Immigration UpdateMarch 27, 2013
Closed-door negotiations continue among the bipartisan Gang of Eight in the Senate, and there is reason to believe that they may be nearing an agreement. Similar negotiations are occurring in the House, although in a much less public way. The House group may release its plan in April.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) received a lot of attention for a speech he gave at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In that speech, he outlined a plan where those who came [to the U.S.] illegally become legal through a probationary period.
“My plan will not impose a national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, forcing businesses to become policemen,” Paul said.
The administration has not been very involved in either the Senate or House negotiations although the President has urged Congress to finish its work on immigration reform quickly. The administration is developing its own plan which it may or may not release. Parts of the plan have been leaked, click here for details.
Increasing the visa quotas for skilled workers has broad bipartisan support. This may take the form of increasing the H-1B temporary visa quota or increasing the number of green cards made available to skilled immigrants. Increasing the number of temporary visas for less skilled workers (or a guest worker program) has broad support but resistance from labor unions may cause difficulties. Some sort of mandatory E-Verify system is highly likely to be a part of any comprehensive deal but it may be modified in constructive ways compared to the existing system.