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Senate passes immigration bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has passed historic immigration legislation offering the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.

The vote was 68-32, far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the House. Prospects there are not nearly as good and many conservatives are opposed.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) supported the measure while Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) opposed it. You can read statements from each below this article.

Vice President Joe Biden presided, and senators cast their votes from their desks, both steps reserved for momentous votes.

The bill, a priority for President Barack Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation's immigration laws.


"Today, the Senate reached across party lines to strengthen our nation by passing the strongest border security bill in history. Those who have been in the shadows for decades will be taking responsibility for their actions by paying owed taxes, fines, and penalties; contributing to Social Security; helping reduce our deficit; and strengthening our economy."

--Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)

 

"There is no disputing that we need to address our nation's porous borders, backlogged immigration system and lax enforcement of hiring practices. Unfortunately, the Senate's legalize now, enforce later approach is the wrong way to reform our broken system.

"This legislation fails to address the core problem of border security and does not provide the resources necessary for enforcement. This needs to be the cornerstone for reform. Instead of listening to the demands of the American people by focusing on securing the border, Majority Leader Reid offered immediate amnesty with a ‘promise' of future security enhancements that will likely never happen.

"Congress approved amnesty in the mid-1980s. It didn't work then and it won't work now.

"I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to fix our immigration system, but the American people deserve a solution that upholds the rule of law. They also deserve a more vigorous debate than we were allowed to have by Majority Leader Reid. There were a number of amendments that were offered that would have strengthened this bill, but Leader Reid shut down debate and did not allow us to consider them.

"Immigration reform is a serious subject. It deserves a serious debate. Instead, we are left with another instance of Washington's rush to do something, instead of doing the right thing."

--Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)