Before leaving for August recess, Republican members of the House received this document from the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). According to Rep. Goodlatte, the document was was put together to help members communicate to their constituents “the importance of immigration reform and the House Republican plan to produce solutions that actually fix the problems that plague our immigration system.” The document summarizes the individual immigration bills the House Judiciary has passed this session, as well as a list of concerns about the Senate comprehensive bill. (For those of you involved in adult education or English/Civics instruction, while not mentioned specifically, I think it is safe to say you are probably considered part of the “slush fund” mentioned in “Concern #10.”)
According to some sources, there hasn’t been a lot of activity on either side of the immigration debate during the break, so how I don’t how important these talking points have turned out to be, but I thought the document was interesting to read.
If you are looking for a less partisan comparison between the Senate comprehensive bill and what the House has produced so far, the Migration Policy Institute has published a helpful side-by-side comparison.
I’m long past my own self-imposed deadline for posting an update on immigration reform from an adult education perspective—which I’ll try to do this week—but in the meantime I thought I’d pass these documents along.
From an article in The Hill this past Wednesday:
Democrats have said Republicans for the last two years have failed to bring up any major jobs bills, which they generally define as bills that increase spending to fund construction projects.
In contrast, Republicans have said the House has passed dozens of jobs bills, which they generally define as bills that remove federal regulation to make it easier for companies to do business and expand. (my emphasis)
An article in yesterday’s New York Times makes the important point that while the plan to provide a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants received more attention, a much bigger chunk of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill is concerned with reforming legal immigration—which includes not only measures to clear the current green card backlog, but also to shift the immigration system to more of a merit-based system focused more on education and job skills.
But here again, the House is having none of that:
None of several smaller measures recently approved by House committees deal with fixing the visa system, and a bipartisan House bill similar to the Senate’s has stalled. For many House conservatives, the increase in legal immigration under the Senate plan is nearly as objectionable as the promise of citizenship for immigrants here illegally. (my emphasis)
According to The Hill, the Senate will vote Monday on ending debate on an amendment offered Sen. Leahy (D-VT) to the Senate immigration bill that bundles together a border security deal worked out by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) with some other changes. I took a quick look at the amendment this morning (and you can too—here is the text), and, not surprisingly, the changes proposed by Sen. Rubio to the English requirement in the bill—or any of the other English language amendments offered so far—did not make it into this “omnibus”amendment.
That doesn’t mean that it still might not be offered, (I have no idea right now) but now that a border security deal has been struck, there is a big push to get this bill passed without further controversy by the end of the week, just before Senators leave for the July 4th recess.
Interestingly, the Corker-Hoeven deal isn’t just about border security: it includes a new Title, Title V, that creates a $1.5 billion “Jobs for Youth” program proposed by Sen. Sanders (I-VT). (See page 1183.)
UPDATE 06/24/13: Noah Bierman, in a story in today’s Boston Globe, confirms that the Rubio amendment is dead for now, but notes that a similar proposal will surely re-emerge at some point in the House:
Rubio’s proposal to require an English-language proficiency test earlier in the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants suffered a setback Friday, after Senate leaders did not include it in an agreement on another amendment to beef up border security.
But the issue of mandatory English testing and classes is expected to be raised again in the House, where the Republican majority has been chillier to an immigration overhaul that would allow a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.