As the country waits for Congress to resolve the government funding and debt ceiling stalemate, immigration reform simmers in the background. This week, a group of Democrats introduced a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, H.R. 15, entitled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” This is not the much awaited work product of the secret bi-partisan Gang of 8 (which has now been disbanded), but rather an almost verbatim reproduction of the Senate passed CIR legislation, S. 744. The new House bill does include provisions from the McCaul-Thompson “Border Security Results Act” (H.R. 1417) reported out of the House Homeland Security Committee and passed this summer with bipartisan support. It also removes the Corker-Hoeven border security amendment, which seeks to add approximately 20,000 border patrol agents, more than 700 additional miles of border fencing, a mandatory E-Verify program nationwide, and an entry/exit tracking system for temporary visitors to the United States.
House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are working through the normal order and are drafting separate bills to address the future of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., as well as new temporary worker provisions for lesser skilled workers. We expect the Judiciary Committee to take up measures on immigration in the next few weeks. We also expect the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act” (H.R. 2278) and other border security measures to be brought to the House floor this year.