Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill Passes Senate
Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform won a big victory on Thursday when the Senate, by an impressive 68-32 margin, voted to approve S. 744, a bipartisan bill that provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Importantly, the legislation strengthens legal protections for undocumented workers who come forward to complain about violations of the labor and employment laws committed by their employers.
“Despite the numerous provisions of S. 744 that we and other advocates would strongly prefer never saw the light of day, the bill that passed the Senate is, overall, a step toward securing justice for millions of undocumented workers – people who are part of the fabric of our society and without whom our economic prosperity would not be possible,” said Christopher Ho, the director of LAS-ELC’s National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights program, which was involved throughout the bill’s drafting process.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it faces an uncertain future because of substantial opposition in the House to any legalization of unauthorized immigrants. Although there may come a point when the legislation becomes laden with too many negative provisions to support, Ho stated that “we’ll be working with our coalition to duplicate our successes on the Senate side, and are hopeful that the final product will be something we can get behind.”