Summer and Comprehensive Immigration Reform: The Heat is On

Where did summer go? I ask myself that question each year as I prepare to turn the calendar to August. Now that "back to school" is becoming a reality for my household, I am adjusting my work and life schedule accordingly. Given the slow pace of comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, I would judge that the individual members of Congress are experiencing the same predicament as they head back home for their August recess.

What has happened since the Senate passed S.744 (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act) last June? Well, not very much. The House of Representatives is considering five piecemeal bills that could become the basis for a compromise bill with S.744, but none addresses the controversial subject of legalization and citizenship for the estimated 11 million living unlawfully in the United States. House Republicans remain deeply divided over the issue of legalization. Some oppose creating a new legal category for those without status, while others, notably including House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would support legalization using existing means, such as sponsorship by a family relative or an employer. Democrats will not accept the former approach and criticize the latter approach as not going far enough.

As any good lawyer will tell you, the golden rule of effective dispute resolution is to "keep the parties talking." No one knows that better than Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is proving to be a key Republican go-between on the subject of comprehensive immigration reform. And according to a recent New York Times article, the GOP will be lobbying individual members of Congress heavily this month to pass an immigration overhaul.

Everybody's talking about the difficult issues -- albeit at varying levels of sophistication, as evidenced by Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) recent distasteful comments concerning the anatomical traits of certain immigrants -- which is why I am growing increasingly confident that the political logjam in Washington will soon be broken and comprehensive immigration reform will become reality.

Timothy D. Widman is a San Jose Immigration Attorney and the owner of the Law Office of Timothy D. Widman.

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