An overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws has been defeated in the Senate. Opponents blocked a move by supporters to cut off debate and force the bill to a vote. That failure dooms the bill, at least for now. Neither of Missouri’s US Senators favored the bill.
The 46-53 vote fell far short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate in Washington and force a vote on the bill, backed by both Democratic leaders in the Senate and President Bush. Bush lobbied hard for his immigration package, but couldn’t sway leaders of his own party, including Senator Bond, a staunch ally of the president’s.
Bond objected to several provisions, but especially opposed provisions that would smooth the path to citizenship for the 12 million illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans, now in the country. Bond says the path to citizenship provisions would have had to been taken out and illegal aliens would have had to be barred from social service benefits for him to support the bill. Bond also favors having illegal immigrants now in the country register as temporary workers.
Both Bond and Senator McCaskill voted against cutting off debate. McCaskill objected that the bill wasn’t harsher on businesses that hire illegal aliens. She says it would have given a free pass to businesses that use undocumented workers aliens as cheap labor.
McCaskill also said the Senate had the debate backwards. She says the debate shouldn’t have focused on illegal immigrants, but should have focused on making the process to become a legal immigrant more orderly and fair.