A Chance for Immigration Reform in 2014?
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
WASHINGTON, DC - Recent signals from the Republican conference in the U.S. House and Speaker John Boehner may indicate that an immigration bill is possible in the 2014.
As the 2014 mid-term elections draw near and the 2016 presidential election looms, Republicans are trying to figure out a way to win back the some of the Hispanic vote that they lost to the Democrats in 2008 and 2012.
House Republican Reform Principals
"We're going to outline our standards, principles of immigration reform and have a conversation with members," Boehner told a news conference after a party meeting near the U.S. Capitol this past Tuesday. Immigration reform is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the House Republican retreat this weekend on Maryland's Eastern Shore. No deadline has been established for the release of the principles.
Recently, some elements of the Republican Party have been calling for House action on immigration reform, especially business interests such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and some evangelical Christian groups.
Path to Citizenship
The most contentious issue is that of the status of those 11 million undocumented people now in the U.S. The Senate comprehensive bill passed in 2013, creates a path to citizenship for those currently in the country without documentation. For many Republicans, this is a non-starter.
But even that position seems to be moderating. Earlier in January, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Boehner-designated leader on immigration reform in the House, said in an interview with Spanish language Telemundo, "If we can have a way to get [immigration enforcement] up and operating, I see no reason why we can't also have an agreement that shows how people who are not lawfully here can be able to be lawfully here.”
The Republican plan is to be a series of separate bills that deal with various aspects of immigration reform rather than a large comprehensive bill. That way, the House can deal with specific issues that have a chance of garnering a majority of Republican votes and avoid some of the more contentious issues such as a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented.
June Vote Most Likely
If such a plan goes forward, the vote will likely come after the spring Congressional primaries, but before the fall campaigns kick into high gear. June is the most likely month for such a vote.
Republicans are more likely to be challenged from the right in a primary by another Republican for an immigration reform vote than in a general election by a Democrat. So getting past the primaries for Republicans is essential for an immigration vote.
Ag Groups Keep Up Lobbying Pressure
Agriculture groups that PLNA is involved with and PLNA’s national counterpart, AmericanHort are continuing to lobby members of Congress on the need for immigration reform. Visits are scheduled throughout February to keep the pressure on House Republicans in the Pennsylvania delegation.
So stay tuned.