The U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill by a wide majority of 68 senators for the bill and 32 against the bill. The results were expected as the ‘gang of eight’ senators began a long struggle to win passage. The bill is the most sweeping change to immigration law in 30 years.
All of the Senate Democrats and two independents voted for the bill. President Obama said, “Today, the Senate did its job. It is now up to the House to do the same.”
The House of Representatives will not go along with the Senate bill easily. The Speaker has said the House will work on its own bill. And no bill will come up for a vote that a majority of the Republicans do not support.
This means that legalization for undocumented residents is in for a tough ride. ManyRepublicans oppose what they call ‘amnesty’ for the undocumented. This includes even the people brought over as youngsters by their parents. They are called ‘Dreamers.’
The House will take up its own immigration bill on July 10, 2013.
The key provision allows undocumented people to be given legal status in the U.S., if they meet certain requirements. They would not be eligible for green cards or visas for about 13 years.
The bill also gives educated immigrants and other work groups more access to visas. It also requires employers to verify the legal status of new workers.
An important section of the bill strongly beefs up border security between Mexico and the United States.
If the House bill endorses this idea, undocumented residents will at least feel they are able to come out of the shadows and become part of U.S. society. However, as in other issues, conservative states will still try to make it difficult for the undocumented.
But the struggle for civil rights will have begun. Advocates are hoping House conservatives will get the message that Hispanics and Asians are important to the future of the Republican Party.