A comprehensive immigration reform bill: Where Congress stands

Immigration reform has been a "hot button", polarizing issue in Congress for months now. President Obama called for the passage of an immigration bill by August earlier in the year, but now it seems clear that the August deadline is going to come and go without Congressional approval of a comprehensive immigration bill. If you have family immigration issues, the ongoing partisan debate is of particular importance.

Pathway to citizenship deemed essential by supporters

A comprehensive immigration reform bill has already been passed by the Senate in the form of Bill S744. Included in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is a controversial pathway to citizenship for the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S.

However, in order to become law, the immigration overhaul must also pass muster in the House of Representatives, and there, unfortunately, is where it seems to be stalled. In the House, the GOP maintains a majority, and a number of Republican Representatives have vociferously objected to any form of pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens.

In light of this, the President and leaders in Congress have begun to voice concern over the stalled status of immigration reform in the House. Some have even opined that comprehensive immigration reform will simply not happen now. Others, on the other hand, remain hopeful and look to the approaching August recess as more of an opportunity for those who champion immigration to shore up more support and regain momentum before the end of the year.

During the August recess, Representatives traditionally return to their districts, turning an ear toward their constituents. Despite ongoing opposition among the conservative majority in the House, polls consistently indicate that the public is increasingly clamoring for legislative progress aimed at fixing a broken immigration system that is seen by many as unwieldy, unfair, and impractical given the reality of the situation. Public opinion, combined with promised efforts by immigration reform supporters to get people out during the August recess and put a face on the issue, could serve to change the minds of many obstinate Representatives before they return to the House chambers later this summer.

For his part, President Obama has vowed to veto any proposed overhaul that does not include a pathway to citizenship, an aspect of reform that he deems essential and indispensable to making true progress on the issue of immigration.

Uncertain whether August recess will lead to Congressional compromise

Will more U.S. Representatives come back from the August recess ready to embrace immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship? Only time will tell.

During this time of unprecedented debate and discourse concerning immigration issues, the future is far from certain. If you are personally dealing with immigration issues, or if a family member is facing immigration issues, an immigration attorney is an excellent resource to help you separate myths and proposals from true laws and regulations. Should a new law pass, it is obviously important that you receive accurate advice regarding eligibility; on the other hand, even should nothing pass, the law is complicated enough as it is, and some individuals may not necessarily need a comprehensive overhaul to address their specific situation.