Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Immigration Bill Exceeds First Senate Vote

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On Tuesday, with a vote of 82-15, the U.S. Senate  overwhelmingly voted to move forward on the Gang of Eight immigration bill, setting the stage for weeks of debate on modernizing the country’s immigration system.

President Barack Obama, who’s made revamping immigration laws a top second-term priority, spoke with advocates at the White House just a few hours before Tuesday’s vote to praise the Senate’s efforts and renew his calls for reform.

“There is no good reason to play procedural games or to engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we’ve had in years to address this problem in a way that’s fair to middle class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants,” said Obama.

The Senate bill, which won every Democrat and all but 15 Republican votes, would stiffen border security and require all employers to check their workers’ legal status, as well as initiate new or expanded visa programs for high-skilled and lower-skilled workers and the agriculture sector. At it’s core, the most argumentative element, is a 13-year path to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants now here illegally.

Most senators, eager to work on the bill and leave their own imprints in what could be a landmark piece of legislation, were expected to agree to open debate. Top Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) emphasized the need for major changes to the bill before it becomes law, criticizing the “serious flaws” he saw in the legislation –particularly in the areas of securing the nation’s borders and legalizing undocumented residents.

“I’ll vote to debate it,” he said Tuesday morning. “And for the opportunity to amend it.”

Politico

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