US Senate rejects immigration reform bill

[JURIST] The US Senate voted against limiting debate [roll call] on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill [S 1639 materials] for a second time Thursday, leaving doubt that the bill will be revisited in the fall or even next year. The 46-53 vote was far short of the two-thirds majority needed to clear way for the bill's passage, and came following rejections of several proposed amendments [JURIST report]. In a statement made following the vote, President George W. Bush expressed disappointment with Congress's "failure to act" [statement text], calling immigration reform [JURIST news archive] "one of the top concerns of the American people." Bush also indicated that the administration was giving up on the topic, at least for the time being. After Congress returns from its July recess, Bush said he intends to shift focus towards establishing a comprehensive energy policy, ensuring affordable health care, and balancing the federal budget.

Although the immigration reform bill was initially hailed as a landmark compromise [JURIST report] by the White House and the bipartisan group of Senators who drafted it, it never received broad support from Bush's party. Several weeks ago, the bill failed a first cloture vote [JURIST report]. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized [press release] the bill as too lenient on illegal immigrants. Other detractors said that by granting legal status to illegal aliens, the US was granting "amnesty." Bill supporters, although disappointed in the outcome of the bill, believe that in time a similar bill will overcome opposition. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said that he believes Congress "will soon succeed where we failed today" [statement text], and that they will eventually enact the sort of immigration reform that "our ideals and national security demand." AP has more.

 

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