U.S. Senate votes 82-15 to begin immigration reform debate

Sen. John Cornyn will try to amend bipartisan compromise

SAN ANTONIO - The vote in the U.S. Senate was overwhelming -- 82-15 -- to finally begin debate on the bipartisan compromise on immigration reform.

Among those watching was Johana De Leon, a sophomore marketing major at San Antonio College.

De Leon said she is among an estimated 12,000 “Dreamers” in the San Antonio-area who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.

She said today’s vote marks a milestone in a very long struggle for legal status.

“They’re meeting in the Senate and in the House trying to work together,” De Leon said.

However, Texas Sen. John Cornyn has said on the Senate floor, “The biggest difference between my amendment and the underlying bill is that my bill guarantees results while the Gang of 8 only promises results.”

Cornyn said soon he will be introducing his “Results Amendment” that will address border security and safety.

He said it will define operational control of the border as, “at least a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal border crossers.”

In response, De Leon said, “I think that they’re just trying to make it harder for it to pass.”

Speaking at the White House in advance of Tuesday’s vote to begin debate, President Obama said the bill is not perfect.

“No one is going to get everything they want, not Democrats, not Republicans, not me,” the President said.

De Leon said many in San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement do not agree with the 13-year path to citizenship.

“My parents have been here for ... 13 years, and you’re telling them 13 more years to get citizenship? That’s ridiculous,” De Leon said.

Still the President said the proposed compromise sets the stage for “common sense reform.”

But De Leon said she’s worried, “Just one amendment can throw out the whole bill or may delay it.”

Cornyn said he rejects the label his amendment would be “a poison pill,” given to it by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Republican Senator said the equivalent would be not securing America’s borders.

De Leon said border security is already working, “but they want to spend more money on it.”

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.


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