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Senate passes immigration reform bill

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 27 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 10:41:22 PM CDT

The Senate has passed a bill that would overhaul the nation's current immigration system.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The Senate has passed a bill that would overhaul the nation's current immigration system.

The measure passed by a vote of 68 to 32 Thursday afternoon and it's now off to the House where it's expected to face an uphill battle.

The 12 hundred page bill aims to change the nation's immigration laws for the first time since 1986.

Fourteen Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in supporting the bill.

Throughout the past several weeks, organizers in the Lehigh Valley have been gathering to urge Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) to back the bill.

Casey, voted for the bill while Toomey, voted against it.

In a written statement Toomey says “I voted against the Gang of Eight immigration bill because, among other reasons, it does not solve the fundamental problem of our current immigration policy. In addition, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) essentially blocked all additional amendments—including my amendment to lift the cap on W visas. Unfortunately, this has been a huge missed opportunity to fix a broken immigration system. While it has some positives, this bill misses the mark. If enacted, it would guarantee the next wave of illegal immigration.”

Casey says in a statement “While this is not a perfect bill, I am pleased that members on both sides of the aisle have come together to fix our broken immigration system......This bill will strengthen our borders, set forth a fair path to earned citizenship, reduce the deficit by $700 billion, and strengthen our economy.”

House Speaker John Boehner says he will block a vote on any immigration measure that doesn't have the support of the majority of House Republicans and says they plan to put forth their own bill.

"Immigration reform has to be grounded in real border security... if immigration reform is going to work it's essential that the American people have confidence that it's being done correctly” he said.

Boehner says they plan to hear from their constituents this upcoming week while they're on recess for July 4th.

House Republicans will hold a special closed-door meeting July 10th to discuss the way forward on immigration.