The Status of Immigration Reform in Congress

Last week, we highlighted some of the legislative bills currently pending in the House as a response to the Senate’s CIR bill S.744.  What progress has Congress (specifically the House of Representatives) made to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation?  Aside from having introduced a bevy of immigration-related bills, since April-June of this year, the House has not made much progress on immigration reform.  House Republicans, who currently make up a majority, are refusing to support the Senate’s CIR bill S.744.

Recently, the New York Times (and many other news outlets) reported that illegal immigration to the U.S. may be on the upswing, according to the latest polls from the Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends Project.  Though, Pew cautioned the results aren’t enough for a conclusive confirmation.

One would think that a potential upswing illegal immigration to the U.S. would be cause for the House to act swiftly on immigration reform.  In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, House Republicans have publicly proclaimed they are committed to immigration reform.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte confirmed at House members are working on new immigration legislation – four of them!

In the meantime, tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg, have actively spoken out in favor of immigration reform, and even visiting Washington D.C. to highlight the dire need for Congressional members to act quickly on immigration reform.

“THE COST OF DOING NOTHING”

The delay in passing immigration reform legislation isn’t just causing dismay in many communities, but also a loss of opportunities, revenue, and economic benefit to the U.S.  Buzzfeed is currently circulating the various impacts the cost of Congress doing nothing to advance immigration reform is having on the U.S., accompanied by funny videos.  The data is derived from the Immigration Policy Center’s recent report issued on Monday, September 23, 2013.

In that report, the Immigration Policy Center highlight various impacts of the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration policies have had in the past decade:

  • Significant increase in funds allocated for border patrol
  • Increase in the number of human deaths as a result of border crossings
  • Increase in the separation of U.S. born children from their immigrant parents
  • The economic cost of missed opportunities resulting from legalized immigrants’ abilities to command higher wages

The report echoes the earlier findings produced by the Congressional Budget Office on the Senate’s CIR bill, S.744, which we reported in detail earlier this past June.

Short of waiting for 2014 election efforts to truly motivate House politicians, or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s version of immigration reform, we’ll have to wait to see if the House makes good on its proclamations for immigration reform.

What are your predictions for immigration reform?  Do you think House members will come together and pass legislation this year?  Send us your comments below.