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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Goodlatte Predicts Immigration Legislation Will Pass in 2014

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I've blogged before that while I was pretty disappointed that Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was made chairman of the Judiciary Committee (he had the highest anti-immigration rating in Congress), he's been surprisingly reasonable and seems genuinely interested in moving forward some decent proposals that will get at many of the major issues.

Some in the media - particularly those who don't cover immigration closely - have pronounced immigration reform dead multiple times. And while I regularly push for action sooner, I also am not interpreting a lack of action now to mean that reform is dead. I suspect that we're going to see more committee action in the first part of 2014 and the more difficult full house votes to take place after we get closer to the end of the Republican primary season.

Bob Goodlatte talked to reporters yesterday and had some interesting things to say. According to National Journal:

The House speaker's statement [that the House would not conference on S.744] gives the committee free rein to put together an immigration package on its own schedule and terms without the pressure of matching the Senate bill, something of a rarity at a time when many major issues are grabbed up by the chamber's top leaders.

"That gives us more latitude to have the discussions that need to take place," said committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "We've been hard at work on that throughout the year. We produced several bills. We're working on several more."

Yet it also leaves Goodlatte, a former immigration attorney, picking his way through a tangled issue with little in the way of a map. Throughout 2013, he has stubbornly stuck to his plan to consider smaller immigration issues separately and deliberately, even as lobbyists and activists were buzzing about the Senate's massive bill and the House's bipartisan "gang" of members who were working on separate legislation.

It was an approach that drew criticism, with many saying immigration reform would be buried in the House, never to emerge. Not so, says Goodlatte. "You shouldn't just use the past tense here, because this is an issue that's going to go on for a while," he said.

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