Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the chamber's passage of sweeping immigration reform legislation that aims to unite families, boost the economy and bring millions into the legal immigration system.
Leahy, the Senate's most senior member and president pro tem, managed the three-week floor debate on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act that was approved in a bipartisan 68 to 32 vote.
"With this legislation, we honor our American values," Leahy said. "We honor the search of our forbearers for freedom, for prosperity, and for the promise that America has held out to so many for so long. Today is a good day for the Senate, and for the country. Today, with the help of many Senators, we will address a complex problem that is hurting our families, stifling our economy and threatening our security."
Leahy announced in January that immigration reform would be the Judiciary Committee's primary legislative focus for the spring. He set out the goal of finishing Senate work on the bill by the July Fourth recess. Under Leahy's leadership, the Committee held six hearings from February to April on the issue of immigration reform. In May, the Committee held five markups spanning three weeks to consider the bipartisan legislation that was approved by the full Senate on Thursday.