Featured Issue: 113th House Immigration Reform

When the Senate successfully passed S.744 on June 27th, all eyes turned to the House of Representatives. Unlike the Senate, in the House the majority party (currently the Republicans) hold almost complete control over the agenda, determining what bills get votes and when. So even though advocates and pundits alike believe that a majority exists in the House to pass comprehensive reform with a road to citizenship (with a coalition of Democrats and Republican votes), so far, the Republican majority in the House has resisted taking any major action. That's why special attention is focused on Republican leadership: Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

So what has happened in the House so far? In June, House Republicans voted four piecemeal bills out of the Judiciary Committee, all of which AILA opposed (see below for more details). Prior to that, the Homeland Security Committee managed to unanimously pass a bipartisan border security bill out of committee. On October 2nd, Democrats announced they were introducing H.R. 15, a comprehensive immigration reform bill, that would encompass the successful Senate bill without the border-surge package and including the House border security bill. (AILA Doc. No. 13100402.)

All that being said, movement in the House of Representatives is slow. Speaker Boehner has given little indication of what his next steps will be to pass reform in the House, and with budgetary battles looming large, immigration reform seems to have moved to the bottom of the agenda. However, advocates point to the increasing number of Republican House members in support of reform (with a road to legalization and citizenship) and the growing cries of the American public, as proof evident that reform is very much alive in the 113th Congress.

Five piecemeal bills in the House have passed out of committee:

H.R. 15 - Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Issue Papers and Talking Points

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Other House of Representatives Action

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 13072545.