On Thursday, the US Senate agreed to pass the much debated immigration reform bill, prompting widespread optimism that after years of arguing, America’s immigration system could soon undergo a long awaited – and much needed – overhaul.
After almost three week of debating, 14 Republican Senators joined all of their Democrat counterparts in voting in favour of passing the immigration bill, drawn up by a group of eight bipartisan Senators, on to the House of Representatives, securing a 68-32 winning margin.
However, some of the leading members of the Republican controlled House of Representatives are still saying that they will refuse to vote on the bill, which, if passed, would pave the way for approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants to be offered a path to citizenship, increase US border security, and overhaul the country’s legal skilled immigration system.
Yet there are some Republicans who take the view that a failure of their party to back immigration reform could have dire consequences for the party’s chances in the next General Election – President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election was secured largely on the back of widespread immigrant support.
President Obama himself has once again urged the House of Representatives to pass the bill. “The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise,” Obama said in a statement on Thursday. “By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for common sense reform that I – and many others – have repeatedly laid out.
“Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop common sense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen,” he added.
However, Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the eight Senators who drew up the bill, reaffirmed his belief yesterday that the House will pass the bill eventually. Speaking to Fox News Senator Schumer confidently predicted that: “By the end of this year, the House will pass the Senate bill.”