The Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill on Thursday afternoon, after a recently hashed-out compromise on border security helped convince a total of 14 Republicans to vote for the measure. The bill, which passed 68 to 32, could face a steep uphill climb in the Republican-controlled House.
The vote brings Congress a step closer to passing its first major immigration reform since the 1986 amnesty bill that legalized more than 3 million immigrants under President Ronald Reagan.
A compilation of reactions to these developments from Florida’s elected officials and politicians:
Senator Bill Nelson:
“Our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. So today the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that’s focused on bolstering border security while giving undocumented workers a shot at citizenship – provided they learn English, pay taxes, have no criminal record and go to the end of the line to apply. I believe this is a balanced, bipartisan and common-sense step in the right direction.”
Florida Democratic Party:
“Today, the United States Senate took a major step forward for comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform. This bipartisan bill will make great strides in fixing our broken immigration system. Its passage in the Senate by an overwhelming majority is a victory for the American Dream, and I thank President Obama for his strong leadership in building bipartisan support for this vital issue. Our country will continue to be the destination for those seeking to make a better life for themselves. Immigrants, Dreamers, and all Americans across this country should celebrate this historic achievement. I encourage every single one of Florida’s Congressmen and Congresswomen to support the Senate’s bill and fix our immigration system.”
Congressman Joe Garcia:
“Today, our country took a big step towards achieving commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform. I applaud the Senate for acting in a strongly bipartisan manner to help fix our broken immigration system. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to pass comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, grows our economy and creates a fair pathway to citizenship for the millions of hard-working immigrants who are American in every way except on paper.”
Congressman Patrick Murphy:
“It was great to see the Senate pass comprehensive immigration reform today with broad bipartisan support. While not perfect, this bill is an important compromise to address what is currently an outdated and broken system. We know that immigration reform has many economic benefits, spurring innovation to create new American jobs as well as greatly reducing the federal deficit. I remain a strong supporter of the DREAM Act and understand that legal immigration has contributed to the diversity of this country and is part of what makes our nation great. I also was pleased to see that the Senate’s immigration reform plan included a reasonable pathway to citizenship, requiring those who are in our country illegally to pay a fine and go to the back of the line,but eventually providing a path out of the shadows for the millions who have lived and worked in our great country. On the heels of the bill’s passage by the Senate, the House must swiftly take up this important comprehensive immigration reform bill that will not only strengthen our economy, but our nation as a whole.”