UNITED STATES – Immigration Reform on Congressional Agenda

Now that healthcare reform has been passed, Congress has turned its attention to immigration reform.  However, some in Washington, D.C. have indicated that the issue might have a very difficult time finding enough votes to pass.

The immigration reform push has been strong with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who faces a challenging re-election contest in Nevada.

Although a bill has not yet been formally proposed, it would likely contain provisions similar to those included in the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform effort.  In the 2007 proposals, there was a strong emphasis on enforcement, as well as additional immigration benefits for the employment-based process.

The Obama administration has expressed a desire to create a system to allow those without valid documentation to come forward and earn an opportunity to become a U.S. citizen.  Such individuals would likely have to pay a fine, as well as wait until visa numbers become available after those who are going through the process legally have received their opportunity.

President Obama has also indicated that he would target U.S. employers in enforcement efforts to reduce incentives to enter the country illegally.  The impetus is to remove the availability of jobs for those who wish to enter the United States without inspection.

To succeed, the Democrat-led Congress will need bipartisan support.  The 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill did have bipartisan support.  It does not appear that there will be significant bipartisan support for this bill given early comments from previous immigration reform supporter John McCain, who has indicated that now is not the right time for the legislation. 

We will be providing regular updates on the issue of immigration reform.