Since the beginning of the year, the air has been buzzing with prospects of comprehensive immigration reform. Remember, there are no changes in the law yet, but things seem to be moving along in Congress, at least on the Senate side. Here is the latest:
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Senate immigration reform bill. Congress is in recess this coming week (week of Memorial Day), but we expect the bill to be debated on the Senate floor starting the first week of June. During that time, the Senators will discuss the bill and have the opportunity to offer amendments to change the bill. It is expected that the Senate may vote on the bill by the end of June.
Sounds great, right? This is a step in the right direction, but remember, both the House and the Senate must approve a bill before it goes to the President for signature. On the House side, a bill could be introduced in early June, but it’s possible work on bill would not start until July. Then the House bill may be passed at the end of July at the earliest. It’s possible the House would not pass a bill until September, after the August recess.
Once both the Senate and the House have passed immigration bills, the game is not over! Then the bills would go to “conference” which means the Senate and House would work together (ideally!) to resolve differences between the two bills. Then, both Chambers (the Senate and House) must vote on the “resolved” bill before it is sent to the President for signature.
As you can see, there are a number of steps required for a bill to become law, and while the excitement is building, we’re really just at the beginning of the process. There are still a lot of unknowns, including whether a bill will be passed at all, when it will be passed, and what the specific provisions will be. Nonetheless, we continue to hope for positive changes coming soon to the immigration laws! If you like to plan ahead, click here for a list of steps to take to prepare for immigration reform, whether you are currently documented or not.