After Senate passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, the House is taking a more piecemeal approach to immigration reform. The Judiciary Committee has marked up four bills dealing with piecemeal aspects of the country’s immigration system. One (H.R. 1773) would create a new guest worker program for agricultural workers. Another (H.R. 2278) grants state and local officials more authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Also approved by the panel is a bill (H.R. 1772) to mandate an electronic workplace verification system known as E-Verify and another bill (H.R. 2131) to give more visas to foreign high-tech graduates of American universities.
The Homeland Security Committee, meanwhile, has marked up a border security bill (H.R. 1417) that would require the Homeland Security Department to put in place a plan to gain “operational control” of the borders. Thus far, none of the House bills has addressed citizenship, although there is talk of a bill that would create a path to citizenship for children. The Senate bill creates a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented people who are in the country and strengthens border security.