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Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013!

By Rich Stolz, Executive Director, One America & a PSARA member

Momentum is developing in Congress behind immigration reform in the new year. Coming out of the November elections, President Obama is now speaking with conviction and Republicans in the House and Senate seem willing to work toward an agreement. We’ve been though several rounds on this issue, but the opening in 2013 feels different.

The Obama administration anticipates heading into the new year with immigration reform as its first major initiative. They have projected an ambitious timetable: a bill through the Senate and, they hope, the House before the August recess. The timing of an immigration bill may depend on resolution of the troublesome deficit issue.

Administration officials say we can expect the White House to set forth its principles on comprehensive immigration reform early next year. The administration is already gathering feedback from stakeholders to shape what advocates hope will be a progressive-leaning proposal.

In addition, a bipartisan group of senators has begun to work on a bill. Democratic Senators Schumer of New York, Menendez of New Jersey, Durbin of Illinois and Bennett of Colorado are working with Republican Senators Graham of South Carolina and McCain of Arizona. This group has laid out a timetable for its own negotiations. They have already been meeting and expect to have a bill ready to introduce in February.

In the House, no official actions are being taken, but Speaker Boehner has recognized the need for reform both publicly and privately, and a bipartisan House group is beginning to discuss the outlines of a bill. House passage is expected to be a rough road, with many thorny issues to be worked out.

Our task in Washington State will be to work with the Democratic members of our delegation to develop the strongest possible bill. We’ll also need to put energy into winning Republican votes for the final legislation.

One America appreciates PSARA’s commitment to the Congressional campaign. Millions of undocumented immigrants in our country are forced to live in fear of separation from their families and enforced departure from the country they have made their home. Together, we’ll fight for just and humane immigration reform for these millions.

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