidence that it's being done correctly. That's how the House will approach this issue," Boehner stated on Thursday.
President Barack H. Obama stated, "Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all.
"I thank Majority Leader Reid, Senator Leahy, Senator Schumer, and every member of the 'Gang of Eight' for their leadership, and I commend all Senators who worked across party lines to get this done.
"The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise. By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for commonsense reform that I – and many others – have repeatedly laid out.
"If enacted, the Senate bill would establish the most aggressive border security plan in our history. It would offer a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally – a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and then going to the back of the line behind everyone who's playing by the rules and trying to come here legally. It would modernize the legal immigration system so that it once again reflects our values as a nation and addresses the urgent needs of our time. And it would provide a big boost to our recovery, by shrinking our deficits and growing our economy.
"Today, the Senate did its job. It's now up to the House to do the same.
"As this process moves forward, I urge everyone who cares about this issue to keep a watchful eye. Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop commonsense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen. If you're among the clear majority of Americans who support reform – from CEOs to labor leaders, law enforcement to clergy – reach out to your Member of Congress. Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them to pass commonsense reform so that our businesses and workers are all playing by the same rules and everyone who's in this country is paying their fair share in taxes.
"We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We just need Congress to finish the job," Obama stated.