Anti-Immigration Senators Block Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Today, anti-immigration Senators blocked a final vote on the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, effectively killing the bill.

“The Senate immigration bill offered an opportunity to fix our broken immigration system, and bring millions of hard-working immigrants out of the shadows. The legislation was far from perfect, but moving it forward was our best hope for comprehensive immigration reform that would strengthen our economy and effectively secure our borders. Unfortunately, the bill died under merciless fire from nativist right-wing talk radio and ultraconservative pressure groups who refuse to offer any reasonable solutions,” said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way.

Neas noted that despite urgent lobbying from President Bush, he failed to muster support in his own party to bring the bill to a vote. At one point GOP Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania even referred to those who blocked the bill as “obstructionists.”

Jorge Mursuli, vice president of Hispanic Affairs at People For the American Way and national executive director of Democracia Ahora, an advocacy group for the civil rights of immigrants, said the status quo must not be allowed to stand.

“It’s time for a new approach, one which recognizes the contributions of immigrant workers to our country’s economy and diversity. America has always been a nation of immigrants. We must find a way to put hard-working Hispanic immigrants on path to earn their citizenship and take part in the American dream, just as millions before them have done,” Mursuli said. “We must organize our growing political power and the political participation of Hispanic-American citizens to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.”

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