Immigration Reform on the “backburner” according to the WSJ

however the article doesn’t exactly support the position clearly. Immigration reform appears to be in the same place as it was before as far as I can tell. The House is in control of its fate. A majority of Congresspeople support it. If it came up for a vote it would pass. That’s a big IF though.

WASHINGTON—Prospects for an immigration overhaul have dimmed over the summer congressional recess, as a newly crowded agenda damps what already was tepid interest among House leaders in taking up the issue.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said in July he hoped the House would consider immigration bills before turning to negotiations on raising the nation’s debt ceiling this fall. But as the House prepares to reconvene next week, GOP leaders have no plans to bring immigration bills to the floor, aides say.

Well they’re not back from their long vacation on the taxpayer dime yet so I think it’s too early to tell.

In a sign of diminished expectations, the House Judiciary Committee chairman said there is nothing wrong with having a debate that doesn’t end with an immigration bill being signed into law.

“We pass bills all the time that don’t get passed all the way through and signed into law, because we want to spell out to the American people what we think the right solutions to our problems are,” the chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), said in an interview. “I don’t believe immigration reform should be any different than that.”

Sounds like a lot of posturing and hooey. We’ll know more when they get back from vaction.

More here

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Immigration Reform Update

So the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed on their version of the immigration bill (200 amendments later):

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved far-reaching immigration legislation that gives a chance at citizenship to millions living in the country illegally.

The 13-5 vote clears the bill for a Senate debate expected to begin early next month.

However, the House run by right-wing nutjobs, is still an obstacle:

On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued a joint statement with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte confirming that the House will not accept the comprehensive immigration legislation that advanced by a 13-5 vote in the Senate, but will instead craft its own legislation to pass immigration reform.

On the one hand I’m all for the GOP committing suicide by allowing it’s virulently racist and xenophobic members control their legislative agenda, but on the other hand I’d like immigration relief for the undocumented. So I hope the politicians who want the GOP to survive a few more years can get a handle on the lunatics.

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Immigration reform hardly a done deal…

Speaker Boehner considers breaking up any immigration bill into smaller pieces.

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) looks likely to try to move immigration reform through the House in a few separate bills, rather than in one comprehensive piece of legislation, two sources have told The Huffington Post.

A piece-by-piece approach is favored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), whose committee is the point of origin in the House for any immigration bill. Goodlatte is expected to begin moving isolated pieces of legislation in the coming days.

Boehner wants to defer to Goodlatte, a source familiar with Boehner’s thinking said, largely out of respect for the widely felt animus among House Republicans against any attempt to pass a “comprehensive” immigration bill.

“Big comprehensive bills have become a challenge in this environment,” said the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck confirmed that the speaker wants to allow Goodlatte to drive the process, but cautioned that “no decisions have been made” as to how to proceed.

As fragile as the immigration effort is in the Senate, it faces an even more difficult path in the Republican-controlled House, home to many lawmakers who are either uncomfortable with or opposed to anything that smacks of “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

I can see the House passing border security and e-verify and balking on the substantive issues.

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Outline of immigration reform plan…

Crossposted from jrandolphlaw.com

Some good, some bad. All of it subject to change. It’s Washington of course.

Tons of wasted money on border security and “triggers” (they seem toothless though).

The bill would eliminate the diversity visa. The underlying intent here is likely to stem the flow of African immigrants to the US. Guessing many in DC want to preserve the racial status quo as long as possible and diversity isn’t well regarded on the right.

The elimination of the 4th preference category. So no USC petitions for siblings. It was a long path anyway and perhaps the new paths will be shorter in any event.

The bill would create the “Registered Provisional Immigrant Status”. This would benefit those here unlawfully but also people deported for being out of status if they have qualifying relatives.

An individual would be ineligible if they were convicted of various offenses (including 3 misdemeanors), as well as someone who voted unlawfully.

Derivative petitions will be allowed for spouses and children who are in the US.

Individuals with a removal order and those in proceedings will also be allowed to apply.

This status lasts for 10 years and then the individual may adjust to a permanent resident using the new “merit” based immigration process.

5 years after enactment the US will switch over to a merit based system that “awards points to individuals based on their education, employment, length of residence in the US and other considerations.”

There is more and we’ll have to wait for the details on a lot of this…

Find the full outline below.

immigration reform outline

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Sneak Peek at proposed immigration bill…

An advance meme received by NBC lays out the blueprint for the comprehensive immigration reform proposal.

Some key highlights:

The bill provides a path to citizenship for the nation’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants as long as they entered the country before December 31, 2011. Undocumented immigrants without serious criminal convictions have one year – though that may be extended – to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant Status (RPI). This would allow them to be in this country legally, work for any employer and travel outside of the United States. While RPI confers legal status, it does not make individuals eligible for public benefits, including healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. The costs to apply for RPI status are a $500 fine, assessed taxes and application fees.

After 10 years, a person with RPI status will be eligible for a green card provided they have worked regularly, paid taxes, learned English and civics, and paid a $1,000 penalty. After three years with a green card, they can apply for citizenship.

Dreamers can get their green cards in 5 years, and will be eligible for citizenship immediately after that. Under a new AgJOBS Act, undocumented farm workers who have been working in the U.S. would be eligible for an Agricultural Card, and if they pay taxes and a $400 fine they and their spouses and minor children can adjust to legal permanent resident status.

The bill addresses the issue of families who have been separated through deportation. Undocumented immigrants who had been deported for non-criminal reasons but who had been in the U.S. before the end of 2011 can reapply to re-enter and apply for RPI status, if they are the spouse of or parent to a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or a Dreamer eligible for the DREAM Act.

No security triggers. That’s good.

The bill eliminates the backlog for family and employment-based immigration, which for some amounted to more than a 20-year wait.

But a big shift is the transition from a family-based unification system to a merit-based immigration system. For example, 18 months after the legislation is enacted, a legal resident or citizen can no longer sponsor adult siblings. The new bill would restrict “immediate relative” to children and spouses of those allowed to become lawful permanent residents.

These changes to the H1B program aren’t good. Advertising and paying more than the prevailing wage for a position? Silly.

The bill calls for increasing the skilled worker H-1B visas from 65,000 to 110,000 and the number may increase to 180,000 depending on labor demands and the unemployment rate. To ensure that increased skilled immigrants do not displace American workers, the bill requires that employers pay higher wages to H-1B workers and also requires that jobs first be advertised before hiring H-1B workers. It also allows these skilled immigrant workers to change jobs.

To ensure the country has enough low-skilled workers, the bill creates a new type of visa, the W-visa. The bill calls for a formation of an independent agency, the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, to decide the annual changes in the visa caps depending on market and labor conditions.

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