The U.S. Senate passed landmark legislation Thursday that could provide a chance at citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., but getting the conservative House to follow suit will be a much tougher grind.
Vice President Joe Biden signalled the legislation’s significance by making a rare appearance as presiding officer of the Senate as 14 Republicans joined all of the chamber’s Democrats in passing Senate Bill 744 by a vote of 68-32.
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Staff writer George Bennett and the Associated Press contributed to this story.
REACTION, NATIONAL AND LOCAL
“Today, the Senate did its job. It’s now up to the House to do the same… We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We just need Congress to finish the job.” President Barack Obama
“Our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed…I believe this is a balanced, bipartisan and common-sense step in the right direction.” Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. (voted yes)
“I’ve been in favor of it and am still in favor of immigration reform. I just think immigration reform should be dependent on border security first…I’m fearful that this won’t fix illegal immigration, that we still will have significant illegal immigration with this bill.” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ken. (voted no)
“I strongly support commonsense immigration reform that secures the border before legalization, fixes our legal immigration system, and upholds the rule of law. This bill isn’t it.” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (voted no)
“Today is a good day for America and for the dreams of all those new immigrants that presently are living among us under much vulnerability as a result of an antiquated legal system, that for millions, has not provided a line to get behind while our nation needed and still needs their hard labor.” Aileen Josephs, Co Chair, Florida Voices for Immigration Reform
“I sit in front of the television and I say, ‘Lord, maybe this time those promises will come through. Maybe this time.” Aura Calmo, 30-year-old Jupiter house cleaner who came from Guatemala when she was 14