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GOP Senator Backs Senate's Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill

With Sen. Kelly Ayotte endorsing a bipartisan immigration reform bill, the proposed legislation appears likely to pass the Senate. However, the real test for the bill will be the House of Representatives, where it will face stiff GOP opposition.

June 11, 2013
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Related Topics: Staffing and the Law, Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Immigration, Workforce Planning, Legal
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Ed Frauenheim is on assignment.

While the immigration reform debate in the House of Representatives appears to have come to an impasse—due to the departure of Rep. Raul Labrador from the House committee responsible for drafting reform legislation—the discussion in the Senate seems to be moving along slowly but surely.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, announced her support for the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, calling it a "careful, thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem."

Ayotte became the sixth Republican senator to endorse the bill, bringing the number of senators who support it closer to 60—the number needed to achieve a simple majority and avoid a filibuster from the GOP opposition.

The New Hampshire lawmaker cited mostly economic reasons when explaining why she decided to endorse the reform bill, such as the proposed increase in H-1B visas that would make it easier for the tech industry to fill some of the estimated 600,000 vacant STEM-related jobs; and the provision that would expand the use of E-Verify to all employers over a five-year period.

"Our immigration system is completely broken. … We have a legal immigration system that isn't meeting our needs to grow our economy. I looked at … the E-Verify [system] to make sure we control who's getting a job in this country, and also making sure there's a better legal immigration system bringing the high-tech workers here to make sure we can have the best and the brightest here to grow our economy," she said during her Face the Nation interview.

The Senate is expected to have its initial round of voting on the bill June 11, according to a CNN report. And several more votes on 300 proposed amendments are expected to follow. It's likely the bill will be finalized by the Senate within the coming weeks, then moved to a vote, where it would be likely to pass sometime this summer.

However, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was quoted in the LA Times saying the Senate's reform plan has "zero chance of passing the House."

Max Mihelich is a Workforce associate editor. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Mihelich on Twitter at @workforcemax.

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