Leahy, Sanders split on immigration vote

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Vermont’s two U.S. senators split yesterday in a key vote on immigration legislation.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy voted yes on a key procedural vote to cut off debate in the Senate and proceed to action on the compromise immigration reform package.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders voted against closing off debate, joining the majority of Republicans who voted the same way.

Leahy says he has concerns about the bill, particularly as it relates to the ability of dairy farmers to hire immigrant workers. But he says he hopes amendments can improve the measure.

Sanders says he opposes the bill’s guest-worker provisions, which he fears will drive down wages for American workers.

The bill contains several provisions, including a path for illegal immigrants to gain legal status and a new point system that emphasizes an immigrant’s job skills and education and downplays family relationships.

It also calls for new security measures, including 20,000 new border agents and more fencing along the U.S. Mexican border.

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