The comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June has hit a roadblock in the House of Representatives. Any momentum gained by the bill’s passage amid bipartisan support in the Senate appears to have faded. House Speaker John Beohner has vowed not to bring the bill up for a vote unless it receives support from a majority of the Republican members, a threshold that appears increasingly unlikely. Though most members in the House insist they support immigration reform, many members would prefer that the House pass its own legislation and do so on its own schedule.
One possible road forward is for the House to pass smaller pieces of legislation, one at a time. Many House Republicans view securing the border as a prerequisite for passing any other immigration provisions. If the House could first pass a bill dealing with border security, it may be able to capture enough momentum to push other measures through. This would allow House Republicans to present legislation to create a temporary work program for the agricultural industry, increase the number of visas for high-skilled labor, and mandate that employers verify the legal status of their workers, all while avoiding a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.
Despite warnings of what a failure to act on immigration reform could mean for the Republican party, many House Republicans come from districts where a path to citizenship is unpopular and where a political challenge is unlikely. Avoiding a comprehensive bill that includes a path to citizenship is the safest political move for many members, and approaching reform through piecemeal legislation is their best alternative.
The strong aversion to the comprehensive bill by House members and the option to proceed with piecemeal legislation presents the strong possibility that the Senate bill will slowly die. The bill will likely languish in the lower chamber until it fades away.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.