Yesterday, the Senate signaled its support for a bipartisan measure strengthening border security in the comprehensive “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill, a sweeping blueprint that promises to overhaul America’s immigration policies for the first time since 1986.
The 67-to-27 vote was considered a key test of support for the bill as a whole, as the measure also includes language echoing most other parts of the legislation.
The Senate kept the vote open for a significant amount of time for lawmakers who experienced travel delays due to bad weather in Washington. Some senators did not make it in time.
Supporters needed at least 60 votes to move forward with the revised border security provisions, which were drafted partly to boost GOP support for the overall package.
Backers of the bill were hoping to win about 70 votes to demonstrate growing bipartisan momentum for the larger proposal as it nears final passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate and heads to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
Senate leaders are currently on track to hold a final vote on the bill itself before Congress breaks for its July 4 recess at the end of the week.
If enacted, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“When the immigration bill passes, (GOP Speaker John Boehner) should bring it up for a vote in the House of Representatives quickly,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.