Immigration Uphill Battle Despite Senate Approval

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An historic bipartisan immigration reform bill passed its first test Tuesday on the Senate floor. The congressional body voted 82 to 15 to move the legislation forward into debate. But that's only one of many hurdles.

Many of the Republicans who voted "yes" on Tuesday say they won't support the bill in a final vote unless its border security language is strengthened -- a position backed up by GOP leadership in the House.

"I want to applaud the efforts of the Gang of Eight in the Senate, applaud my colleagues who've worked hard on this. But especially in the area of border security and internal enforcement of this system I'm concerned that it doesn't go far enough," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

The bill would offer a 13-year path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants who have overstayed their visas or arrived in the United States illegally since the end of 2011.

They would be required to pay fines and back taxes, and they couldn't participate in any government social programs during the process.

"This is no cake walk," President Obama said. "But it's the only way we can make sure that everyone who's here is playing by the same rules as ordinary families."

The plan also expands visas for low-skilled workers and entrepreneurs and requires employers to check the legal status of every worker.

"A failure to have a rational and positive immigration program will choke this economy. It's not a good idea," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donahue warned.

But while many lawmakers seem ready to move forward and begin debating this bipartisan bill, conservative institutions and voters still have objections, making it politically difficult for Republicans in Congress.

It remains unclear whether the legislation will pass in the House.

The bill has potential political upsides for both parties. For the president, it could be his big second-term accomplishment. Republicans hope it will help them gain political favor with Hispanic voters.

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CBN News
Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

CBN News

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