The U.S. Senate voted to move forward with a debate on immigration reform, although the state’s two senators split on the motion for debate.

Sen. John Boozman (R) opposed the cloture motion that allowed the bill to come to the Senate floor for amendments and consideration. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) voted for the debate to begin.

Malcolm Glover with our content partner, KUAR-FM 89 News reports:

Border security is a top concern for Senator John Boozman.

“We simply have to secure the border. If you don’t, then we’re going to be in the same situation that we were in under President Reagan,” Boozman said. “[Back in the 1980s], the promise was that we would secure the border and hold employers accountable. At that time, 3 million people were given amnesty and now we’re anywhere from 11 million on up… we’re in the same situation.”

Boozman says there needs to be a solid visa program that supplies workers to the industries that need them and a possible review of how amnesty could impact the nation’s social welfare programs.

As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, Pryor wants to make sure any amendments to the bill are consistent with safety measures he’s supported in the past. Pryor also does not believe there should be a fast-track to citizenship.

The senators report that immigrants make up about 13 percent of all manufacturing workers in Arkansas and they make up about half of the workers in the state’s poultry and animal processing industry.

You can access the full report here.

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