The U.S. House of Representatives has been relatively silent on coming up with a plan to overhaul America’s failing immigration system. Much of the media attention given to immigration in politics over the last few months has been largely focused on the Senate’s Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators tasked with coming up with a proposal to overhaul current immigration policies. Among the changes proposed are paths to citizenship for immigrants in the country who were brought to the country as children and for those employed in certain designated industries.
Secret Negotiations Revealed
Speaker of the House John Boehner has revealed that his section of the legislative branch has had its own Gang of Eight discussing immigration reform in secret for more than four years. The revelation comes less than a month after the Senate’s proposals were made and has come largely as a surprise to those who are just learning about the group’s existence. Like the Senate’s Gang of Eight, the House’s eight member group is made up of four democrats, four republicans, and was tasked with coming up with a solution to fix immigration in America.
Although he did not release the full details of the proposals considered by his eight member group, Speaker Boehner did reveal that the group has managed to agree on a number of different proposals and that a plan should be released sooner rather than later. According to the Speaker, immigration reform is something that the country has needed to deal with for the last 15 to 20 years, stating “It’s just time to deal with it.
What it Means to Immigrants
Immigrants who will be affected by reform plans are no doubt on the edge of their seats awaiting word on which direction toward immigration reform the country will take. Unfortunately, neither the proposal made by the Senate’s Gang of Eight or the supposed proposal revealed by Speaker Boehner carries much weight in terms of helping immigrants move on with their lives. Neither proposal has the force of law and neither goes into effect until the entire legislative branch can come up with a collective compromise.
If all goes according to plan, actual legislation on immigration reform is expected to pass in 2014, but this date has many reform supporters worried. The year 2014 will mark the start of midterm elections leading up to the 2016 elections, and is no doubt a time when democrats will be more concerned with saving their jobs than with making law.
Predictions of a House Proposal on Immigration
Although the House’s proposal has yet to be released, many believe that it will contain more security centric and border strengthening proposals than those offered by the Senate. As soon as the proposal is released, it will no doubt be debated and talked about in the media, but proposals don’t equal law. No matter what they hear, immigrants who may be affected by reform are encouraged to speak with experienced immigration legal counsel for the facts, and to take what is said in the media with a grain of salt.