After nearly three decades of debate, lobbying and innumerable false starts, the U.S. Senate has finally passed a comprehensive immigration bill. By a two-to-one margin, the reforms sailed through the Senate. Among other advances, the bill proposes the following major changes to current immigration law.
- Securing the U.S. border through patrol by close to 40,000 agents, with an additional $46 billion over 10 years added for border security
- Earned citizenship for approximately 11 million undocumented residents in the U.S. through the payment of a penalty, back taxes and a fee, among other requirements
- Additional visas for guest workers, including increases in H-1B visas (high-skilled workers), W visas (low-skilled workers) and agricultural worker visas
With Proposed Reforms, Everyone Wins
Proponents of the bill tout the benefits it will bring to the nation, should the House pass the legislation into law. For example, the Congressional Budget Office projects economic growth and increased tax revenues that could reduce federal budget deficits by close to $1 trillion over the next 20 years. Other economic benefits include increased competitiveness in the global economy through access to highly skilled innovators from countries across the world.
Uncertainty as Bill Enters the House of Representatives
The legislation, however, may encounter resistance. House Speaker John Boehner has warned that the bill will need support from more than half of Republican members of the House, some of whom are reticent to support the Senate’s vision of reform. Representatives such as Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) fear that a “stalemate” is looming, and others envision a repeat of the bipartisan tug-of-war that has characterized previous attempts to reform the embattled U.S. immigration system.
On the other hand, the bill received widespread support from high-profile Republicans in the Senate, including bill co-authors Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. The reform effort has also seen the formation of a surprising coalition of voices from opposite ends of the political spectrum. In addition, politicians seeking re-election may also fear alienating distinct voter blocs, which has proven disastrous for certain candidates in the recent past. A meeting of House Republicans to begin deliberations on the bill is scheduled after the weeklong Independence Day recess.
If you are currently seeking immigration to the United States, or are already in the U.S. and want to change your status, contact the Law Office of Maud Poudat, P.A. for updates and advice on how on the proposed reform might affect your case.