On Thursday, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives came to an “agreement in principle” on proceeding forward with immigration reform. The House is expected to work on drafting a bill that will be introduced on June 4. Last month, the Senate version of the immigration bill was introduced.
Details of the House agreement have not yet been released, but there were some bumps in the road leading to the announcement of the deal. Republican Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho expressed concerns about taxpayer money not being used for immigrant healthcare. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said yesterday that he was worried about the House group being able to finish their work and come to an agreement.
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, made the announcement that an agreement in the bipartisan House group had been achieved yesterday. He said, “We have finalized an agreement in principle. I think it’s a very responsible, serious, well-thought-out and enforceable piece of legislation.”
While the House spent time working on its agreement to move forward, the Senate has been moving its immigration bill along in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The border security and E-Verify amendments have been completed with some changes. Border security strategies will now apply to all border sectors; the ability to fly drones has been restricted to no more than three miles from the border in the San Diego and El Centro sectors; and an amendment designed to enforce E-Verify sooner has failed. A Boston bombing inspired amendment also passed, which will require student visa information to be shared with Customs and Border Enforcement.
The House immigration bill is expected to be more restrictive since the GOP is in charge there, so the real fireworks could begin with the challenge of reconciling the two bills if they can pass in their respective chambers.