Senate passes immigration reform bill 68-32. Durbin, Kirk vote yes

SHARE Senate passes immigration reform bill 68-32. Durbin, Kirk vote yes
SHARE Senate passes immigration reform bill 68-32. Durbin, Kirk vote yes

WASHINGTON–The Senate passed a historic immigration reform bill on a 68-32 roll call on Thursday, sending the measure to an uncertain fate in the House. Both Illinois senators voted yes, Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat and Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican. Read the text of the bill HERE.

With Vice President Joe Biden presiding, the Senate approved a sweeping measure creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million U.S. residents living in the nation illegally. Durbin was one of the “Gang of Eight”–four Democrats, four Republicans–who crafted the legislation and conducted delicate negotiations to gain the support of GOP senators. Kirk voted yes after an amendment was adopted adding $30 billion for extra border security.

Paying tribute to the historic nature of the vote, the senators voted from their seats instead of standing or milling about–with all 100 present and voting.

As the spotlight swings to the House, President Barack Obama said in a statement, “Today, the Senate did its job. It’s now up to the House to do the same.”

The House is working on its own version of immigration legislation and earlier on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House will not vote on the Senate bill.

None of the six Illinois GOP House member has yet to voice solid backing for an immigration reform measure while 11 of 12 Democrat House members from Illinois are supportive.

Speaking at a press conference, Boehner said a bi-partisan coalition to get to 235 votes is not enough; an immigration bill has to have the support of the majority of the GOP House members.

“Apparently, some haven’t gotten the message. The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill through regular order, and it’ll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people. And for any legislation, including a conference report, to pass the House, it’s going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our members.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement, “Today our nation took a significant step towards repairing its broken immigration system. I commend Illinois Senators Durbin and Kirk for their votes in favor of this common-sense and comprehensive national immigration reform proposal.”

In a statement, The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)said the vote was “an important step forward to ensure that our families stay together. We are pleased with the strong bipartisan vote of 68 to 32 that approved this legislation, which has now cleared a major hurdle in the legislative process.

“…“We would like to recognize the hard work of our ally and champion Senator Richard Durbin for his leadership to ensure that our immigrant families have a real opportunity to achieve the American dream. We also thank Senator Mark Kirk for recognizing the need for a path to citizenship and supporting this legislation.

“ICIRR urges the leadership of the Illinois Republican Party, GOP Chairman Jack Dorgan and Republican Congressman and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, to take similar leadership in moving forward on bipartisan immigration reform that will keep our families together.”

Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO said in a statement, “Working people in Illinois and across the country will benefit from today’s bipartisan vote to help make comprehensive immigration reform a reality. While Republicans certainly have extracted a high price for moving this necessary legislation forward, the compromise is a historic step in the right direction and we thank Senators Durbin and Kirk for their support.

“Countless Illinoisans have been speaking up in favor of comprehensive immigration reform that protects workers’ rights, keeps families together, and creates an attainable roadmap to citizenship. The fight continues as we urge the U.S. House of Representatives to take up comprehensive reform without delay and for Illinois’ congressional delegation to be its champion.”

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