WASHINGTON, D.C.–The federal immigration bill, A.K.A. the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, got no votes from both Mississippi senators Thursday, even though it passed the Senate with an overwhelming 68-32 vote.
News Mississippi learned Sen. Thad Cochran was going to vote no just hours before the vote came. Sen. Roger Wicker had been expressing concern about the bill since last week. Both are Republicans. Only 14 GOP members voted for the bill.
“The Senate bill is fundamentally flawed,” said Cochran. “It represents a headlong rush to offer a path toward citizenship for those here illegally, with more promises that illegal crossings on the Southwest border might finally end. For all its reported benefits, the Congressional Budget Office also reported that it will increase unemployment, suppress wages and only reduce illegal crossings by 25 percent.”
“The debate on this legislation has not resulted in changes that would guarantee to the people of my state that America’s borders will be truly secured or that illegal entries into our nation will end. I cannot support this bill,” he said.
Wicker also expressed his displeasure with the final bill after the vote.
“I voted against passage of the immigration bill because the legislation is deeply flawed and if enacted would not fix our broken system,” he said. “The Corker-Hoeven amendment, in my view, improved the enforcement provisions of the bill. However, more work needed to be done to alleviate my concerns – and those of my constituents – to ensure that we stop the current onslaught of illegal immigration once and for all.”
Wicker had introduced amendments which were not taken up.
Prediction from the House side are that it will not have near as much traction in the GOP controlled body.
Cong. Steven Palazzo (R) predicted the bill would be “dead on arrival”.
Cong. Bennie Thompson (D), praised the legislation in a statement to News Mississippi.
“I am pleased that the Senate has come together in a bi-partisan manner to finally pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” he said. “I urge the House republican leadership to quickly take up comprehensive legislation- the American public deserves progress on this issue.”
Critics say the bill essentially offers amnesty to people here illegally and does not do enough to maintain border security.