On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 the Gang of Eight, comprised of four Democratic and four Republican members of Congress, introduced an eight hundred page Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) Bill. This bill has just been reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee today on April 22, and given the reactions by the media, politicians, and interest groups, this bill may experience both opposition, as well as support, before reaching the President’s desk to be passed into law. Now that almost a week has passed since the bill’s introduction, our office has had a chance to analyze some of the reactions.
Notably, pro-immigration public interest groups, like Asian Law Caucus, acknowledged the progress the bill made but also criticized the bill’s flaws and shortcomings. Specifically, Asian Law Caucus criticized the ten year long wait undocumented immigrants to obtain a green card as being too long. They also criticized the “2011 cut-off date”; only undocumented immigrants who arrived before 2011 are eligible before embarking on their path to citizenship.
Politicians from both campuses also weighed in their criticisms. The left finds the bill overly punitive in its fines and wait times. Democrats also find the lack of federal benefits for formerly undocumented immigrants as a concern.
Politicians from the Republican camp find the bill too much of an amnesty measure. There are also concerns that this bill will open the floodgates to illegal immigration that could negatively impact American wages.
The Bill has been supported despite the criticisms. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has called the bill a “good start” and “an intelligent architecture on which we can build a modern, commonsense immigration system for our country.” The Washington Post also had an editorial on how the bill is “worthy of support,” citing all of the positive steps towards helping undocumented and low wage immigrants while also noting the deal being the result of many compromises.
The bill itself is massive and not perfect. There is both opposition and support for this bill from all parts of the political spectrum. It is easy to imagine that the bill that was introduced last Tuesday may not be the same bill that President Obama signs into law, should it make it that far. Our office will stay up to date on these CIR developments, and you should contact us if you have any questions about the proposed changes to the immigration system or for any of your immigration questions.
Stay tuned for upcoming articles on the CIR bill, including the creation of new visas, changes to the H1-B system, and other immigration overhauls.