From Comprehensive to Incremental Immigration Reform
The House Republican Caucus confirmed at a meeting July 10 that it will not take up the comprehensive Senate bill. Instead, it will break the provisions into different bills. The process of considering and voting on the bills is likely to take the rest of the year and perhaps beyond. The House is unlikely to address immigration until the fall, when it will likely vote on several bills that have already been reported out of the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.
Thus far, House Republicans have focused on bills that cover border and internal security and agricultural and high-skill workers, while rejecting the comprehensive approach taken by the Senate.
Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are also working on a Republican version of the DREAM Act called the KIDS Act, which would provide a path to legalization for young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
“It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home,” Cantor said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in February.
But Democrats and immigration advocates are unlikely to support reform that provides legalization only for young immigrants. Right now, there is significant space between where reform advocates want to go with legislation and what Republican House members are willing to do.
The next several months will determine whether this chasm can be crossed.
Andrew Wainer is Bread for the World Institute's immigration policy analyst.
Photo: Bread for the World and other organizations participated in a Pray4Reform prayer vigil for just immigration reform in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2013. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).
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