Comprehensive Immigration Bill Hoping to Reignite Conversation on Reform

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On October 2, 2013, House Democrats introduced H.R. 15, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”

H.R. 15 is a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled on Senate bill S.744, the bill that passed the full Senate in June, 2013, with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32, but replaces the controversial "border-surge" amendment with the McCaul bipartisan border security bill that passed unanimously out of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The plan laid out by the House Democrats includes most of the immigration bill passed by the Senate in July, 2013. It would allow the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants to get a temporary legal status within six months and to apply for U.S. citizenship within 13 years if they pass a criminal background check, pay fines and learn English. The bill would also revamp the legal immigration system to allow more high-tech and lower-skilled immigrants to enter the country each year.

As of October 4, 2013, the bill had 152 co-sponsors, all Democrats. But it's uncertain whether it will ever be up for debate on the House floor, since Republican House Speaker John Boehner is the one who would need to schedule a vote on the matter – something he has not done yet. The bill is unlikely to pass, as many House Republicans are disinclined to address the controversial, yet central, issue of whether to confer U.S. Citizenship to those legalized. However, the introduction of this bill may pressure Republicans who have been working on smaller-scale proposals to act on immigration.

 


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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