Senate passes comprehensive immigration reform bill; House next
The US Senate passed a landmark immigration bill on Thursday, by a 68-32 vote margin.
The comprehensive immigration reform would grant immigrants a legal path to citizenship and increase security along the US-Mexico border.
Democrats in the Senate were joined by 14 Republicans who voted "yes" on the bill.
"It's landmark legislation that will secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
The bill was expected to easily pass the Democrat-led Senate, but House Republicans have already said they won't even bring the law to a vote.
"Until you get the fiscal issues settled, I wouldn't be looking for any big immigration fight if I was in leadership," Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said.
“Of course I’m worried about it, but I want to get it right, I want it to work,” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said on Fox News Wednesday. “I want to make sure that we’re not in the same problem 10 years from now. I want immigration that’s good for our economy. I want an immigration system that protects our national security.”
Though Ryan said he supports a path to citizenship for America's 11 million immigrants who entered the country illegally, many of his fellow Republicans do not.
The bill would offer that option to immigrants by 2026, and also allocates a budget for 20,000 new Border Patrol agents and the completion of 700 miles of fence along the US-Mexico border.
It is the first major rewrite of US immigration policy since 1986.
However, Mexicans have spoken out against the bill, saying that they should be part of the immigration discussion, GlobalPost's Dudley Althaus reported.
"We are convinced that fences don't unite,” Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said. “They are not the solution to the immigration phenomenon and they don't jibe with a modern and secure border. They don't contribute to the development of the competitive region that both countries seek to promote."
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.