Today the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the dysfunctional status quo on immigration policy and against the opportunity for reform. Fifty-three senators voted against cloture on the immigration bill, effectively preventing the bill from moving forward. While the bill in its current form was far from perfect, allowing it to move forward was essential to keep the immigration debate alive and it represented the best chance for reform in the short term.
The Senate vote is a disservice to the citizens of this country who elect their leaders so they can come together to bring pragmatic solutions to complex problems. The vote is a disservice to the states which, in the absence of a coherent national policy, are forced to come up with their own immigration laws. It is a disservice to those trying to enforce unrealistic and broken laws. Finally, it is a disservice to immigrant communities who held the fleeting hope that Congress would give them the chance to earn their place as full participants of our nation.
Opponents of reform decry amnesty, yet their vote today just ensured that those in the shadows stay in the shadows and outside the rule of law. The result is that the country will continue with a broken and ineffective system that harms everyone. By failing to act, the Senate has bowed to the pressure of a vocal minority for whom no bill, no matter how tough, will ever be good enough.
The Center for American Progress decries the intolerance that was the undercurrent of some of the opposition during the debate on immigration reform and calls on leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to come together to deliver meaningful immigration reform.
Cassandra Butts is Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy at the Center for American Progress.
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