US Senate Passes Immigration Bill, Now Heads To House
By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Efforts by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and seven other members of the Senate were successful on Thursday in passing immigration reform out of their chamber.
Lawmakers approved the plan by a 68-32 vote.
Speaking before the vote, Durbin said it has been a long journey to get to this point since he first introduced the Dream Act more than a decade ago.
“For anyone in this chamber who believes this is just another vote, go to a naturalization ceremony," Durbin said. "Watch those new citizens with those flags in their hands as they take that oath to be part of this country. You cannot help but feel the emotion that courses through them at that moment.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said border security provisions in the Senate’s immigration bill are a big reason why he voted for the measure. Kirk was one of 14 members of his party to support the plan.
Earlier this month, he voted ‘no’ in a procedural vote to continue discussion on the bill because he said it did not do enough to address border security.
In a video released by his office on Thursday, Kirk said those earlier concerns have been addressed.
“What we’re going to see from this bill is millions of people will have their full Americanized potential realized, boosting our economy, especially in our state,” he said.
The measure now moves to the Republican-controlled House.
Speaker John Boehner has ruled out taking up the Senate bill. He has said the House will instead chart its own version, with a focus on border security.
Many conservatives oppose the path to citizenship for those who are already in the country illegally that is at the heart of the Senate bill.