At 4:22 pm the United States Senate passed the immigration bill, title “Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” in a 68-32 vote, marking the advancement of President Obama’s top priority in his second presidential term. Fourteen Republican Senators joined the Senate’s Democrats to pass the sweeping reform bill crafted by the bipartisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of 8.”
Though the bill has crossed the first hurdle in Senate, it will now head to the House of Representatives where it faces great opposition as many House Republicans object to the bill’s path to citizenship for the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
In addition to provisions for undocumented immigrants, the bill provides for a gradual cap of 115,000 to 180,000 H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, expands the use of biometric technology to keep track of foreigners visiting the U.S., and eases the rule requiring employers to recruit American workers before hiring foreign nationals under specialty visas.
The Congressional Budget Office’s (“CBO”) recently released report stated that the passage of S.744 would increase federal direct spending by $262 billion, increase federal revenues by $459 billion, and decrease the federal budget deficit by $197 billion. The bill will also increase the U.S. population by an estimated 10.4 million people by 2023.
As the House takes up the bill in the upcoming weeks we will update you as progress occurs.