When Congress returns from its Independence Day recess next week, immigration reform will once again take the floor, this time in the House of Representatives.
While the bill overwhelmingly passed through the Senate with 68 votes, including every Democrat and 14 Republicans, it will face a tougher task ahead in the Republican-led House. House Speaker John Boehner has reiterated that he would only allow a bill to reach the floor for a vote if a majority of Republicans supported it. That would be a long way from the approximate one-third of Senate Republicans that voted to pass reform.
The House has stressed that regardless of what happened in the Senate, that it would move at its own pace and draft its own “piecemeal” immigration legislation. It has been doing just that over the past several weeks, debating issues such as high-tech and guest-worker visas.
“The strong bipartisan vote we took is going to send a message across the country. It’s going to send a message to the other end of the Capitol as well,” Senator Chuck Schumer said following the Senate’s vote. “The bill has generated a level of support that we believe it will be impossible for the House to ignore.”
The House has thus far been content to move at its own pace. Some are expecting the House debate on immigration reform to drag on through the Summer and into the Fall months.
The next key date in the House is July 10, after the July 4 break, when conservatives meet in the Republican Caucus with Speaker Boehner to decide how to proceed.
In the coming weeks, the House is expected to continue negotiations on issues such as border security and E-Verify. Some do not expect the House bill to have a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. We cannot let this happen.
The cornerstone of the Senate bill that we worked so hard to pass retained an achievable pathway to citizenship, despite the efforts of Senate Conservatives to attach triggers and roadblocks, thanks to the efforts of the immigration advocacy community and by our elected official allies, such as Senator Schumer and the “Gang of Eight.”
This is the time for us to contact our Representatives here on Long Island, including Peter King, to let them know that we want a fair immigration bill coming out of the House, one that includes an achievable path to citizenship for the estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants here on Long Island and 11 million across the country. You can call Congressman King’s office at (516) 541-4225.