As the U.S. Senate works on coming up with a plan to overhaul America’s current immigration system, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and original member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group of Senators who created the groundwork for what will become a full and final immigration reform bill, has said that if any provisions in the new bill allow same sex couples the same immigration rights as intersex couples, that he will withdraw his support from the bill. Senator Rubio is not alone and is just one of several Republicans in Congress who have voiced their opposition to granting immigration rights for same sex couples. This progressive provision was introduced by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, and is expected to be voted on some time in the near future.
It’s About the Border for Republicans
Of higher priority to Senator Rubio and other Republican leaders in Congress is strengthening the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the fact that a Republican introduced provision has been struck down that would have required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to declare effective control of the border before any undocumented immigrants could be placed on a path to citizenship, Republicans are adamant about beefing up border security. In one of his most recent interviews, Senator Rubio stated that if provisions to strengthen the border are not included in the Senate’s final bill proposal, then the bill won’t pass the Senate or the House of Representatives and framers of the legislation, in Rubio’s words, are wasting their time.
An Overall Update
Despite the comments made by Senator Rubio, the Senate continues to move forward, albeit slowly, toward coming up with full and final legislation that it can vote on. After the proposed immigration reform bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was moved forward for a full Senate vote and debate. However, before a final vote can be completed by the Senate, all 100 Senators have the opportunity to debate and inject amendments into the bill. While the Senate continues to debate the amendments which should be included in the bill, they are still further along in the process than the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner has stated that he believes his chamber of Congress will be able to vote on a final bill by the end of 2013.
When both chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House, are finally able to come up with their own bills, the two bills will need to be consolidated and voted on by all of Congress. Only after the entire Congress can agree on a single and final version of an immigration reform bill will such a bill have a chance at becoming law. Once passed by Congress, the bill would be sent to the President, who has already said that he will support an immigration reform bill, to be signed into law.
For the most up to date information on the state of immigration reform, individuals who may be affected by reform should speak to an experienced immigration attorney.