From Big Business to Big Labor: Senate Immigration Bill Wins With Support from a Broad Range of Industries

By a vote of 68-32, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, increases the number of visas available for employers to hire foreign workers, and increases security at the U.S.-Mexico border. Every Democrat voted for the bill, while the Republicans were divided, with 14 voting in favor and 32 voting against. 

The bill is supported by a wide range of interests that includes labor unions, like the AFL-CIO, that traditionally back Democrats, and business groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that generally favor Republicans. Skill-intensive industries, like computer software and chemical engineering, are supportive of the bill for its provision boosting H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers, while labor-intensive industries, like restaurants and home builders, support the bill because it would increase the size of the workforce they can legally hire from.

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to senators from interest groups in support of or opposition to S. 744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act from January 1, 2007December 31, 2012. Contributions data source:

  • Interest groups supporting the bill have given 24 times as much money to members of the Senate than interest groups opposing.
  • Senators voting "YES" received, on average, 18.3 times more money from supporting interest groups than from opposing interest groups.
  • Senate Democrats have received 16 times more money from interest groups supporting the bill than from interest groups opposing. 
  • Senate Republicans have received 77 times more money from interest groups supporting the bill than from interest groups opposing.

About MapLight: MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.

 Image credit: Jonathan McIntosh/Wikimedia Commons