Friday, June 28, 2013

Immigration Reform Passes Senate; What Will Happen in the House?

On June 27, 2013, immigration reform passed the Senate by an overwhelming 68-32 vote.  The bill which passed the Senate was broad set of reforms, from asylum law changes to the creation of immigration benefits for a broad set of people currently present in the country without status.  The most controversial portion of the bill appears to be the creation of the Registered Provisional Immigrant status, which provides legal status to alien present in the country since on or before December 31, 2011.

Reform now faces a tough test in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans.  The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, has stated that the country needs comprehensive immigration reform. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, however, has made it clear that the House will not simply take up the Senate bill and vote on it.  Instead, the House will craft its own bill, based on the leanings of Republican majority.  Some analysts believe the House will pass a series of smaller bills, each addressing a discrete topic of immigration reform.  Other believe that the House will pass a comprehensive bill, and will send the issue to a joint committee with the Senate to negotiate a compromise.

One of the biggest sticking points for House Republicans could be the Registered Provisional Immigrant status, which some view as amnesty for illegal actions.  Of course, Republicans may pressure to find a way to appeal to Latino voters, who voted for President Obama in the last election at a ratio of 3 to 1.

By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
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