Despite decisive passage of S. 744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, on June 27, 2013 by a 68-32 vote in the Senate, recent exhortations from former President George W. Bush to “recognize the benefits immigrants make to our country” and to “keep a benevolent spirit” in the reform debate, and a Congressional Budget Office report projecting a significant benefit  to the U.S. economy ($700 billion over 10 years) should the bill become  law, prospects for passage  have dimmed.  Following a closed-door session by House of Representatives Republicans on July 10, House Leader John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement (joined by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)), sounding  a distinct note of caution and wariness. 

A bi-partisan alternative to the Senate bill was reported to have been reviewed by House legislative counsel.  As reported in Politico, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth expects the bill to be released before the August recess.  In the meantime, four limited proposals addressing discreet parts of the “broken” immigration system (agricultural guest workers, E-Verify, enforcement of immigration laws by state and local law enforcement, and increasing skilled worker visa numbers) cleared the House Judiciary committee. 

While a number of these bills are popular with employers, notably absent from the House bills is a proposal for dealing with the estimated 11 million illegal aliens currently in the country.  Reform advocates remain hopeful that a comprehensive solution that can satisfy representatives on both sides of the aisle in both houses of Congress will be passed into law.

Report of the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of Management and Budget: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System