The new US immigration reform bill could be passed by the Senate this week following the result of a key vote on border security held yesterday.
The Senate voted 67-27 in favour of introducing a $38 billion increase in security for the Mexican-US border – the issue which had been widely viewed as the main stumbling block for the legislation’s safe passage through the Senate.
It now appears that the new legislation, which in addition to enhanced border security also proposes measures to award a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants and an overhaul of the legal skilled immigration system, will be passed by Senate later this week and passed on to the House of Representatives.
Yesterday’s vote passed the required 60 mark after 15 Republicans decided to support the increase in funds for the border – a deal which had been agreed in principle last week. All of those who voted against the bill were also Republicans, with some opponents stating that they believe the legislation supports and rewards illegal immigration and that it is being pushed through too quickly.
However, President Barack Obama remains hopeful that the bill will pass quickly and in doing so send a message to the House of Representatives that immigration reform is wanted by both parties.
“Now is the time to do it,” Mr Obama said at the White House before meeting business executives supporting immigration reform. “I hope that we can get the strongest possible vote out of the Senate so that we can then move to the House and get this done before the summer break.”