WASHINGTON, D.C. — A historic piece of legislation was passed by the U.S. Senate Thursday meant to address immigration in the United States.
By a bipartisan vote of 68-32, Senators passed a comprehensive bipartisan immigration bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
Both West Virginia Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin did their part to move the piece of legislation on by approving the measure.
After successfully pushing for the Senates approval on an amendment to significantly strengthen border security, Senator Manchin called the legislation a step in the right direction.
“It is encouraging, and truly, a breath of fresh air that Congress approached immigration reform in a bipartisan manner led by Senators from border states that deal with this issue every day,” Manchin said in a new release. “After careful consideration, I believe that this legislation is a step forward to finally reforming our broken immigration system and effectively securing our borders.”
The measure secures the country’s borders, creates a thirteen year legalization process that is tough and fair, guarantees American workers are hired before immigrants, and establishes a legal process that is legitimate and sustainable.
In his own statement released after the vote, Senator Rockefeller stated he was happy to see the Senate come together and pass a bipartisan piece of legislation.
“This legislation is by no means perfect, but it goes a long way toward modernizing our broken immigration system and strikes a balance between tough but fair reforms,” said Rockefeller in the news release. “I’ve long maintained that we needed to find a better way to address the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, and I’m confident in the approach this bill takes.”
This bill will require, among other things, 700 miles of fencing and an additional 20,000 border patrol agents along the Southern Border. The bill also requires all employers to use an employment verification system (or E-Verify) within 5 years to ensure undocumented workers are not hired.
On top of that, additional technology, including towers, ground sensors and drones, will be installed at the borders to ensure there is complete surveillance.
The bill next goes to the House, where its future is uncertain.