Thursday the senate passed a sweeping immigration measure 68-32.
Utah’s senators split on the vote with Senator Orrin Hatch voting for reform while Senator Mike Lee voting against it.
“This bill we have before us today is an enormous disappointment,” Senator Lee told his colleagues during Thursday’s debate. “The American people deserve better. As a matter of public policy, this bill fails to meet many of the goals we set out to meet at the beginning of the process. It’s full of promises to beef up border security but it makes no assurances.”
The measure calls for more border patrol agents to police the U.S.-Mexico border. It also demands more surveillance cameras and drones to patrol the border. It also provides for more visas for foreign hi-tech workers and farm workers.
Utah Latinos called it historic.
"I'm applauding the senators who had the courage to vote for comprehensive reform,” says Tony Yapias of Proyecto Latino
After months of keeping his vote secret, Senator Hatch voted in favor of the bill and Latino community leaders were grateful.
“Thank you so much for changing your thoughts and realizing how important this is as a humanitarian issue,” says Brandy Farmer with Centro Civico referring to Senator Hatch’s vote.
But the senate bill now moves to the House where it could have a rough time.
“The good news is the house has appeared to have learned this lesson and wants no part of this,” warned Senator Lee. “Already the speaker has said the senate bill is dead on arrival.”
But Latino advocates say a no vote in the House could be trouble for them in the 2014 elections.
“They are not paying attenton to the people,” says Robert Archuleta with the Utah Coalition of La Raza. “They want immigration reform. You can't keep on voting the way you have.”