An immigration overhaul bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for some of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and would have toughened our nation's borders died Thursday in the Senate. The bill, which was considered to be President George W. Bush's second-term centerpiece, sparked controversy both publicly and politically. Critics of the bill say the legislation was tantamount to offering amnesty to those immigrants who were already in the country illegally.

The final vote was 53 to 46, 14 votes shy of the 60 needed to limit debate. It is unlikely that the immigration issue will surface again on Capitol Hill until after the next election. Indeed, the immigration question may emerge as one of the top 2008 campaign issues.

Despite the bill's failure, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says it will continue to call for immigration reform.

"Though the Senate fell short today in keeping the legislation alive, the nation's home builders strongly support comprehensive immigration reform that would protect our borders; provide a process by which immigrants can legally enter the country to work to meet the labor demands of a growing economy; and create an enforcement system that is fair, efficient, and workable for all U.S. employers," says Jerry Howard, executive vice president and CEO of the NAHB.

"Everyone has a stake in reforming the nation's immigration laws in a fair and just manner," Howard adds. "We hope to continue working with members of Congress to craft immigration policy that protects our borders without placing an unfair burden on small business owners."

In an e-mail to BUILDER Online, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) stated its displeasure with the failure of the proposed legislation. The organization also sent a letter to the Senate, voicing its opinion.

"Although ABC had not yet taken an official position on the legislation, we are disappointed that cloture was not invoked and that the bill was pulled from the floor," writes Gerry Fritz, director of communications and public affairs. "ABC believed that the process should have moved forward. The bill deserved a final vote."

BUILDER Online will continue to cover the reaction of builders, politicians, and industry-related organizations regarding the immigration issue. Send your comments to