AILA Fears Immigration Overhaul Likely to Remain Stalled in 2011

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

George Tzamaras

With neither party commanding a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, immigration bills of any scope will likely remain mired in gridlock.

WASHINGTON, DC – The results of last night’s mid-term elections lead the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to fear that prospects for broad immigration legislation in the 112th Congress will remain stalled, with new House leadership expected to press for increased border security and intensive enforcement actions.

“I hope the new House majority will seize the opportunity to do the right thing and reach across the aisle for the good of the country,” said David Leopold, President of AILA. “What we cannot afford is continued gridlock and political posturing in preparation for 2012. We can all agree to disagree on health care, the stimulus, the war in Afghanistan, etc. But when it comes to the need to fix our dysfunctional immigration system—the nonpartisan issue that unites both political parties—it will be necessary to move beyond the election season rhetoric and find common purpose.

With neither party commanding a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, immigration bills of any scope seem destined for gridlock. The environment of fierce partisanship is also likely to negate any effort for providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants or for addressing the country’s future workforce needs. GOP leaders in the House are expected to name Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Steve King, R-Iowa, head of the Immigration Subcommittee. Both are expected to press for legislation that puts even more money into border enforcement, though getting such legislation.

Leopold added, “The voters spoke loud and clear yesterday. This election was about the economy; about jobs in the midst of a jobless recovery. But now it is time to set aside partisanship for the good of the country. And that includes working in a bipartisan way to fashion an immigration policy that will:

  • Attract the best and the brightest to our universities, research institutions and industries;
  • Create a system for skilled and unskilled workers that promotes our economy and enables employers to grow their businesses;
  • Legalize 11 million unauthorized immigrants whose full participation in the U.S. workforce will increase the wages and working conditions of all Americans by adding $1.7 trillion to the gross domestic product over the next 10 years, add $5 billion in consumer spending and create nearly a million jobs; and, of course,
  • Zealously guard due process and the rule of law. AILA will continue to work with all members of congress to craft a bill that will once and for all fix this nation’s broken immigration system and help spur the country back to economic recovery.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 10110311.