AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A sweeping immigration reform bill looks like it’s headed to passage in the Senate after some significant additions to the bill were unveiled on Friday.
The additions include adding hundreds of miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, doubling the number of border patrol agents, and high-tech monitoring that includes helicopters, drones and watchtowers.
The bill is expected to win bipartisan support in the Senate, but it faces a tougher fight in the House of Representatives.
There’s a big push in Colorado to get lawmakers to support the bill. Claudia Esquivel is among thousands of Coloradans blanketing the state to build support for immigration reform.
“So we’re just collecting some signatures,” Esquivel said.
In Aurora alone they’ve gathered 2,500 signatures to send a message to Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.
“We want his support this year so we can support him next year when elections come,” Esquivel said.
Coffman is not the only one feeling the heat. There’s a full court press on Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton as well.
With the bill now expected to pass out of the Senate, the GOP-controlled House is the wildcard.
Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the Gang of Eight behind the reform, said he’s hoping the bipartisan deal on border patrol will sway House Republicans.
“The case is simply slipping away for maintaining the status quo,” Bennet said.
“We understand that there has to be compromise, and if means additional resources allocated for border security, that’s fine, as long as the final bill includes a pathway to citizenship. That’s the number one issue for us,” Grace Lopez Ramirez with Coloradans for Citizenship Now said.
It’s also the biggest sticking point for many Republicans, which is why the group isn’t letting up.
“It’s going to be tough, but I think we’re going to do it. Like they say, ‘Si se puede — yes we can!’ “ Mary Glenn with Coloradans for Citizenship Now said.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the reform would trim the deficit by about $900 billion over the next 20 years, and $30 billion of that would go to border patrol.
A recent poll found 75 percent of Coloradans not only support the legislation, but are more likely to vote for a politician who supports it.