Immigration reform in the United States aims to change current immigration policies. The topic itself is subject to heavy debate and various proposals and legislation from those all along the political spectrum. At stake is the restructuring of how the United States governmentapproaches numerous contentious issues, including:
- Legal and illegal immigration
- National security
- Labor and the economy
- Poverty and crime
- North American Free Trade Agreement
- Fluctuations in the population and its diversity
- Effects of immigration on future elections and voting
Since these issues carry a tremendous amount of importance and weight in the current and future domestic and foreign affairs of the United States, the major parties in Congress, the Republicans and Democrats, are often at odds over the correct path to take to attain immigration reform. Immigration Reform bills can often pass one house of Congress only to face stiff opposition in the other. Such was the issue with the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.
As of May 25, 2006, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed immigration reform bills. The Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) on which May 25, 2006 while the House passed The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) on which December 16, 2005. Both bills vastly differ from each other in terms of content and law. The bill passed in the Senate encompasses a greater part of immigration benefits issues, while the bill passed in the House focused mainly on protection and security.
In order for any immigration reform bill to be made into law, a conference committee formed of both Senators and Representatives will convene to create one bill based on compromises. After one bill is drafted, both the Senate and the House will vote on it, if passed in both the Senate and the House, the bill will be sent to the President who can then either sign it into law or reject it. Currently there is no schedule set for the conference committee or vote date on the bill.Neither bill passed the conference committee and failed to become acts after the end of the 109th Congress in 2007.
For more information on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act please click on the following links:
Unlawful Employment of Aliens
Work Authorization and Legalization of Undocumented Aliens
Frequently Asked Questions
What You Can Do to Help