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Senate Passes Immigration Reform


Yesterday – Thursday June, 27 – the Senate passed one of that nation's most significant overhaul of immigration policies in a generation. In what turned out to be a rare bid of broad support from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats were able to find common ground on controversial, yet much needed, U.S. immigration change, passing the reform with a 68 to 32 vote.

The legislation, which has been in the media spotlight for some time, was constructed by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight," a group of legislators that included Republican Florida Senator and first-generation Cuban Marco Rubio, New York Democrat Senator Schumer, Senator John McCain, and Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet, among others.

Conservative opposition to immigration reform – which has been blocked immigration legislation for years – turned to optimism this time around, with many Republicans rallying behind Senator Rubio, the party's leading voice with the nation's Hispanics and a touted contender for the next presidential election.

While success in the Senate is nothing to shoot down, the bill may very well encounter difficulties in the House of Representatives, where the conservative Tea Party fringe of the GOP has already voiced their opposition – particularly to the provision that provides amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants. Other potential Republican primary candidates – including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Texas Senator John Cornyn, and Rand Paul – voted no on the immigration overhaul, perhaps, some may say, as a way not to open the door to political backlash.

What Immigration Reform Means

Despite the games of politics and all the incongruences and difficulties that they bring, immigrants and proponents of immigration reform will surely be seated on the edge of their chairs as the battle heats up in the House. The Senate bill was a monumental change to immigration policy and one that addressed difficult, seemingly irreconcilable questions. For one, it provides a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. These pathways to citizenship recognize the fact that many undocumented immigrants came to the U.S. not on their own volition or choice to illegally enter, but as young children with their parents, not to mention the contributions working immigrants provide America. The bill also strengthened border security, a provision that would devote roughly $40 billion dollars to border enforcement measures over the course of the next decade.

Still, the Republican House majority and Speaker John Boehner pose the most significant barrier to the bill being signed into law. If anything, the battle for immigration reform helps us understand that as Americans, we will always have different opinions, different beliefs, and different lives and backgrounds. These differences, of course, create profound and hard-to-solve problems – especially when it comes to law. But as has always been the case, these differences are what America is all about, what democracy is meant to resolve, and what brings about new changes when the right people stand up for what they believe. Only time will tell what this bill will mean to immigration reform and to the millions of immigrations and citizens it will affect. Really, only time will tell.

At Mathur Law Offices, P.C., our Dallas immigration lawyers have made our practice one for all people in need. Regardless of race, class, creed, or religion, we are here to help those who ask for assistance. We believe in equality for justice and strive to guide foreign nationals and citizens throughout the immigration process step by step. If you are in need of legal representation during any type of immigration matter, please feel free to contact a member of our legal team to learn more about the ways in which we can help.