Senate passes comprehensive immigration reform

congressThe U.S. Senate voted 68-32 today to pass an immigration reform bill that among other things will offer millions of undocumented immigrants a path to legal status. Virginia’s two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, joined the majority vote in favor of the legislation, which will also step up the enforcement resources to be sent to the nation’s southern border.

“I was proud to vote today to reform our nation’s broken immigration system. The status quo is a burden on the economy and an impediment to innovation,” said Warner in a statement. “This bipartisan compromise will grow our economy, reduce the deficit, and continue our proud tradition of offering everyone a fair shot at achieving the American Dream while also strengthening our borders.

“The Senate’s bipartisan compromise includes several key priorities I have championed, such as new ‘STEM’ and entrepreneur visas for high-skilled graduates of American universities that will promote innovation and help create jobs. Our reforms also provide commonsense rules allowing undocumented immigrants an opportunity to earn citizenship by going to the back of the line, paying back taxes and penalties, and learning English,” Warner said.

The legislation faces a significant hurdle in the Republican-majority House of Representatives. Kaine, in a statement on the vote, encouraged House leaders to note the bipartisan vote in favor of the Senate bill.

“I am hopeful that today’s vote sends a clear message that this is not a Republican bill or a Democratic bill, but a strong bipartisan bill – one that’s good for our economy and serves the interests of the entire nation,” Kaine said.

“Today the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation with significant bipartisan support – the clearest signal yet that regardless of party, our nation is ready to fix our broken immigration system,” Kaine said. “This bill improves border security, updates our visa system to attract the talent needed to grow our economy, and creates a fair and rigorous path to legalization that includes the DREAMers who have only known this country as home. For these young people, this legislation will mean a chance to finally feel protected as they pursue an education, join the military, or search for their first job.

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