The US Senate has approved a landmark bill that could allow millions of undocumented immigrants to become citizens, although passage through the House of Representatives remains a hurdle.
Democrat Senators voted unanimously in favour and 14 Republicans also backed the bill.
Speaking in the Senate, Republican John McCain said: “These are people who wanted to come to this country, not because they wanted to do anything but realise the American dream. That’s what they want. That’s what they risk their lives and in fact gave their lives for and, yes, they did so illegally – and they’re willing to pay a penalty for crossing our border illegally.”
The Senate has also approved a bill to beef up security along the US-Mexico border, including sending 20,000 more law enforcement officers to police it.
Esmeralda Flores at the Pro-Migrant Coalition in Tijuana complained: “It seems to be a schizophrenic position, it doesn’t make sense – offering legalisation to a certain number of people who are already in the US whilst also militarising the border.”
There is doubt over whether the new immigration bill will become law, as it must also be passed by the US House of Representatives. The Republicans, who have the majority there, have proposed drawing up their own bill.