The Senate has defeated a Republican measure that would have blocked implementation of a so-called "path to citizenship" for undocumented workers until after the U.S.-Mexico border has been deemed secure for a period of six months.
The amendment to the larger overhaul of U.S. immigration law was sponsored by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. It was defeated Thursday in a 57-43 vote.
Opponents argued that the amendment would delay for years the path to citizenship that has become a centerpiece of the legislation, which Senate sponsors hope to approve by July 4.
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan on Wednesday predicted that the GOP-controlled House would approve the path to citizenship — the key sticking point in the immigration overhaul — despite opposition from conservatives.
"... a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators say, the legislation will generate enough momentum to overcome resistance from opponents on the right who blast it as a veiled 'amnesty' for those who crossed the border illegally.
Ryan, an influential conservative, lent support to those hopes. He told an audience in Washington assembled by the pro-reform National Association of Manufacturers that 'earned legalization is an issue I think the House can and will deal with.'"