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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Deal Appears to Have Been Reached by House Gang of Eight

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There have been multiple news reports in multiple well-regarded publications painting different pictures on the state of play with the House negotiators on a comprehensive reform bill. But a picture is starting to emerge.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday "Bipartisan House Group Reaches Broad Immigration Deal." The report indicates that most of the provisions for a deal have been worked out except some details on guest workers and health care for immigrants. But they also indicated that if they couldn't work out a deal, Republicans might introduce a bill without the Democrats. Also, several media outlets reported that Speaker Boehner is voicing concerns that the House negotiators have not yet finished a bill. And the House Judiciary Committee appears to be moving forward with its own plan to consider immigration reform in multiple bills rather than a single bill.

The New York Times published a report yesterday that says that the health care benefits question was resolved though how remains unclear. The Times also reported on the issue of W guest workers. Democratic negotiators wanted to use the Senate deal, but Republicans thought the deal favored unions too much. The two sides, according to the Times, will offer competing guest worker plans and allow House members to decide which version makes it. However, it is still possible a negotiated deal can be reached on this issue as well.

According to The Hill,

"We have an agreement in principle," Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said as
he and five other members of the group emerged from a two-hour meeting
late Thursday afternoon.

Democrats confirmed the deal, and lawmakers said they would meet again
next week to put the finishing touches on the legislative text.

The Hill reports that the path to citizenship in the House version would be 15 years compared to 13 in the Senate bill. Representative Carter also indicated he hoped a bill would be introduced in the first week of June.

So it appears that the HG8 is going in to drafting mode on their bill and will have something ready to show the world in about two to three weeks which should be the time the Senate begins debating on the floor whatever is approved the Judiciary Committee. So far so good as far as the goal of having a bill by the August recess.

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  1. Concerned immigrant's Avatar
    Greg, with the current scenario of the House wanting separate bills etc, what would you think are the chances of a meaningful immigration overhaul this year?
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I think it will depend on how overreaching the Republicans decide to be. I think they can pass a bill, but if it is so far off from the Senate bill that compromise is impossible, it won't go anywhere. But I'm still optimistic we'll see something in the realm of reasonable. We shall see.
  3. Aj's Avatar
    Apart from the house bills, there's also news that Senate Democrat supporters are now opposing CIR due to concerns over visa programs.

    Perhaps they can drop the temporary visa programs and offer conditional permanent visas like the EB5 does, or limit visa program usage to non-union employers only.
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