The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 82 to 15 to proceed with overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and begin weeks of debate on a comprehensive immigration bill put forward in the Upper House.
If the 2013 immigration reform bill becomes law, it will boost border security through an additional $6 billion appropriation. This will facilitate the implementation of sensors and drones along the southern border. Moreover, the measure seeks to curb future illegal immigration while fixing the current system of legal entry and create a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country illegally. Lawmakers hope to pass the measure before the end of the year.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a sponsor of the bill and a member of the Gang of Eight who drafted the legislation, said the overwhelming vote starts the measure off on the right foot.
“We readily admit this bill is not perfect and can be improved,” Schumer said, adding that fixing the current system allows illegal immigrants to join American society on “our terms.”
Critics have cast the bill off, arguing that it is not tough on border security. To that, the senator has said, “If you have a better way, tell us.”
Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the bill will not pass in its current form. He added that the Obama administration and Senate Democrats aren’t interested in working on issues where there is bipartisan support but only interested in finding a partisan issue to campaign on in 2014 instead.
“They by design destined this bill to be voted down,” Cruz said.