A measure in the Senate purportedly designed to deal with an influx of around 120,000 illegal immigrants has cleared a key procedural hurdle.
Formal debate on the legislation will begin following a 63 to 33 vote. The bill will provide $2.7 billion in emergency funding for the federal government to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants.
Republicans have refused to support the legislation unless the current immigration policy is changed. House Republicans will approve substantially less money than requested by the Obama administration – $659 million. The House bill requires the apprehension of all unaccompanied minors and deportation hearings within a week.
The Senate measure includes provisions not related to the border or immigration. It specifies funding for local, state and federal agencies to deal with wildfires in eight western states and $225 million for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system. The system, used against rockets launched from Gaza, is paid for primarily with American money.
Asked about the funding for Israel, Illinois Democrat and Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Israel asked for the addition.
“Israel requested it, the White House asked us to include it,” Durbin told Politico. “It reflects the fact that all the rocket activity coming out of Gaza has exhausted their current supply or at least it is threatening their supply for defense.”