Full Senate Considers Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill; House Approval Uncertain
The full Senate is now considering the comprehensive immigration reform bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21, 2013. The committee approved an amended S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013,” by a bipartisan vote of 13-5. On June 11, 2013, the Senate voted 82-15 to consider the bill, more than the 60 votes needed. Senators are now debating the bill and offering amendments. A full Senate vote is possible by the end of June or early July; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to vote before the July 4 recess.
Meanwhile, according to reports, recent bipartisan meetings in the House of Representatives on immigration reform have been fruitless so far. The main obstacle appears to be that Republicans say they will not approve any access to health care coverage sponsored by the U.S. government for newly legalized workers before they become U.S. citizens. Democrats argued that those workers should be eligible for benefits if they are paying U.S. taxes. Some observers say it is unlikely that comprehensive immigration reform legislation on the House side will pass, although portions of it could.