The Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee tasked with drafting a comprehensive bill that would overhaul the immigration system in the United States, has made a substantial step forward in crafting what the bill will become.

Path to Citizenship Approved 13 to 5

Not only was the Senate Judiciary Committee able to approve a path to citizenship for nearly 11.5 million immigrants, but it was also able to approve a plan that would create a new program for low and high skilled workers to gain easier access to employment opportunities in the United States.

The vote was nearly halted when Democrats made a last minute effort to include language in the bill that would have allowed same sex couples the same immigration rights as intersex couples, but the issue caused so much fiery debate that threatened the life of the entire bill, the idea was abandoned.

Tensions Rising in the House

The House of Representatives, which has been quietly crafting bipartisan immigration legislation over the last few years, does not appear to be having the same luck as the Senate in reaching a final agreement. Part of the tension is whether or not the House will craft its own bill or simply vote on a bill that was already passed in the Senate, but some members of the House are saying there is no way that a Senate approved bill would pass House scrutiny.

Steady Progress but Progress to be Made

Once both chambers of Congress are able to agree on a final version of the bill, then the proposals that have been made thus far will be in the final stretch on the path toward becoming law. The bill would go to the President for approval which, if not granted, can still be passed into law by a 2/3 majority vote in Congress. How long it will actually take for the path to citizenship amendments to get into law is still a question of how long it will take for a full and final bill to be passed.

Until both sides of Congress can consolidate and approve a bill, the rules and regulations which have governed U.S. immigration will continue to govern, and immigrants should not assume rumors of changing laws have the force of actual laws.

An Attorney Can Always Help

If they would like information on the most current state of immigration law in the United States, immigrants and foreign citizens should get in touch with a U.S. immigration attorney. Even if they are in the country illegally, individuals still have the right to seek advice from experienced immigration attorneys on legal matters relating to their immigration status.

In some cases, an immigration attorney can even provide assistance to individuals who are in the country illegally with upgrading their status to legal. As always, for best results, immigrants and foreign citizens wanting to come to the United States should work with an immigration attorney who can provide counsel in the immigrant or foreign citizen’s first language.