U.S. Senate Passes Immigration Reform; Bill Now Goes to the House

Today, the U.S. Senate passed historic comprehensive immigration reform. The bipartisan bill, which passed by a vote of 68 – 32. Notably, the bill creates a pathway to citizenship for 11 million of undocumented residents; and provides for increased border security along the border with Mexico.The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for debate.

New Mexico’s Democratic Congressional delegation, Senators Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham praised the passage today by the Senate, which now must pass a vote in the House of Representatibes to become law.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall expressed pride at having cast his vote in favor of the historic bill. “I am proud to come from a state where we celebrate our diversity; Native American, Hispanic and European traditions are folded into our culture and make our state the most special place in the country. We appreciate that immigrant traditions are part of our identity” Udall said.

“As residents of a border state, New Mexicans also understand what is at stake with border security. They understand the complex challenges we face as we tackle immigration reform legislation that secures our border while respecting that we are a nation of immigrants. They know firsthand why fixing our broken immigration system is so important to our future.

“I joined the Senate with pride today to approve comprehensive immigration reform legislation. This bill secures our borders, strengthens families, and supports our economy. It isn’t perfect. I offered amendments to improve oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, fight violent crime and drug trafficking on the border and expand economic development opportunities at our ports of entry. I’m disappointed they were not included. But this is a good bill. And it speaks to the best of our traditions and values.

“Today’s vote was historic. But there is still a long way to go before we can implement reform. I call on my colleagues in the House of Representatives to take up this bill or pass their own. Reform will not be perfect, and it won’t satisfy everyone in every case. That’s what compromise means. That’s what bipartisan effort requires. The American people are asking for results. They’re asking for us to govern. This is our opportunity. I hope the full Congress will build on the bipartisan spirit we saw in the Senate today and come together to move our nation forward” Senator Udall said.

U.S. Senator Heinrich said the vote represented a “great day” for the history of our nation.

“We are a step closer to fixing our broken immigration system in a way that meets the needs of our economy, provides a pathway to earned citizenship, and strengthens security at our nation’s borders.

“As the son of an immigrant, I’m familiar with the unique promise America represents for families. I know how hard immigrants work, how much they believe in this country, and how much they’re willing to give back. By passing immigration reform, we proclaim that the American dream is alive and well-that if you work hard you can get ahead.

“I am especially pleased that young people brought here through no fault of their own by their undocumented parents will be eligible for earned citizenship. DREAMers contribute so much to our communities and represent what is best about our nation: hard work, motivation, and a willingness to serve our country in uniform. This bill harnesses those talents and ingenuity and allows students to gain more education and training, which translates into better and higher-paying jobs. All of these extra wages will circulate through the economy, spurring economic growth and new job creation.

“New Mexico’s remarkable spirit is rooted in our diversity, our history, and our culture, which has always been enriched by our immigrant communities and family members. This is the year for our nation to rise to the challenge and achieve accountable immigration reform. New Mexicans are eager for a solution, DREAM Act students deserve a solution, and our economy requires a solution. Este es el año” Heinrich said.

Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) praised the vote in the Senate and called on her colleagues in the House to act quickly.

“Today’s Senate vote sends a strong message that the time for comprehensive immigration reform is right now. The Senate has passed a landmark bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, and now the House must do the same. New Mexicans and Americans want comprehensive reform that keeps families together, provides a tough but fair pathway to citizenship, enhances border security and is in line with our core American values.

“One by one, the arguments against immigration reform have been debunked by facts, logic and commonsense. Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined that the Senate bill will reduce the federal budget deficit by nearly $1 trillion over the next two decades, providing further proof that immigration reform is good for the economy, good for businesses and good for job creation.

“Now the House must do its job so we can send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to the President’s desk and finally fix our broken immigration system” Congresswoman Lujan Grisham said.

Representative Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) also praised the Senate vote and said the strong bipartisan vote sent a strong message to the House to do the same.

“The Senate has taken an important and necessary step forward in the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our economy and reflects the contributions immigrants make to our communities. While there are many aspects of the legislation that do not please all sides, I congratulate the ‘Gang of Eight’ for diligently working to produce legislation that has earned overwhelming bipartisan support. A strong vote in the Senate sends a clear signal to House Republicans that now is the time – not for a piecemeal approach – but for a comprehensive package that is fair, good for our economy, good for our families, and good for our security” Congressman Luján said.