Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 20, 2014 — President Obama and congressional Republicans are now offering nuanced views on immigration issues for 2014.
Key developments in January suggest that immigration reform may finally be close to realization. The first month of the year has already seen a presidential interview and a new set of principles on immigration promulgated by the House Republican caucus. Hope for an enacted compromise seems stronger than ever before as both sides of the debate take steps toward each other’s positions.
In the wake of his State of the Union address, President Obama granted an interview to CNN. In it, he seemed to stray from a hitherto rock-solid Democratic Party plank when Jake Trapper asked whether he would veto a bill that contains “legal status for the millions of undocumented workers who are in this country, but not citizenship.”
The president’s surprising answer: “Well, you know, I’m not going to prejudge what gets to my desk.”
That statement was seemingly at odds with the president’s comments to a labor group one year prior: “For comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship.”
Interestingly enough, just one day prior to the president’s interview, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, released a set of principles for his caucus on immigration that would support legal status for millions of people who reside in the United States unlawfully to pay back taxes and fines. The speaker reiterated his party’s opposition to any “special pathway to citizenship,” but apparently a pathway to “legal status” may permit the Republican caucus to offer a nuanced, politically acceptable position.
In the meantime, many advocates for immigration reform remain frustrated by the glacial pace of immigration reform. Its uncertainties have helped to sustain a serious jam in legal immigration.
“Unfortunately, because immigration reform includes many provisions pertaining to legal immigration vehicles like H-1B visas, the whole process is held up while the politics play out,” says Annie Banerjee, a prominent Houston attorney who specializes in immigration law. “Many people with aspirations for studying or working in the United States through traditional, legal means may be impacted while the key players sort their differences out.”
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