DALLAS, TX–LawFuel.com – Immigration Law Firm News – Jul 8, 2013- The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform bill S.744 by a 68 to 32 vote and the bill is now in the House. Amendments to radically alter its balance of border security and earned legalization failed, but dramatically tougher border security requirements were added to attract more Republican support. Final S.744 calls for a doubling of border patrol agents to 40,000, and 700 miles of additional fencing at a cost greater than the $6.5 billion already committed to border security. The “surge” in S.744 will effectively militarize the southern U.S. border.
House conservatives want a much tougher immigration enforcement bill which seals the southern border before any benefits are given to undocumented immigrants, and without a path to citizenship. The Speaker wants the House to craft and pass its own immigration bill provided a majority of Republicans alone support it. And the House may take the balance of the year to reach consensus on a bill.
Facing House conservatives is a broad, energized coalition favoring immigration reform: well organized Latino groups, evangelical Christians, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which has reached agreement with the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and other business groups.
The House Judiciary Committee recently passed the SKILLS Act, narrow legislation which provides permanent resident status for certain science degree holders, more H-1B visa numbers, additional investor benefits, and increases employment based immigration.
Stewart Rabinowitz, an immigration attorney in Dallas, Texas said that the measure of success is whether the House can draft a comprehensive immigration bill, and one inclusive of the majority of qualifying undocumented immigrants, permits such persons to register upon the law’s passage, and places undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship without unreasonably linking immigration benefits to sealing rather than securing the southern border.
“Of what value to society would narrowly drafted legislation be that excludes the majority of the ~11 million undocumented persons, leaving them in the shadows, and which fails to address America’s overall 21st century immigration needs?” asked Rabinowitz.
Rabinowitz continued, “Similarly, of what value to society would denying provisional status to the undocumented be until specific border strategy objectives are already achieved? That could make sense, perhaps, in the decision to grant lawful permanent resident status, after a likely 10+ year wait for most, but not when millions cannot come out of the shadows even to register for provisional status until statisticians say the metric has been met.”
Rabinowitz added, “Is the House trying to solve a complex problem, or just posture for 2014?”