Conservative House Members to Present Their Own Immigration Reforms

Washington, D.C. – In an attempt to weigh into the immigration reform debate, House members in Congress have announced they will introduce a set of piecemeal laws to overhaul the country’s immigration system, but they aren’t in hurry and said they would take their time drafting the legislation.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R.-VA) said members of the House have been working on immigration reform for a long time, but was reluctant to say they would introduce their reform package to Congress before the end of the year.

“This process can be long, but it allows every representative and senator to have their constituents’ voices heard,” Goodlatte said according to the New York Times, “And by taking a fine-toothed comb through each of the individual issues within the larger immigration debate, it will help us get a better bill that will benefit Americans and provide a workable immigration system.”

Goodlatte said House members will tackle issues such as agricultural visa reform and strengthening employer verification system first. He however has not indicated whether the House proposals will allow a pathway to citizenship for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. It’s likely that the Republican controlled House will shy away from a path to citizenship since in their minds it equates to amnesty.

The move by the House is unnerving to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who have introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill which is currently being debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee. They fear that the House move will derail the Senate bill which thus far has bipartisan support.

Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain believe the immigration bill has majority support in the Senate and will garner enough Conservative votes to pass; this may in turn put pressure on the House to take a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Sen. Schumer was also critical of tackling reform though a set of individual laws.

“What we have found is, ironically, it may be a little counterintuitive, that the best way to pass immigration legislation is actually a comprehensive bill, because that can achieve more balance and everybody can get much but not all of what they want,” Mr. Schumer said, the Washington Post reported. “And so I think the idea of doing separate bills is just not going to work.”

Sen. Schumer pointed out that whenever lawmakers have proposed small immigration bills for issues such as high-skilled visas, special interest groups and lawmakers demand that other issues are dealt with at the same time.

The 844 page immigration bill currently being debated will strengthen border security and offer a pathway to citizenship for many immigrants. The bill also increases the number temporary visas granted to low and highly-skilled workers.

Since the House has begun to weigh in on the immigration reform debate it’s likely that it passing the Sanate’s legislation will take much longer than President Obama and the Senate had hoped and could kill the bill altogether.