Immigration Measure Passes 3 Key Votes

The Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) S 744 passed three key votes that all but assures final passage on Friday. The votes today were on a waiving of the Senate’s budget rules that would have prevented the Border Surge from being able to come to a vote. The Waiver passed 68-30. The second vote was on the so called “Border Surge”.

The Border Surge amendment by Senators Corker and Hoeven increases the number of border patrol agents to nearly 40,000 from the current 20,000, it completes an additional 700 miles of border fence, adds electronic measures for those entering and leaving the

country, adds a number of other electronic border security and monitoring measures and other things. The Border Surge amendment passed 69-29.

The third vote today on S 744 was on a motion to invoke cloture and bring the bill to a vote on final passage. The cloture motion passed 67-31. This motion limits the future debate to 30 hrs but it can be much shorter under unanimous consent. Over the rest of today, leaders will be hammering out which of the nearly 300 amendments will be rolled into a block package vote (normally the non-controversial amendments), which will be voted on individually, and which will be dropped all together.

Passage of the CIR is all but assured. The question is what is the margin by which the bill will pass. The hope of the Gang of Eight is that it will pass with at least 70 votes. The idea is that will send a strong message to the House pressuring them to pass CIR.

Southeastern Cotton GInners supports the agriculture provisions of the Senate Bill. The ag worker programs outlined in S. 744 will get rid of the H2A program replacing it with a totally new program and allowing those working in agriculture to transition to green card workers over a period of time.

More fun and games to come.