The Senate held its first vote on June 11 to decide the fate of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill proposed by members of the group. The group will vote on a wide range of issues covered in the legislation, including hot topics like border security, health care coverage and an equal path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States. According to ABC News, the bill needs 60 votes to pass, and this initial decision could give an idea of how political leaders feel about the ideas and if the legislation has a chance of being signed.
So far, it’s been difficult for the House of Representatives to reach a compromise with the Senate, and many leaders are jumping ship on both sides. Conservatives have a secure border at the top of their list, while Democrats are pushing for an equal path to citizenship. On June 10, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, announced that he would leave the conservative House group after a reasonable compromise on health care for immigrants could not be reached.
“We knew this was only going to get harder,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told USA Today. “And it’s clear that the debate is going to come down to border and benefits.”
Although debates are heated on both sides, President Barack Obama told the Associated Press that he doesn’t see any reason why the bill couldn’t pass by the end of the summer.
“There’s no good reason to play procedural games or 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, business owners and legal immigrants,” he told AP.