The Senate must secure 60 votes to implement the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” legislation, which touts a path to citizenship for immigrants, and anti-amnesty groups are joining together to make sure this doesn’t happen. Backed by House Republicans and business leaders, the anti-amnesty groups could kill the House bill, noted reports. According to The Washington Post, some House members have rejected the bill from the beginning, saying that the government can’t allow 11 million immigrants into the country with amnesty.
“We can’t afford to give amnesty to every person who wants to illegally cross our borders,” Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told The Post. “We don’t have enough money in our piggy bank. Amnesty begets more amnesty.”
More votes in the Senate are essential for getting immigrants a step closer to gaining citizenship, but reports from CNN say that members have not reached that number yet.
“At this moment we have not found 60 votes in the Senate,” Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said in an interview on Univision that was translated into English by CNN. “We still need more votes in the chamber.”
One of the largest groups against the proposed bipartisan “Gang of Eight” legislation is Numbers USA, which released television and radio ads targeting lawmakers who support the efforts saying that the plan will cost the U.S. more money than it’s worth. He went on to say that the large number of unemployed citizens already living in the U.S. needs to be taken care of first.
“The Gang of Eight bill abandons the 20 million of our fellow Americans who need a job and it does so for the purpose of rewarding the wealthy special interests who wrote the bill and who will reap the profits of further glutting the labor market and driving down the wages of American workers,” Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, told U.S. News.
However, a Fox News report said that most Americans still support a path to citizenship. According to a poll released May 22, 66 percent of voters support an equal path to citizenship for immigrants who are already living in the country, pass background checks and pay back any taxes that they’ve missed. In addition, 13 percent of voters back a guest worker program to allow immigrants to work in the country for a limited amount of time.
Supporters of the bill remain adamant that the path to citizenship is accessible for the greatest number of people possible. Some say that the costs required to gain citizenship leave many out of the mix. With penalties for not making payments as well as health and background checks, some fear that low-wage workers – those who need citizenship in order to make ends meet – will lose out.
“The ultimate goal of the legislation we believe is to get as many people to move from undocumented status into a path to citizenship,” said Laura Vazquez, legislative analyst at the National Council of La Raza, according to The California News Service. “That has to be met by having a process that is real and accessible.”
Still, Vazquez maintains that the new immigration bill is taking major leaps forward compared to the current system. She said that “millions” would be able to adapt to the new program. There is a long road ahead for many immigrants, and everything will play out in the Senate as the votes add up.