Update on immigration reform after the government shutdown

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum.

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum.

President Obama and congressional Democrats are ready to move full speed ahead with “an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws including citizenship for the nation’s 12 million undocumented immigrants,[i]” according to a recent USA Today article.

At the White House on Thursday, President Obama said “the American people are completely fed up with Washington.[ii]

The recent government shutdown directly affected immigration reform efforts because congress had to shift focus to a budget agreement. People took notice and rallied for attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. 200 people rallied in a march in Washington last week and 300 small evangelical organizations in 30 states launched a nine-day prayer campaign for reform.[iii]

The shutdown did not only stall reform progress, it also closed many immigration courts and affected thousands of applicants, particularly those seeking asylum. In a recent blog we introduced you to Dr. Vakumba, a physician who sought asylum whose family has been away from him for several years. His child, sick with a brain tumor, will be allowed to come to the U.S. with the family for treatment, but the shutdown closed the court where the one remaining judge’s signature Vakumba needed.[iv]

Dr. Vakumba may be able to resume bringing his sick child to the U.S. for treatment with hopes nothing has gone stale. Similarly, many hope immigration reform efforts have not gone stale.

In order to pass immigration reform, the budgets are going to need trimming if hands will shake from across the aisle. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio was is quoted  as saying, “he is committed to advancing immigration legislation in this Congress but there is virtually no interest among GOP lawmakers to vote for the kind of sweeping bill that Democrats are seeking.[v]

Some GOP lawmakers suggest it may take more than a year to agree on how to accomplish reform. Sticking points mentioned include a majority of House Republicans opposed to allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship after being in the U.S. for 13 years (often referred to as “amnesty”).

Procedurally, there may be a ray of light shining on reform hopefuls, because according to the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra, R-Calif,. “Boehner has violated the so-called ‘Hastert Rule’ – requiring support from a majority of the majority party in the House before a bill can come to the floor.[vi]” If what happened at Boehner’s direction on critical votes such as relief for Superstorm Sandy victims, by the same theory of a relaxed ‘Hastert Rule’ a vast majority of Democrats and small number of Republicans could accomplish immigration reform laws.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.

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