U.S. Senate passes immigration reform bill

Friday, May 26, 2006

The U.S. Senate today approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill Thursday by a vote of 62-36. Among other provisions, the bill seeks to bolster security along the U.S.-Mexican border, create a guest worker program, and grant many illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, all positions supported by the Bush administration.

The bill passed today by the Senate is in stark contrast to the version passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005, which provides for no guest worker program and makes illegal immigration a felony.

In a statement, President Bush said, "I look forward to working together with both the House of Representatives and the Senate to produce a bill for me to sign into law."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called for swift talks with the House to create a compromise measure. Frist, who had earlier supported the House version of the bill, voted in favor of the bill passed today. He expects that "the most contentious part" of the bill would be how to handle the status of illegal immigrants already in the United States.

While Democratic senators were mostly united in support of the bill (38-4 in favor), Republican support was divided (32-23 against). Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said, "The vast majority of the 11 million or so people here will be given every benefit this nation can bestow as a product of their illegality. I don't think that's a good principle."

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged the difficulty in reaching a compromise, but expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached. "I'm hopeful that we will come to a resolution and pass a bill," he said.


  • United States Senate. "S. 2611" — 
  • United States House of Rep.. "H.R. 4437" —