Washington Week: Focus on US Immigration Reform

July 07,2013

WASHINGTON — Immigration reform remains in Washington’s political spotlight this week. Attention will be focused on whether and how the House of Representatives proceeds on an overhaul of federal immigration laws.

Congress returns to work after a weeklong recess. Many legislators heard passionate and pointed words in their home districts on immigration reform.

“We are here today as a coalition, as a group to put the pressure where the fight will be: on the House [of Representatives]," said immigration reform protester Richard McDaniel.

Last month, the Democratically-controlled Senate passed a bill that would boost U.S border security, streamline the legal immigration process, and provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers. Action in the Republican-controlled House is far from assured.

Represenative Bob Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary committee, which oversees immigration matters. "I do not think a special pathway to citizenship should be provided at all," he said.

Instead, many Republicans want to focus on border security first and foremost. But an enforcement-only approach that fails to address the legal status of the undocumented is unacceptable to many Democrats, including President Barack Obama.

Only if both houses of Congress pass an identical version of immigration reform would the bill go to the White House for Mr. Obama’s signature.

House Speaker John Boehner has given no indication a vote will be held.