Immigration Reform Bill Spearheaded By Marco Rubio Passes U.S. Senate

Sure, Marco Rubio may have pissed off both sides of the political spectrum as the face of the U.S. Senate's immigration reform bill, which includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and millions more in border security measures.

But as he builds his case as a national political candidate for 2016, he can always point to this: The biggest reform to our immigration laws in decades has now passed the U.S. Senate. Its prospects in the House, though, are much less rosy.

After the Senate tacked on a last-minute addition to up border patrol agents by 20,000, the immigration package passed easily today. The final tally was 68-32, with 14 Republicans backing the measure.

Rubio, more than any other politico, tacked his future prospects onto the bill after joining the "Gang of 8" bipartisan group working on the legislation. He gave an impassioned speech today before the vote.

He retold the story of his parents coming to Miami from Cuba, struggling to find work, and gradually embracing their new country.

"Sometimes, we focus so much on how immigrants could change America, that we forget that America changes immigrants even more. This is not just my story. This is our story. The story of how this country, unique among the nations of world, has made one people out of so many people from so many different places on earth," Rubio said in his remarks.

Despite the Senate victory, immigration reform is a long way from becoming law. House Speaker John Boehner reiterated today that his chamber won't vote on the Senate bill, but rather will come up with its own package that House Republicans will back. That could take months.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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