Will we finally see a path to citizenship?
On Thursday, the United States Senate approved its so-called comprehensive immigration bill. It is the first significant attempt to fix out broken immigration system in over 25 years, and it includes a long-awaited path to citizenship. Senate Democrats passed the measure with the support of 14 Republicans, and the crowd in the Senate chamber erupted in chants of “Yes we can.”
While many are cheering the bill as a breakthrough in the immigration debate, which has been stalled for years, others are concerned about new border security measures in the proposal. Those provisions – dubbed the “border surge” - include 20,000 new border agents, 700 new miles of fencing, and electronic surveillance of our southern border. The price tag for these increased security measures is nearly $40 billion dollars. Lawmakers also included a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which will be implemented once border security measure are in place.
Some immigration advocates are calling the security provisions extreme and expensive, while others explain that the measures were necessary to gain Republican support. Now that the Senate has approved their version, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will start working on their own version of immigration reform, which could include even more extreme security measures, and remove any path to citizenship.
Immigration advocates are worried that the House Republicans will purposely include controversial measures, in an effort to doom the bill to failure. Millions of Americans and undocumented immigrants are watching this effort closely, and are remaining hopeful that Congress will finally fix our broken immigration system.