Senate Scheduled to Vote on Immigration Reform Legislation Today

The Senate scheduled a vote for today on whether or not to end debate on an amendment to S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The amendment by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) includes a proposal developed by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN) calling for $30 billion to increase border security. It would double the number of armed officers on the southern border to roughly 40,000. It would also spend billions on equipment such as drones, helicopters, cameras, and infrared sensors. Increased border security has been a non-negotiable for Senate Republicans and it is hoped that the Hoeven-Corker deal will bring more Republican supporters to the immigration reform bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that a final vote on the bill will happen on Thursday before the July 4 recess.

The amendment includes a provision sponsored by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) that would bar immigrants on the path to citizenship from claiming Social Security credit for work performed between January 2004 and January 2014 while in undocumented status.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a cost estimate of the immigration reform bill. CBO estimated that Immigration reform would offset any new spending through taxes paid by new and legalizing immigrants. CBO found that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by about $200 billion over the next 10 years and $700 billion over the second decade due to greater labor force participation. Finally, CBO predicted that immigration reform would create new jobs.

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