AILA Doc No. 06052660 | Dated May 25, 2006
Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
House Remains Obstacle to Enactment
WASHINGTON DC, MAY 25 - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauded the action of a bipartisan coalition of Senators who today voted 62 to 36 to pass a compromise version of comprehensive immigration reform. "This historic action by the Senate creates the possibility that our 20th century immigration laws may finally be reformed to meet the needs of a 21st century America", stated Deborah Notkin, president of the Association.
The path ahead to enact a bill that can be signed into law is fraught with dangers, as the Senate must now negotiate with the House to achieve a final "conference" bill that both bodies can pass and send to the President. While President Bush has stated unequivocally that he favors a comprehensive approach, House leaders remain stuck in a harsh "enforcement only" mode, having passed the onerous Sensenbrenner bill, H.R. 4437 last December. Recent statements by House leadership adamantly opposing the earned legalization and temporary workers programs contained in the Senate bill illustrate the wide divide that will have to be bridged if final legislation is to be enacted.
"The Senate bill is not perfect", Notkin continued. "It still contains some overly-harsh enforcement provisions and strips important due process protections. We will continue to push to correct these provisions as the bill moves into conference negotiations. But the bill is a welcome and needed step forward in pointing the way towards a workable, fair, functioning immigration system that rewards work, reunites families, protects refugees, and provides smart border enforcement that facilitates trade while ensuring security."
The Senate bill contains the following important provisions, in addition to many measures that address border and interior enforcement and create a new employment verification system:
Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members with continuing legal education, information, and professional services. AILA advocates before Congress and the Administration and provides liaison with the DHS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06052660.