U.S. Senate Sets Monday Vote In Key Test For Immigration Bill

by
Reuters
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Friday set a vote for Monday on a border-security deal that is expected to push a landmark U.S. immigration bill to passage by the end of next week.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Friday set a vote for Monday on a border-security deal that is expected to push a landmark U.S. immigration bill to passage by the end of next week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to pass the White House-backed bill with broad bipartisan support, sending it to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it faces more resistance. Reid scheduled the vote after negotiators completed writing the deal into the form of an amendment.

The deal, reached on Thursday in a bid to ease border security concerns and build Republican support, would double the number of federal agents on the U.S.-Mexican border to about 40,000 and provide them more high-tech surveillance equipment, including manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Reid hailed the accord, saying it "would put to rest any remaining critical concerns about border security," which had been a major stumbling block.

The bill faces a major challenge in the House, where many Republicans oppose its provisions for a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Critics complain that the pathway amounts to "amnesty" for lawbreakers and would attract more illegal immigrants. Backers disagree, saying it would bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows and integrate them into American society.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring any immigration bill to the floor of his chamber for consideration unless it has the support of most of his fellow Republicans.