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Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Bipartisan Immigration Reform: First Step Toward Final Passage This Year

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This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Gang of 8’s immigration bill with a bipartisan vote (13-5), clearing the first official legislative hurdle for final passage in 2013.  After a robust debate featuring over 200 amendments—141 of which were adopted—the bill heads to the Senate floor with the core provisions intact.  At the same time, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House continues to hash out the details of their own chamber’s bill.

At a time of deep partisan divides in Washington, immigration reform may be the one issue that can actually bring both parties together to enact a policy solution that benefits all.

  • The Senate bill has genuine bipartisan support.  All of the Senate Democrats on the committee as well as Gang of Eight Republican Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) worked to protect the path to citizenship and other core elements of immigration reform.  They even added support from a new ally, Senator Hatch (R-UT), in the Committee.  Between the vast majority of Senate Democrats who support reform and Republicans who have voted for or are co-sponsors of this bill, 60 votes are well within reach.  With Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promising to bring up the bill in June and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promising not to block it, it appears the Senate is poised to make history.

The bottom line is this: with respect to immigration reform, the majority of Americans support it; Democrats want it; Republicans need it; and the immigration reform movement is prepared to deliver it.  This is history in the making.