The Final Week for Immigration Reform in the Senate


We are on the edge of an historic vote in the Senate on immigration reform. The bill will likely be voted on this Friday, and it is likely to pass.

Unfortunately, to get to that momentous vote, there will be a different vote taken this evening at around 5:30pm on an amendment that dramatically increases border security.

Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) negotiated a new immigration deal that would cost the U.S. government $30 billion dollars–nearly doubling the number of border patrol agents, and adding an additional 350 miles of fencing along the southern border.

Senator Leahy got it right when he said that the border security package “reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.” The New York Immigration Coalition calls the amendment a “boon for military contractors.”

Sounds bad, but the amendment is almost certainly going to pass, because without it the immigration reform process will fall apart and it will be at least two years before it can be revived.

With the amendment, the bill will pick up enough Republican votes for cloture. Interestingly, six Democrats still have not declared for the bill. New polling from Pew, showing 71% support for legalization, should add to the growing national consensus that the American public overwhelmingly wants reform, so expect some of those blue-dog Democrats to come on board in the next four days.

This week is a good time to give Long Island Congressman Peter King a call and to tell him that you hope he announces his support for the Senate approach to legalization soon.  He is already moving in that direction, so be nice. King’s number is (516) 541-4225.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.