As an Arizona Deportation Attorney, Maria Jones has firsthand experience and knowledge about the pathway to citizenship and immigration reform.
The topic of immigration reform has had much controversy over the past few months as a reform bill passed within The Senate. As the bill moved to The House of Representatives, it has been unclear as to whether the bill has a chance to pass or not. While some hoped to see progress before the August recess, the comprehensive immigration package will have to wait until after September 9. However, this five week break will give House members a chance to hold town meetings and receive more feedback on the issue. This could be a huge advantage for immigration reform supporters because it will allow more time for House members to make a well thought out decision and therefore create a new pathway for immigration reform.
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PHOENIX — Despite the missed goals, uncertain timetable and at-times heated rhetoric in the Republican-led House of Representatives, immigration-reform supporters remain cautiously optimistic that a game plan is emerging that will have lawmakers voting on the legislation this year.
Action in the House is on hold until after Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 9. But the five-week break, during which representatives will hold town hall meetings and otherwise gauge the feelings of their constituents, could go a long way toward determining the legislation’s fate.
Immigration-rights activists this month are planning to press their case with House lawmakers. Business, religious, law-enforcement and labor groups already have been lobbying aggressively for reform. Opponents of immigration reform — which many critics call “amnesty” for law-breaking immigrants — also are expected to make their voices heard, but the House’s inaction so far has provided little to galvanize them.
The break comes as other developments offer renewed hope for supporters of immigration reform.
While House Republican leaders flatly rejected the comprehensive immigration package that the Senate passed June 27, making it seem as though immigration reform was destined to die a slow death,it appears likely that votes on a series of bills are possible in October and that a conference committee with the Senate could be completed in December or early next year, before midterm election-year politics paralyze Capitol Hill.
Hoping to avoid the broad pathway to citizenship included in the Senate-passed plan, many House Republicans are more open to legislation without a special path for most undocumented immigrants. They are more inclined tolimit citizenship to young undocumented immigrants, known as “dreamers,” and leave the majority of the 11 million who have no legal status without a certain path to citizenship. The idea would allow many to work toward citizenship through existing channels, such as having their children or employers sponsor them, which would be more difficult than allowing them to apply for citizenship on their own after they received permanent residency.
While many reform backers disagree with that concept, they say it at least would provide a starting point for House and Senate negotiations on bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
As the waiting continues to find out the fate for immigration reform, supporters remain hopeful for the future.
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