The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernizing Act to head to the Senate floor for further debate. Senate analysts believe the debate over the bill will continue through June.
Many of the original provisions of the bill remain in place despite various amendments by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill still creates a 13 year path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the United States through a registered provisional immigrant program. A controversial amendment introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would have allowed U.S. citizens to petition for permanent residency (a “green card”) for their same-sex partner. The amendment was withdrawn after many Republicans in the committee said they would not vote for the bill if it contained the amendment.
As the bill moves to the Senate, the House is also considering introducing its own bill. The Republican-controlled House would likely tie any benefits for undocumented immigrants to further funding for Department of Homeland Security to secure the nation’s borders. As it stands, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernizing Act sets aside more than $4 Billion towards securing the nation’s borders.