Archive for the ‘ immigration reform ’ Category

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Prevents Implementation of Deferred Action For Parents of Americans

Posted on: July 30, 2016 by in immigration, immigration reform
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The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program – President Obama’s 2014 executive order regarding immigration – will not go into effect as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23 decision. The decision also keeps the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from expanding. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in November 2015, upheld a district court’s order stopping the DAPA program, so the Supreme Court’s 4-4 split vote has the effect of upholding the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision.

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The Supreme Court’s only published statement regarding the case – a single sentence – prevents the Obama Administration from implementing the DAPA program and leaves the fate of several million undocumented immigrants in limbo. DAPA did not offer a path to citizenship or even a green card. Instead, it merely offered qualified individuals temporary work authorization and temporary protection from deportation. Up to 3.6 million immigrants – mostly the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and of legal permanent residents – would have been eligible for deferred action under DAPA.

In June 2012, the Obama Administration initially announced the DACA program, which now shields undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before they turned 16 years old and who have resided in the U.S. since at least 2010. DACA offers those immigrants a work permit and two years of protection from deportation – “deferred action.” The original DACA program has not been legally challenged, but in 2014, an expansion of the DACA program – extending the length of deferred action from two years to three – was rolled out at the same time the DAPA program was introduced.

HOW DID THE DAPA CASE GET TO THE SUPREME COURT?

Texas and other states sued to halt DAPA and the expansion of DACA. A U.S. District Court Judge, Andrew Hanen, issued an injunction to halt the programs. The case then went to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Judge Hanen’s injunction. The Obama Administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. After the ruling, President Obama said the split Supreme Court decision takes “takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”

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President Obama added that there would be no 4-4 Supreme Court votes if the Senate had moved swiftly to approve Judge Merrick Garland, the president’s choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. “Republicans in Congress currently are willfully preventing the Supreme Court from being fully staffed and functioning as our Founders intended, and today’s situation underscores the degree to which the court is not able to function the way it’s supposed to,” Mr. Obama said.

What happens now to as many as 3.6 million immigrants? Immigration activists are telling the president to announce a moratorium on deportations. “People are really upset and that is driving them to participate and to come out, and what’s happening is people realize without DAPA and DACA, something needs to happen,” says Hairo Cortes, a program coordinator at Orange County (California) Immigrant Youth United and one of the partners in the “Not1More” anti-deportation campaign.

HOW ARE IMMIGRATION ACTIVISTS RESPONDING TO THE DECISION?

The Not1More campaign is sponsoring a series of “Moratorium Now” rallies in favor of immigration reform in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and also in California. At these gatherings, those attending will be urged to vote for immigration-friendly candidates in November and to call or write congressional representatives about comprehensive immigration reform.

Paromita Shah, an associate director with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, told the Voice of America that, “This was a tie by the Supreme Court so there’s no precedent that has been set. There’s no precedent resulting from this decision, meaning that we don’t have any Supreme Court law on the merit of this program.” Still, Shah says there are still ways that the administration can help undocumented families.

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“One of the most important things, and this has been said by some immigrant rights groups across the country, is that the president still can enact a moratorium on people deportation,” she said. “He still has the authority to do that. He can stop the raids. … Even though there’s a big question of what’s going to happen in this program now, there’s a number of immigrants’ rights groups including us that believe that the president can do things,” Shah added.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT WITH DAPA AND IMMIGRATION REFORM?

At the moment, the fate of the estimated 3.6 million undocumented immigrants eligible for DAPA remains in limbo. The case now goes back to Judge Hanen’s U.S. District Court in Brownsville. Judge Hanen has scheduled a conference with lawyers for August 22, after which he is expected to set a date for hearing the case. However, there’s now only faint hope that DAPA can be resurrected during the remainder of President Obama’s term.

If Judge Hanen’s Fifth District Court rules against DAPA, the Obama Administration could conceivably appeal the decision again to the U.S. Supreme Court. That would stretch the case into next year, and frankly, the matter probably cannot be settled until a ninth justice is approved to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. In the long run, the best hope of undocumented immigrant families is comprehensive immigration reform, but Congress has already spent more than a decade wrangling over the topic.

Efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform have repeatedly failed, and there’s now realistically no hope of Congress taking up the issue before January 2017. If opponents of immigration reform should prevail in November’s elections, it may be years before any significant immigration reforms can be adopted. On the other hand, should immigration-friendly candidates prevail at the polls, action could come quickly once a new Congress settles in. Democrat Hillary Clinton has pledged to proceed with DAPA if she’s elected. Republican Donald Trump has called DAPA “unconstitutional.”

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Still, that’s in the future. Any immigrant in the United States who needs legal help now with protection from deportation, obtaining a work permit, a visa, or a green card, or applying for naturalized U.S. citizenship should not wait. A Las Vegas immigration attorney can provide the advice immigrants need now and can help immediately with any immigration-related legal difficulty. A Las Vegas immigration attorney can also help employers obtain the visas they need in order to hire international workers. Until comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality, immigrants and their employers in the U.S. will need all the help they can get.

Supreme Court To Rule On Deferred Action Programs

Posted on: February 12, 2016 by in blog, immigration reform
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On January 19, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will review a case that challenges the legality of President Obama’s executive actions granting semi-legal status and work authorization to potentially five million undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children or who are the parents of U.S. citizens. The nation’s highest court will review a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court that has blocked the implementation of President Obama’s 2014 deferred action initiatives – DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and an expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The Court’s ruling is expected by the end of June.

If the Supreme Court upholds the President’s executive actions, qualifying immigrants would be allowed to work in the United States and temporarily shielded from deportation actions. The deferred action programs offer no path to citizenship and no green cards, and undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the United States would not be eligible for deferred action. For now, none of the activity in the courts affects the existing, original DACA program. Immigrants may still request an initial grant or a renewal of DACA according to the regulations implemented in 2012. Anyone who needs to apply for or renew DACA status should contact our experienced Las Vegas immigration attorneys at once.

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According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), the DAPA program could create more than 20,000 new jobs each year over the next ten years. DAPA could also increase the GDP by $164 billion over the next decade and add $88 billion to the personal incomes of working Americans. Millions of immigrants are now awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision. If you are a DACA-qualified or DAPA-qualified immigrant – or if you’re not sure – or if you are a U.S.-based employer who hires immigrants to work in the United States, let an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer provide the immigration-related legal advice and services you need, and do not wait to make the call.

Bold Steps On Immigration

Posted on: April 17, 2015 by in blog, immigration, immigration reform
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Las Vegas immigration lawyerIn November, after more than a year of Congressional delays and false starts, President Obama announced an administrative action to fix some of the damage being done by our nation’s broken migration system. The President’s executive action will offer relief that takes into account the need to help businesses, keep families together, and alleviate some of the daily tragedies that our broken migration system engenders. If you’re in the Las Vegas area and you need to apply for deferred action – or if you have any other immigration concerns – speak immediately with our experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyers.

Observers on all sides agree that President Obama has taken bold steps to begin changing our broken migration system and keeping his promises to immigrants and their families. Presidents from both parties have taken similar measures for decades. In fact, in 1990, the first President Bush gave a blanket deferral of enforcement to 40 percent of the undocumented immigrant population at that time. However, President Obama’s plan does not fix all of the problems with America’s current immigration system; in fact, it’s only a stopgap measure. It does, however, temporarily protect qualified immigrants while giving Congress a chance to step up and approve comprehensive immigration reform.

The situation regarding border security remains unclear. Despite deploying unprecedented amounts of manpower, resources, and technology to secure the nation’s border, the Obama administration is still increasing the buildup of resources there. Along with the border buildup, the administration has substantially expanded family detention and deportations, sometimes in violation of U.S. humanitarian and asylum law.

A number of details are still to be determined, so if you’re confused, you aren’t alone. If you are an immigrant, documented or undocumented, with any questions or concerns regarding details of the president’s plan, promptly have a good migration lawyer answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer legal advice you can trust regarding your personal situation. If you employ immigrants in the Las Vegas area and want to know how the changes impact your business and hiring practices, you should also speak as quickly as possible to an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer. Immigration law is complicated; don’t hesitate to take advantage of the help that’s available by arranging to speak with a good immigration attorney immediately.

What The Executive Order Includes

Posted on: April 13, 2015 by in blog, immigration, immigration reform
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Las Vegas immigration attorneyIn November, President Obama announced plans to improve the nation’s immigration system and provide legal protection – deferred action on deportation – to qualified undocumented immigrants in the United States. If you’re in the Las Vegas area – or arriving there soon – and you need deferred action, speak immediately with an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the President’s plan includes:

  1. Deferred action for the parents of U.S. citizens and the parents of lawful permanent resident children, provided these parents meet the eligibility requirements. See a trustworthy immigration attorney for help when applying for deferred action.
  1. An expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that removes the age cap and moves the continuous presence date to January 1, 2010. DACA will now be granted for three years to those who are eligible, including those with pending renewal applications.
  1. Replacement of the controversial “Secure Communities” program with a “Priority Enforcement” program. The details of the new program are still unclear.
  1. Ensuring that job-creating entrepreneurs have legal means to enter and operate in the U.S.
  1. Increasing access for university-affiliated businesses to identify and obtain key talent.
  1. Allowing spouses and children of lawful permanent residents to apply for unlawful presence waivers from within the U.S. and ensuring proper standards for adjudicating those waivers.
  1. Enabling families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed forces to use parole-in-place to ensure their legal status.
  1. Changing the procedures for adjustment of status to allow legal immigrants caught in the immigration quota backlogs to register their applications and begin the final step of the process.
  1. Directing agencies to look at modernizing the visa system with a view to making optimal use of the numbers of visas now available under the law.
  1. A new border security plan, with details still to be worked out.

President Obama has presented the nation with an ambitious plan that may be a first step toward the reforms that the U.S. immigration system so badly needs. If you’re an immigrant – with or without documentation – and you’re in the Las Vegas area or arriving there soon, you can learn more about deferred action or have your other legal concerns addressed by speaking immediately with a trustworthy, experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Growing The Economy, Creating Jobs

Posted on: April 3, 2015 by in blog, immigration, immigration reform
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Las Vegas immigration attorneyInternational entrepreneurs, along with highly-skilled international workers and the employers who hire them, stand to benefit from the new immigration policies announced in November by President Obama. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a memo to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that, “These new policies and regulations will be good for both U.S. businesses and workers by continuing to grow our economy and create jobs.” If you are an employer in the greater Las Vegas area, or if you are a highly-skilled international worker or entrepreneur already in Las Vegas or arriving there soon, have your concerns and questions about the new policies answered by an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Secretary Johnson’s memo opens several new possibilities for international entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. and launch new businesses here. One route for international entrepreneurs may be the “national interest waiver,” which permits non-citizens with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities to seek green cards without employer sponsorship if their admission to the U.S. is in the national interest. Secretary Johnson is directing USCIS to clarify precisely the standards by which a national interest waiver may be granted.

Another possible route for foreign entrepreneurs: “parole” (or “parole-in-place” for those already in the U.S.) for highly-skilled workers and the founders of start-up enterprises. DHS would grant parole status on a case-by-case basis, according to Secretary Johnson’s memo, “to inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.” Parole would allow individuals to work in the United States before they become eligible for a visa if they meet certain income and resource thresholds to qualify.

Comprehensive, permanent reform to our nation’s immigration system will require congressional action; meanwhile, executive action is giving entrepreneurs and others a chance to bring their skills now to the United States. If you are an international entrepreneur, investor, or highly-skilled individual with questions about how the executive action impacts you, or if you simply need to discuss your immigrations options with someone knowledgeable and trustworthy, contact an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer as quickly as possible.

How Cities Are Helping

Posted on: April 1, 2015 by in blog, immigration, immigration reform
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Las Vegas immigration attorneyMayors across the United States are expressing their support for executive action on immigration and are exploring how their cities can help advance the announced changes. At least 25 mayors have formed Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition to support and implement executive action on immigration. “Our cities recognize and celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our nation, and we welcome immigrants in our communities,” the group said in a recent press release. If you are an immigrant in the Las Vegas area with any questions or concerns about the new migration policies, speak promptly to an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

As part of his November executive action on immigration, President Obama created a Task Force on New Americans to explore ways to strengthen immigrant and refugee integration. Building upon ongoing efforts and successes at the local and state level, the task force will engage with community, business, and faith leaders as well as state and local elected officials to “determine additional steps the Federal Government can take to ensure its programs and policies are serving diverse communities that include new Americans.”

The mayors of cities large and small are calling these actions important steps. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said, “We applaud the President’s actions … they will strengthen the American economy and our national security.”

New Americans will be making significant contributions to our economy, culture, and national security. If you are a new immigrant in the greater Las Vegas region, your contributions are important to our nation. If you have any questions regarding deferred action, work permits, green cards, or naturalized citizenship, or if you’re currently dealing with an ongoing immigration-related legal matter, don’t wait to get the advice and help of an experienced Las Vegas migration  attorney. Make the call promptly.

Obama Plan to Protect 5M Undocumented Immigrants

Posted on: November 20, 2014 by in immigration, immigration reform
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131031_barack_obama_flags_ap_605I will be there tomorrow at the Del Sol High school, among the few live spectators, where Obama will provide more details on the plan.

Here are details of what Obama is going to announce tonight:

President Obama will speak live at 8 p.m. ET from the East Room of the White House. On Friday, he will travel to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas to further detail his plans and rally supporters. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will also attend, officials said. The school is the same place where Obama announced a second-term push for immigration reform in Jan. 2013.

The Action

The White House says Obama will “maximize the use of his authority” to extend temporary legal status to more than 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Who Gets Relief?

  • 4.1 million undocumented parents and families of U.S. citizens who have been in country more than 5 years with no criminal record.
  • 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, so-called Dreamers, will be newly eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Current age limits for the program will be dropped, sources say.
  • 400,000 highly-skilled workers will be eligible for visas.
  • Some other smaller categories for relief will bring the number affected above 5 million.

Who Gets Left Out?

  • Undocumented parents of DACA recipients will not be eligible for legal status.
  • Undocumented agricultural workers will not be addressed.

Border Security

Obama will direct more resources on border security with an emphasis on deporting new arrivals. Guidance to law enforcement will be to focus on criminal aliens rather than those living quietly in the shadows with no arrest record.

The Legal Argument

The White House believes Obama’s acts are effectively bullet-proof in court, backed up by the precedent of more than a dozen presidents who have used discretion in enforcement of immigration law and granted temporary legal status to thousands of immigrants on their watch. Advocates have been told the dreamer families were left out because White House believes inclusion of non-citizen families would jeopardize the legal underpinning of the plan.

The Caveats

Obama will sign his executive order tomorrow at the event in Las Vegas, but it will take several weeks for many of the new initiatives to roll out, people familiar with the plan say. Terms of the action will take effect in six months, giving time for congressional action to replace the order with legislation and allow advocacy groups to organize people to apply for relief.

Nothing in Obama’s plan will create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and any legal status received would be temporary. Officials have said the eligible immigrants – as under DACA — would not be entitled to federal benefits such as Medicaid, health care subsidies, etc.

While up to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants would be eligible to apply for relief under Obama’s new order, it is expected that fewer will actually apply and be approved. So bottom line: 5 million is the high end, but a rough estimate.

The Public View

A majority – 52 percent – of Americans said they would like to see Obama act unilaterally on immigration in the absence of Congressional action, with 44 percent opposed, in an early September ABC News/Washington Post survey. But when asked about plans to extend legal status and work permits to undocumented immigrants now living and working in the U.S., a majority were opposed – 50 percent saying they do not back the idea, up four percentage points from the year before.

ABC News’ Serena Marshall and Devin Dwyer contributed reporting.

Family Unity: A Concern of Immigration Reform

Posted on: August 28, 2013 by in immigration reform
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bigstock-Conversation-With-A-Therapist-49284815As the United States gets closer to approving and instituting major migration reform in America, millions of undocumented immigrants and their families wait in the shadows for news of a path to citizenship that will help to keep their families together.

The Current System

Under current regulations, immigration law and family law are often pitted against one another. This usually happens when a non-U.S. citizen parent who has the legal right to exercise parental control over a U.S. born child is recommended for deportation / removal from the country by migration officials, or when the person recommended for deportation / removal is a non-U.S. citizen spouse of a citizen. Examples of how much this affects the family unit are abound, with some undocumented parents reporting that their status has left them living in fear of losing the businesses that they started to support their families and in even of taking their children to the hospital for fear of having their immigration status revealed.

In the past, the U.S. government has unflinchingly deported adults who have been in the country since they were children – brought to the country illegally by their parents – and even children who would otherwise qualify to remain in the country under the DREAM Act.

Path to Citizenship Awaiting Approval

If Congress is able to compromise long enough to agree on an migration reform bill, then things are likely going to get much better for many individuals currently living in the United States without the necessary documentation. Provisions to the proposed immigration reform bill being drafted by Congress are expected to grant migration judges the authority to stop deportation proceedings if the removal of the undocumented person in question would result in a hardship to a U.S. citizen, whether the citizen be the parent, child, or spouse of the undocumented person. The bill is also expected to grant authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to allow some of the individuals who have already been deported before the bill could pass to apply for provisional immigrant status and rejoin their loved ones in the United States.

When Family Unity is Threatened

Because of the sensitive nature of family law and the fact that migration law is so complex and case specific, it is always in the best interests of immigrants living in the United States to seek the advice of experienced immigration legal counsel when an immigration issue appears as if it will threaten the unity of a family. The attorney will be able to review the immigration issue at hand and determine whether or not it is something that could risk breaking the family apart. If so, then the attorney can immediately get started with representing the immigrant to ensure as fair and just an immigration proceeding as possible. Through each step of the immigration process, the attorney will advise the immigrant on his or her rights and best legal options in the matter.

In order to make sure they get the most up to date and accurate information regarding migration laws in general, immigrants in the United States are encouraged to seek the advice of experienced immigration attorneys, and not to rely on what they hear on the news or read online. Depending on inaccurate information can have very negative effects on an immigrant’s status in the United States.

Important Immigration Information for Same Sex Couples

Posted on: August 26, 2013 by in immigration reform
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bigstock-Conversation-With-A-Therapist-49284815Defense of Marriage No More

With the recent repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed the federal government for several years to discriminate against same sex couples, same sex couples who are legally married in states that allow same sex marriages now have the same immigration rights and benefits as straight couples. This means that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is married to a foreign citizen of the same sex, or who is engaged to be married to a foreign citizen of the same sex, can sponsor the foreign citizen spouse / fiance(e) for the purpose of obtaining a marriage/engagement visa and lawful permanent resident (green card) status. A same sex marriage performed outside the United States, so long as it does not offend American public policy, will also be recognized by the federal government if the couple moves to a same sex marriage-friendly state. A foreign marriage to a person who has not reached the age of majority for the United States may be considered “offensive to American public policy.”

Only for Some States

Unfortunately, these benefits are only extended to same sex couples in states that recognize same sex marriages. In other words, if a same sex couple is married in a state that recognizes the marriage, but moves to a state that doesn’t, the federal government may not extend these benefits. As of the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, it is now in the best interests of binational, same sex couples to move to a state that recognizes same sex marriages in order to be able to take full advantage of the federal benefits and immigration rights which a legally recognized marriage can allow.

Advice for Same Sex, Binational Couples

Same sex, binational couples whose marriages are now recognized by federal law are encouraged to make an appointment with a U.S. immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of helping a foreign citizen spouse obtain a U.S. visa or green card. Because this is a federal issue, and since most decisions are made by evaluating applications and paperwork, it is generally not even necessary for the attorney to be in the same state as the couple. While they are allowed by law to apply for a visa or green card without the help of a fiancé visa attorney, this option is not usually advised because of how confusing immigration applications can be. Failure to fill out an application properly, or failure to include the necessary documentation with an application, can add a substantial amount of time to the entire process – time which both spouses are sure to prefer not to waste.

Depending on whether it is an engagement visa or a green card that the foreign citizen spouse / fiance(e) is trying to obtain, different requirements will have to be met. If applying for a fiance(e) visa, then a marriage is required to take place within 90 days, and the process for applying is different depending on whether or not the foreign citizen is in the United States at the time of application. If applying for a green card, the foreign citizen spouse will have to show proof of continuous U.S. residency.

For more information, speak to our fiancé visa attorneys.

Major Reform Hurdle Removed in Senate

Posted on: August 23, 2013 by in immigration reform
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bigstock-Immigration-Rally-in-Washingto-7293773Winning Over Republicans

Recently released reports indicate that the U.S. Senate appears to have crossed a major roadblock on the road to immigration reform. The agreement is seen as a major boost in an effort to gain more Republican support for the reform bill by increasing the amount of cash earmarked for beefing up border security. The increased funding is expected to pay for more border security agents, the installment of 700 miles of fence, and the operation of an aerial drone border security program. The move to include border security amendments comes on the heels of several Senators stating that they are much more likely to support an immigration reform bill, one that includes a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented aliens already in the country illegally, if it includes measures to strengthen the U.S. / Mexico border.

Less Optimism in the House

Despite the fact that politicians in the Senate are working hard to reach a viable compromise on the issue of immigration reform, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner has said that an immigration bill has little to no chance of making it to the floor of the House unless it has the support of a majority of House Republicans. This means that even if the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, passes its own bill, the House won’t even vote on the bill unless it contains enough provisions that House Republicans can support.

House Bills v. Senate Bills

The reason why the House can kill a Senate bill if it doesn’t agree with its contents is because of how the legislative branch of government, also known as Congress, makes laws. For any bill to become a law, it must be voted on and passed by both chambers of Congress, the House and the Senate. Either chamber can draft a bill, but it must be passed in the other chamber before it can be signed into law. If both parties draft bills to deal with the same issues, which is still something that could happen in this battle over immigration reform, then the two bills have to be consolidated until it meets with the approval of both chambers.

Only after the House and the Senate agree on and vote to approve a bill can it be signed into law by the President – and President Obama has already stated that he will support a bipartisan immigration reform bill. Assuming the President did not want to sign a bill into law, the bill could still become law if it was sent back to Congress for another vote that would require a 2/3 Congressional majority. If 2/3rds of Congress support the bill, then it can become law even without the President’s approval.

Progress Slow but Steady

Even though the debates over immigration seem to be pushing immigration reform forward, there is no telling how long it could take for Congress to approve a full and final reform bill. Speaker Boehner has said in the past that he expects his chamber of Congress to reach an agreement on the issue by the end of 2013, which is good for the country as a whole, but seems like an eternity to the millions of individuals who would be affected either positively or negatively by the passage of the bill.