This is a Pivotal Moment in Immigration Reform

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Seventy votes. That’s how many votes the immigration reform bill is expected to receive when the Senate votes on the full legislation later this week.

Just like 70% of Americans support immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, it appears as if 70% of Senators will be voting in favor of this monumental bill.

However, it hasn’t come without a cost. On Monday, the Senate voted in favor of the Corker-Hoeven, “border surge” amendment, named after the two Republican senators that penned it, Bob Corker and John Hoeven.

This deal essentially militarizes the southern border, doubling the number of border patrol agents, adding 700 miles of fencing and adding more surveillance drones. The proposal would cost $30 billion, which would be paid for with new taxes and fees on immigrants and employers looking for guest-worker visas.

The Senate on Monday voted in support of the “border surge” bill 67-27, with six Senators not making it in time to vote. Every Democrat voted in favor, along with 15 Republicans.

“We are pleased the Senate continues to work together on commonsense immigration reform,” White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne said. “As the president said today, this is a strong bipartisan bill that meets his principles, and now is the time to get it done.”

With a clear majority of Senators backing the bill, including a substantial amount of Republicans, the pressure will be on House Speaker John Boehner to bring the bill up for a vote in the House. Boehner has stressed that he would only allow the bill to be voted on in the Conservative-leaning house if a majority of House Republicans supported reform.

“When the immigration bill passes, [Boehner] should bring it up for a vote in the House of Representatives quickly,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

“Mr. Speaker, rather than twisting the arms of tea party extremists, just work with moderates from both parties to pass bipartisan legislation,” said Reid.

Pro-immigration reform Senators, including New York’s Chuck Schumer, have done everything they can to avoid adding more border security measures into this bill. However, this “border surge” deal was a concession deemed necessary in order to garner more Republican support.

But despite this significant compromise, anti-immigration reform Senators such as John Cornyn continue to emphasize that they won’t be voting in favor of the bill. Cornyn said he “cannot support an amendment cobbled together at the eleventh hour that doubles the border patrol without knowing how much it will cost or whether it is even the right strategy. Unfortunately this measure still omits a real trigger or objective measure to see if the proposed strategy is working.”

With the Senate set to vote on the full bill this Friday, we urge everyone to continue reaching out to your elected officials, whether by phone or through social media, and letting them know that we want immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

Let’s make sure that our elected officials stand by their word and pass immigration reform through the Senate before July 4, so that we really have something to celebrate.


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