Though I understand that there are political motivations behind the GOP's rather recent about-face in favor of meaningful comprehensive immigration reform, it's still noteworthy and encouraging to see this type of bipartisan partnership which I wholeheartedly believe will benefit our country.
There are at least three major pieces of immigration reform:
- Legalization of the 11+ million foreign nationals currently out of status in the United States,
- Creation of a guest worker program for future workers
- Reforming programs for highly skilled workers
What's encouraging this time around, unlike 2007, is that there seems to be agreement on the major points of immigration reform: that we can't call for deportation of all 11+ million, nor can we wait for some unknown date in the future for the border to be declared secure before people even get the chance to apply. The recent exhaustion of the 2014 fiscal year's H-1B cap underscores the need for reform in the highly skilled arena as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham quipped, "Seventy-thirty, we get there" today on Meet the Press.
The disagreements seem to center on when and how back fines should be paid, how many guest worker visas should be allowed (it seems while 200,000 per year was initially proposed, the current proposal is only 20,000 to increase to 75,000 in four years). These are details, which can only be rationally discussed if there is a general underlying understanding.
Will 2013 be the year? We hope so.
The HMA Law Firm would like to remind readers of things that can be done now to help prepare for reform if it passes. Don't be late. We learned first hand in the wake of Deferred Action (DACA) - it pays to be early. (Want to know why? Send us a note!)