Half the battle

ON Thursday (June 27), the US Senate made a historic move — passing a comprehensive immigration bill through a 68-32 vote and giving hope to 11 million undocumented immigrants, who would finally be able to attain legal status and a 13-year path to citizenship.
The bill also promises to fortify security in the US-Mexico border, devoting $46 billion for border security improvements, which covers beefing up of border patrol and the completion of the 700-mile fencing.
“Today, the Senate did its job. It’s now up to the House to do the same. As this process moves forward, I urge everyone who cares about this issue to keep a watchful eye. Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop common-sense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen,” said Pres. Obama in a statement, while he traveled in Africa.
According to the Associated Press,”No one would be able to get a permanent resident green card until those border enhancements and others were in place.”
“The bill also makes it mandatory for employers to check their workers’ legal status, sets up new visa programs to allow workers into the country and establishes new tracking systems at seaports and airports to keep better tabs on people entering and leaving the country.”
“Other provisions would expand the number of visas available for highly skilled workers relied upon by the technology industry. A separate program would be established for lower-skilled workers, and farm workers would be admitted under a temporary program. In addition, the system of legal immigration that has been in effect for decades would be changed, making family ties less of a factor and elevating the importance of education, job skills and relative youth,” AP further reported.
These were provisions added to the bill at the last minute, in order to entice Republican support. The bill would not have passed without the addendum.
However, the legislation’s future in the House remains to be seen.
On the separate legislation to be crafted by the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner said: “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill. It’ll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people.”
Boehner did not offer any details on how the House’s version of the immigration bill could be both bipartisan, “given that most of the bills that have moved through the House Judiciary Committee recently did so on party line votes over the protests of Democrats. None envisions legal status for immigrants now in the country illegally,” said AP.
Boehner also did not make any remarks about the possibility of supporting a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but said that securing the border was a priority.
California Rep. and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also favors a bipartisan approach. She notes that Democratic principles for immigration encompass “securing our borders, protecting our workers, uniting families, a path to legalization and now citizenship for those without legal status,” reported AP.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) surmises that the House may be compelled to pass the Senate immigration bill if they fail to find any other effective options, coupled with public pressure to act.
According to AP, “one option could be to bring up one or more of four narrowly focused immigration bills approved by the Judiciary Committee this week and last, hoping to pass it and use it as a vehicle for House members to enter into negotiations with senators on a merged bill in the fall or winter.”
While Houses of Congress and political parties are still divided on this piece of legislation, both sides raise valid points on the possible repercussions, advantages and disadvantages of the Senate immigration bill.
Hopefully this rhetoric would lead to progressive negotiations between proponents and opponents of the bill, instead of serving as a drawback — further delaying the process of fixing the country’s broken immigration system.

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