The Senate “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of eight Senators that drafted the immigration reform bill currently being debated on the Senate floor, is trying to garner as much Republican support for the bill as possible before voting on it and sending the bill to the Conservative-leaning House of Representatives.
Observers believe that there are already enough votes in the Senate in favor of the bill. But in order to boost Republican support in the House, the Senate will need to get as many votes as it can.
A tentative deal was reached by the Senate on Thursday which would essentially “militarize” the southern border. The amendment would double the number of border patrol agents, 700 miles of fencing would be installed and more surveillance drones would be deployed, in a proposal which would cost $30 billion, which would be paid for with new taxes and fees on immigrants and employers looking for guest-worker visas.
While this is an enormous amount of spending to be done in an area where the U.S. is already dedicating substantial resources to, it might be the push that immigration reform needs to receive the necessary Republican support.
In order for this historic bill to pass and become law, compromises will need to be made. What is most important is that the pathway to citizenship remains intact and will not be subject to any arbitrary triggers.
Following this tentative deal, some Republican senators that were initially against the path to citizenship until the border was fully secure, said they would now support the bill.
“This bipartisan compromise will restore the people’s trust in our ability to control the border and bring 525,000 people in Illinois out of the shadows,” said Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. “Once the Senate adopts our amendment, I will be proud to vote for a bill that secures our border and respects our heritage as an immigrant nation.”
This is a key step forward and is proof that progress is being made to make sure immigration reform has as much support as possible heading into a Senate vote.