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Can Immigration Reform Be Done Piecemeal?

As national attention moves away from the government shutdown and the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act, advocates for comprehensive immigration reform continue to push their agenda. For several days last month and into the month of December, a group of advocates conducted a hunger strike in a makeshift camp outside the White House. Meanwhile, both the President and Senator Marco Rubio who co-sponsored the Senate bill have recently remarked that such a comprehensive approach may not be able to survive in the House of Representatives which has yet to vote on an immigration bill.

Major features of the Senate bill now languishing in the House include:

  1. 13-year path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants
  2. Raising the caps determining the number of immigrants allowed annually under some visa categories
  3. Create a shorter timeline for citizenship for DREAMers, those who came here under a certain age at the behest of their parents and meet other requirements such as a specific level of education or military service provided they have no serious criminal offenses on their record
  4. Doubling of border control agents
  5. Completion of the 700-mile border fence  
  6. Mandatory e-verify requirements for many employers 

The comprehensive approach sought to contain elements that satisfied the business community who hopes to attract more high-skilled workers from abroad, immigrant advocacy groups supporting a path to citizenship, and those who seek stricter border security measures. A piecemeal approach envisions the opportunity for citizenship – or at least work-related residency – only once border security is achieved. This conflicts with the view of many Democrats that border security has been enhanced and it is untenable for so many undocumented workers to continue to live here in the shadows. Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce believes that comprehensive immigration reform would boost the economy while not taking away jobs from current American citizens. It appears unlikely all three broad groups would be willing to take a big leap towards reform unless it is truly comprehensive.

The attorneys of U.S. Immigration Law Group, LLP have the knowledge and experience to assist you in correctly navigating the complexities of immigration and citizenship in the United States. Contact U.S. Immigration Law Group at (714) 786-1166. Our offices are located at 1913 E. 17th Street, Suite 204, Santa Ana, California 92705.