Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Tougher Road in the U.S. House
Reforming our country’s immigration system has been one of the more ambitious goals Congress has been tackling this year. Last month, the U.S. Senate took a big step forward by approving that chamber’s comprehensive immigration legislation with bipartisan support. But particularly as the debate moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, there is still a long way to go – and considerable disagreement over certain key provisions – before reforms become law.
Notably, the Senate bill would:
- Provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 8-11 million undocumented immigrants already living in this country;
- Dedicate funds to tighten border security, as well as authorize additional border patrol agents;
- Increase the number of available visas for both high- and low-skilled workers.
Significantly, when it comes to tax-related policies, the bill that was passed avoided a slew of proposed amendments that would have made immigration reform unfeasible, unfair, and unworkable, for both the federal government that administers it and the hardworking immigrant families the bill is intended to help. Most of these proposed amendments sought to bar immigrants from receiving low-income tax credits (the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit), or deny them access to health care, even once they had achieved legal residency in the U.S. NCTC played a role, along with many of our advocacy partners, in ensuring these impractical and unfair amendments stayed off the bill.
The U.S. House is currently working on its own version of the immigration-reform bill, although it is unclear to what extent it will mirror or differ from the Senate-approved version. There has been much disagreement in that chamber recently over the “pathway to citizenship” tenet, as included in the Senate bill. NCTC will continue to keep an eye on any proposals, to try to ensure they represent a fair and workable solution for immigrant families.
Help us make sure that the House proposal is fair and workable by contacting your member of Congress – the U.S. Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Give your representative the message that immigration reform should follow the same principles set forth in the Senate proposal.