The Senate Judiciary Committee announced that it will begin deliberations on the “Gang of Eight” bipartisan Immigration Bill starting next week (on Thursday, May 9). Does this mean that Immigration Reform is right around the corner? Not at all.
Here is a best-case scenario for Congressional action on Immigration Reform:
- The Senate Judiciary Committee amends the Bill and sends it to the full Senate;
- A bipartisan group in the House of Representatives unveils its draft bill;
- Senators and Representatives (both pro- and anti-immigration reform) submit Bills.
- The full Senate debates Immigration Reform and votes to approve a Senate Bill;
- The House Judiciary Committee considers individual bills on a piecemeal basis.
- The House of Representatives debates Immigration Reform and votes to approve several small Bills;
- The Senate and House appoint conferees to seek compromise between competing bills.
- The Senate and House “Conference Committee” continue their negotiations.
- The Senate and the House negotiations conclude, and the Final Bill is set before Congress;
- The Senate and House of Representatives pass the Bill;
- The President signs the Immigration Reform Bill into law.
October to December 2013
- Immigration Reform implementation begins.
Once again, this schedule is a best-case scenario. Congress may wish to move quickly on Immigration Reform, but with the both Democrats and Republicans divided on the size and scope of any such reform, chances are that this process will take most of 2013 or longer. Moreover, immigration opponents believe that the longer the debate on Immigration Reform, the greater the chances that their side will win.