Republican Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee split their votes on the comprehensive immigration bill passed in the Senate on Thursday. Lee, who long opposed the legislation, cast a final vote against it along with thirty one other Republicans. Speaking from the Senate floor hours before the vote, Lee said that inferior border security provisions and allowing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship were components he could not support.
“The sponsors of this bill had the best of intentions, but in my opinion intentions are not always enough. As I said that the outset, Mr. President, I stand here today strongly in support of immigration reform, but this bill is not immigration reform, it is big government dysfunction and that is why I cannot support it and urge my colleagues to vote against it," said Lee.
Orrin Hatch voted for the final bill and supported the legislation throughout its development. He successfully sponsored and passed more than 20 amendments to the bill. Hatch said in a statement that
the legislation takes a number of strong steps forward to strengthening border security, addressing our short- and long-term labor needs, and ensuring that anyone who comes to our country is responsible for paying into the system.
The bill passed with a vote of 68-32 with Hatch and 10 other Republicans supporting the measure. It now moves to the House for consideration.