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US Senate passes immigration reform

Source BBC News@

Senators Chuck Schumer and John McCain talk to reporters after a cloture vote on Immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington 27 June 2013Senators John McCain (left) and Chuck Schumer were in the bipartisan group that wrote the legislation

The US Senate has passed a broad immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The 68-32 vote comes after months of debate and a deal to significantly boost border security spending.

But the legislation faces a tough road in the more conservative House.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring forward immigration legislation that lacks support of most Republicans, who remain resistant.

Earlier on Thursday, he said the House would not take up the Senate bill directly.

"We're going to do our own bill... that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people," Mr Boehner said.

No stragglers

As the vote was held on Thursday afternoon, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid made the rare request of asking all 100 Senators to be present and vote from their desks.

What's in the Senate immigration bill?

  • Path to citizenship for immigrants who arrived illegally before 31 December 2011

  • Billions in funding for border security, including 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, and 700 miles of fencing

  • Requirement border security and fencing goals be met before these immigrants can become permanent residents

  • A start-up visa for foreign entrepreneurs; new visa programmes for low-skilled workers and the agricultural sector

  • All employers must use E-Verify, a programme to verify electronically each employee's legal status within four years

"This is not a vote where people should be straggling in," Mr Reid said.

President Barack Obama, who has made immigration reform a top priority for his second term, has urged Congress to act quickly on the legislation, with a goal of signing a bill into law by autumn.

Forward movement on the bill comes shortly after two Republican Senators brokered a compromise to increase the bill's funding of border security measures. An amendment that included an additional 20,000 border security agents was passed on Wednesday.

Earlier, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the legislation, without the increased border funds, would reduce the US budget deficit by $175bn (£114bn) over 10 years and boost economic growth.

Immigrants await their turn for green card and citizenship interviews at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Queens, New York City 30 May 2013Beginning with a provisional status, the citizenship programme would take 13 years to complete

And analysts say many Republicans acknowledge reforming the immigration system will be key for their election prospects in the future as Hispanics become an increasingly important voter bloc.

But Mr Boehner's comments on Thursday cast doubt on the chances legislation will quickly reach Mr Obama's desk, and could doom immigration reform entirely.

Separate bills designed by House Republicans include stricter border and interior security measures, employment checks and most significantly, no path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Some Republicans believe such a programme rewards those who broke the law by immigrating to the country illegally.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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