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It’s been eight months since the Democrat-led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation and Republicans in the House of Representatives responded with the promise of a series of bills that would accomplish much of the same. The summer and fall of 2013 passed with no further movement. Interest sparked once again in January, after President Barack Obama listed immigration reform as a top priority in his State of the Union address and the House Republican leadership released a set of reform “principles” that included border security, worksite enforcement and mandatory electronic employment verification.
“This document gave us hope that the Republicans were going to be able to have a dialogue with the Democrats and work toward an immigration reform bill this year,” said Rebecca Peters, director and counsel for legislative affairs at the Council for Global Immigration, speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2014 Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The Council is a SHRM affiliate.
Since then, the tiptoeing between House Republicans and the Obama administration has stalled as each camp has taken up intractable positions. “We find ourselves in a very uncertain time right now as to the prospects for immigration reform this year,” Peters said. She left a glimmer of hope for movement on the issue—after Republican primaries have finished this summer or after the November midterm elections. “This is actually a window we should take seriously, because historically, 70 percent of immigration laws in the last 50 years have passed during lame-duck sessions.”
SHRM and the Council for Global Immigration are at the center of discussions on immigration reform proposals that are critical to U.S. employers, said Peters.
The organizations want to ensure that any final legislation includes the following:
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