The Senate on Thursday passed a landmark immigration reform bill with enthusiastic support from New Mexico’s U.S. senators, who were relieved to see the bill clear the upper chamber of Congress with a decisive vote.
Indeed, the bill passed 68-32 with support of 14 Senate Republicans. According to some pundits, that sends a message to the U.S. House that the Senate – and by extension a majority of Americans – really, really wants them to pass the Senate bill. That may be true, but Republican House Speaker John Boehner is bristling at suggestions that the House should rubber-stamp the Senate legislation, which includes a so-called “path to citizenship” for some 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. That provision is a non-starter for many Republicans.
The immigration issue is deeply divisive for members of the GOP, some of whom – perhaps most vocally Sen. John McCain of Arizona – are practically pleading with the House to pass some kind of reform bill or risk, well, alienating Hispanic voters. Others, such as Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas (who made news earlier this month with his remark about male fetuses pleasuring themselves as part of an abortion debate) contend that legalizing 11 million illegal immigrants is akin to adding 11 million Democrats to the voting rolls.
Boehner on Thursday vowed to ignore the Senate immigration legislation unless he finds it has support from a majority of his party, which controls the House. That prospect seems pretty dim at the moment. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has said he would oppose the Senate legislation.