With House Speaker John Boehner saying that he wouldn’t allow a vote on the Senate immigration bill, the work in the House has been focused on the “piecemeal” efforts at immigration reform.
However, a group of House representatives working on a comprehensive bill, down from eight members to seven after the departure of Raul Labrador, has continued its efforts despite the simultaneous piecemeal negotiations, according to the Washington Post.
More conservative and tougher than the Senate bill, the House bill includes a 15-year path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already in the country. Immigrants would be put in a “probation” status if they admit to breaking civil laws. While different in name, the rights of those under this status would be similar to the “registered provisional immigrant” status in the Senate bill.
However, this status is contingent on a national E-Verify system being in place within five years. If such a system isn’t in a place, then the probationary status would end and undocumented immigrants would once again be deemed “illegal.”
If the E-Verify system is in place, then undocumented immigrants would leave the probationary phase and enter into a temporary legal phase for another five years. At the end of this, they would be able to apply for a green card, putting them on a path to citizenship that would end five years after that, for a total of 15 years.
While there is much that is not yet known about the House bill, progress is being made on a comprehensive bill that might go to the floor for a vote. A comprehensive bill that includes a pathway to citizenship is key here, as it is very unlikely that the piecemeal bills being considered would include such a path.
If a House bill is passed with a path to citizenship intact, it would simplify the negotiations when they are consolidating the bills during conference. However, talks on the bill have been slow, and it’s expected that not much more progress will be made until after the August recess.
We cannot let up on the push for immigration reform, now is the time that we continue reaching out to our local representatives, including Long Island’s Peter King, to let them know that we want comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.