Senators pressure House to pass immigration bill

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The issue of immigration will be waiting for Congress when it returns from summer break in September -- but Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin are working behind the scenes, advising members of the House of Representatives how to vote.

In July, an immigration overhaul bill sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support in a 68-32 vote.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson voted "no," saying the plan doesn't begin to fix the problem. Now he's working with House members to ensure his ideas are part of any new bill.

"I've been in serious discussions with members of the House, trying to encourage them to pass the right kind of immigration reform," said Johnson.

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin is also putting pressure on the House, saying the Senate plan represents a bipartisan compromise.

"The Senate has recently passed, on a broad bipartisan basis, a significant overhaul to our immigration system as well as a five-year farm bill -- and we're finding in both instances that these two bills have gotten mired by pretty partisan politics in the House of Representatives," said Baldwin.

The Senate Immigration Bill has six key provisions including -- providing a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, increasing border control measures, raising the cap on high-skilled visas, allowing up to 200,000 guest workers a year, changes in the family visa program, and requiring all employers to verify workers' statuses.

House Republican leaders have said they would like to focus solely on security.

"Basically what the Democrats always do with immigration reform is they hold border security hostage for citizenship -- so what we're going to say is 'no, what we want to do it actually secure to border,'" said Johnson.

"They system is broken. This measure has a lot of provisions that are very helpful in our state of Wisconsin where, especially in the agricultural secure, there is a real need for a fix to our current situation," said Baldwin.

Currently there are about 85,000 undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin.