Published: January 8, 2014
With regard to our nation’s ongoing conversation about immigration laws and the 11 million undocumented folks living among us, several significant (according to some) developments have taken place. Whether these events will ultimately yield the passage of a law to improve our immigration system or benefit all or some part of the undocumented population remains to be seen. By late spring – perhaps following primary election season, we may know more.
Just today, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, announced to several of his fellow House Republicans that his “leadership team” was in the process of presenting a “principles document” to launch a House Republican effort toward improving our immigration laws. The document, which is to serve as a road map for future legislative action by House Republicans, is set to be presented by month’s end.
Unlike the comprehensive bill passed by the U.S. Senate last Spring – where a path to citizenship for 11 undocumented individuals was center stage , the aim of any legislative initiative out of the Republican dominated House of Representatives will be to advance piecemeal measures to start, such as allowing for permanent legal immigration status for individuals arriving in the U.S. as children (DREAM Act beneficiaries), increasing the number of high tech worker visas available annually, and legalizing certain qualified farm workers. Alongside immigration benefits, other legislative measures favored will include major initiatives toward interior enforcement of immigration laws, such as enhanced workplace verification and visa tracking.
Boehner’s effort is being coordinated with various U.S. Senate leaders and other immigration reform policy veterans, most notably Senator John McCain. With the main obstacle to immigration reform up to this point being Republicans in the House of Representatives and their refusal to vote on the Senate immigration bill, the Republican party is sensitive to what impact the failure to pass any type of immigration legislation will pose to the party as a whole. Those sensitivities also are at play within the Republican party as it tries to attract a larger Hispanic constituency and resolve its identity crisis, where members must take a stand as either with or against Tea Party leaning members.
PUBLISHED January 8, 2014– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2014, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois