Immigration reform has been a hot topic of debate over the last few months. First came calls to Congress from both the President and the American people to reform America’s broken system of immigration and to reach a compromise that would treat the millions of immigrants who are already in the country with the dignity and respect they deserve. Congress acted, and has been working to pass immigration reform ever since.
The Gang of Eight
First, it started with the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of eight Senators tasked with writing a draft version of the check that would hopefully reform immigration in America. The draft bill was then sent to a subcommittee for finalization before being submitted for the whole of the Senate to vote on. It did, and the draft version passed.
The House of Representatives
On the other side of Congress, the House of Representatives expressed dissatisfaction with the draft check and, through the House Speaker John Boehner, stated that it would not even introduce any Senate bills on immigration reform onto the floor of the House for a vote unless a majority of House members supported the bill. Since the Senate is controlled by Democrats, and the House by Republicans, this issue became deeply divided by party lines.
It was not long after the Senate passed its version of the check that the House announced that it had its own Gang of Eight which had been working in secret all along to come up with an immigration reform bill.
As of now, the nation waits for the House to finalize its own version of a check so that the House and Senate bills can be consolidated into a single check that both sides of the legislative branch can agree on. According to a recent announcement by Speaker Boehner, the House should have a finalized version of its own bill on the table by the end of August 2013.
After the House Votes
Even after the House is able to agree on a version of the immigration reform bill of its own, the check from the House and the check from the Senate will have to be consolidated into a single bill before being sent to the President for approval. This is how laws are made in America. The legislative branch, made up of the House and the Senate, creates bills and then submits them to the President. If the President signs the bill, then it becomes law. If the President vetoes the bill, or if the bill remains unsigned, the check may be sent back to the legislators for another vote. If 2/3rds of Congress agree to pass the bill, then the President’s signature would not be needed in order to make the bill a law.
So far, President Obama has expressed his support for bipartisan immigration reform and has stated that he will support a bipartisan immigration reform bill when he is presented with one by Congress – which means that he has already stated that he will pass the legislation into law if Congress can compromise on the major issues of the debate.