When a bipartisan reform bill cometh, immigration reform may get on a roll

Immigration reform may be just around the corner.

Word from the Hill indicates politicians are actually working on something relating to immigration reform. Are they getting along while doing it? Not according to the media, or those who are close to the situation but not allowed to comment, because they don’t have the authority. Notice that they are commenting anyway. In a nutshell, a bipartisan group in the House is making noise that they are close to wrapping up work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, a bill that would include a path to citizenship for the close to 13 million illegal people living in the U.S.

The fly in the ointment is what to do or how to handle temporary laborers that arrive to do seasonal work in the fields. While no one is specifically explaining what the issue is relating to temporary workers, many aides and media speculation has it that a finished product is very close. Consider this, though. The House is working on a bill and the Senate is working on a broad immigration bill. What are the chances bipartisan agreement will continue when each faction has their own version of a bill? If the party’s track records are any indication, it might be touch and go, at which point, immigration reform may end up as wallpaper once again.

Nonetheless, those watching the process of give, take, haggle and revise are relatively confident a deal will be reached. At this point, it’s often in the best interests of groups that are holding their breath for immigration reform to become reality, to remain silent on their hopes and just wait. Too many things can get in the way of a deal.

The Senate indicates they would like to introduce their bill in April, for debate in either June or July. If all goes well, and that is a big “if,” Senate debate would deal with it in June or July. The House hopes to pass their version of a bill sometime this year. There are a lot of ifs, maybes, and hopes in this mixture. However, the good thing is that the parties are mostly getting their acts together to do something about immigration reform.

This is not a topic that too many people or politicians agree on, and given the contentious nature of immigration reform, there is a huge chance the proposals on either side of the House could go off the rails. Of course what started the process is Obama’s stunning election win. It made Republicans sit up and take notice that their hard-nosed attitude about immigration, securing the border and sourcing skilled workers was archaic, and punitive, not to mention walking a thin line when it came to violating human rights.

One more possible hold-up to immigration reform is the split personality syndrome many Republicans still hold on to when it comes to giving illegal aliens that live in the U.S. already a path to citizenship (despite the fact they are already citizens in all the ways that count, like paying taxes). They are reluctant to grant citizenship, as they feel it would reward them for breaking the law and trigger a new wave of illegal residents. Hold on for the ride that might become a rollercoaster this year.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinfox.com/.

,