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Iowa Federation of Labor Thanks Senator Harkin for Voting in Favor of Path to Citizenship

Senate Immigration Bill Passes with Bipartisan Support, One Step Closer to Fixing Broken System

Yesterday, Senator Harkin cast a critical vote to pass historic immigration reform legislation. The bill cleared the Senate with a bipartisan majority of 68 – 32 including every Democrat, 2 Independents and 12 Republicans.

Labor and other leading immigrant advocates have been fighting for a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans for years, and now is finally the time to pass a law that fixes our country’s broken immigration system once and for all.  This bill is not what we would have crafted. The massive build-up at the Southern border will have serious ramifications for border communities and American taxpayers, and we will work vigorously to change these provisions before this bill becomes law. However, the path to citizenship—the heart of this bill—is largely intact and will provide relief for millions of immigrant families around the country.

“We wish we could say that both our Senators voted in favor of this bill, but Senator Grassley did not.” said Iowa Federation of Labor President, Ken Sagar. ” We have had conversations with Senator Grassley on this issue, and regrettably he did not see fit to vote for this historic legislation intended to resolve this important issue. He has now revealed that he was never serious about immigration reform, and instead just wanted to stand in the way of millions of aspiring Americans getting on a path to citizenship.”

A recent Congressional Budget Office analysis shows that the bipartisan Senate bill would decrease the federal deficit by $175 billion over the next 10-year period. And it would be hugely beneficial for state and local economies. In a 20-year outlook, the CBO estimated that comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship would further decrease the federal deficit by another $700 billion by 2033.

Republicans in the House under Speaker Boehner’s leadership must realize that the American people are on the side of reform and want to see Congress solve this problem. They must find a way forward to make a pathway to citizenship for millions a reality. Thanks to support from Senators like Tom Harkin and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, there is now even more pressure on the House to get on board and fix our broken immigration system, once and for all.

“We hope that our Iowa Representatives in the house will do the right thing and support this bill” said Sagar.

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