The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 25, 2013

Senate passage of immigration bill on track

— WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate passage of historic immigration legislation offering citizenship to millions looks near-certain after the bill cleared a key hurdle with votes to spare.

A final vote in the Senate on Thursday or Friday would send the issue to the House, where conservative Republicans in the majority oppose citizenship for anyone living in the country illegally.

Some GOP lawmakers have appealed to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, not to permit any immigration legislation to come to a vote for fear that whatever its contents, it would open the door to an unpalatable compromise with the Senate. At the same time, the House Judiciary Committee is in the midst of approving a handful of measures related to immigration, action that ordinarily is a prelude to votes in the full House.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday that the Senate's advancement of stronger border security measures makes it "even more likely" that immigration reform will pass the House and become law. He said that the House won't take up the Senate bill but will do its own legislation, and added, "the majority of Republicans support the border security" as the keystone of immigration reform. He spoke on CBS' "This Morning."

"Now is the time to do it," President Barack Obama said Monday at the White House before meeting with nine business executives who support a change in immigration laws. "I hope that we can get the strongest possible vote out of the Senate so that we can then move to the House and get this done before the summer break" beginning in early August.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday she thinks it's important for the House to have its own bill and said, "Let's be optimistic about it."

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