Senate votes to pass historic immigration bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has passed historic immigration legislation offering the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.

The vote was 68-32, far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the House. Prospects there are not nearly as good and many conservatives are opposed. 
 
Vice President Joe Biden presided, and senators cast their votes from their desks, both steps reserved for momentous votes.
 
The bill, a priority for President Barack Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation's immigration laws. 

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., released the following statement:

"Arizonans have had to wait far too long for Congress to take action to fix our broken immigration system. I am pleased to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting the passage of comprehensive reform legislation," Flake said. "While neither side got everything it wanted, this legislation goes a long way toward securing our borders, modernizes our legal immigration system, spurs economic growth and provides a tough-but-fair solution to those here illegally. Now, it’s time for the House to act."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton released the following statement:

"Thank you to our Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake for working hard in a bipartisan way toward comprehensive immigration reform. Along with the Gang of Eight they fought for better border security and a pathway to citizenship that will allow families to stay together and our economy to grow. But we must keep the momentum going -- our representatives in the House have a lot of bipartisan work to do, and Phoenix needs them to act. No region in the country will benefit more economically from passage of comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act than ours."

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox statement:

"This is a very good day. This is the first step in a very long process to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Pray to God we continue on this road and can celebrate in the fall the passage of a full comprehensive immigration reform. Then we can truly welcome the hard-working families into the American dream.

"It is a good day for all Americans. Historic and comprehensive legislation is always difficult. It always involves compromise. There are several provisions in the Senate version that I personally don’t agree with. But no one is going to get 100 percent. We all will have to compromise on some particular issues to get this comprehensive reform, decades in the making.

"There are far more provisions in the Senate bill that make great sense, make good policy, spring from a true understanding of American history and American values. It will be good for our economy and for our nation."

U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., issued the following statement:


"I congratulate the Senate for taking this historic, positive step, and I hope the House will now also act to pass this legislation. Right now, there is significant momentum to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill and finally provide a path forward for millions of immigrant families who want to become fully integrated into the American way of life. This bill would also strike an important balance between a pathway to citizenship, border security, and worker visas. My constituents and I are hopeful the House will seize this opportunity to work together and finally address this issue in a comprehensive and united manner."