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Congress prepares for immigration reform struggles

The new Congress is in session. In addition to addressing pressing financial matters and gun control concerns, one of this session's top priorities is formulating a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

Recently, we wrote about one family-based immigration initiative that will now allow for some family members of certain visa holders to arrive in the United States sooner and to stay longer. But this measure is just one of many that certain Congressional members hope to pass in the coming year.

Media outlets are reporting that members of both parties are simultaneously calling for bipartisan cooperation on immigration reform and preparing for battle largely along party lines. Though many remain optimistic that significant immigration reform measures will be passed this year, no one quite knows what this particular Congress will be capable of.

In moves that signal seriousness of purpose, both Republicans and Democrats have installed members particularly concerned with immigration reform on committees critical to passage of any reform package. For example, two Republicans known for being immigration hawks are now chairing both the House Judiciary Committee and the relevant subcommittee that would have jurisdiction over drafting immigration legislation.

Similarly, a high-profile Democrat has moved from a coveted seat on the Financial Services Committee to be of service in a seat that would allow him to help guide immigration reform through the chambers.

It is not yet clear what immigration-related measures will be debated and passed in 2013. What is becoming apparent, however, is that this Congress seems serious about digging into the idea of comprehensive immigration reform and its efforts will undoubtedly affect millions of people.

Source: NPR, "House Gears Up For Immigration Battle," Corey Dade, Jan. 8, 2013

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