While much of the attention on the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration reform negotiations has been focused on border control and a pathway to citizenship, an issue that is just as important to many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has reportedly been decided.
All undocumented immigrants that arrived in the U.S. after December 31, 2011, would be excluded from immigration reform, according to the Associated Press.
It’s estimated that several tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. Excluding anyone who entered the country since the beginning of 2012 could potentially exclude a significant portion of the 11 million currently here.
The reports come as the senate group negotiating immigration reform announced that all major issues have been resolved, and that the only thing left is to write the actual bill. There are no issues left to resolve in person, and no more negotiating sessions have been planned. The work to draft the bill is being done by aides.
“All issues that rise to the member level have been dealt with,” Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Thursday. “All that is left is the drafting.”
Setting a cutoff date is important, as it would prevent a massive surge of new immigrants entering the U.S. in an effort to apply for legal status under new reform.
However, barring all undocumented immigrants that arrived in the U.S. within the past 16 months is severe, considering serious negotiations for immigration reform only started earlier this year.
The advocacy community needs to keep the pressure on our elected officials to draft new immigration reform that is fair and works for all Americans. While a bill is expected to be released next week, there is still substantial room for negotiation and modification before it officially passes.