The legislation for immigration reform developed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight has made it past the first hurdle, but the question now becomes where do lawmakers have to go next in order to develop a clear path to immigration for the approximately 11 million immigrants living in the United States who have no legal status?
For advocates and lawmakers who failed to get the amendments that they had been hoping for after over 30 hours of debate, bringing the bill to the floor of the Senate will now give them another opportunity to have their amendments included as a part of the final bill. One of the big concerns for many advocates is the issue of flexibility when it comes to families being able to get US citizenship.
“The center has held, so part of the calculation going forward is how to make it through the Senate floor in the same fashion,” says the National Council of La Raza’s Director of Immigration Policy, Clarissa Martinez De Castro. However, in a House that is controlled by the Republicans, change could go in either direction, with some members making it clear they intend to rework the bill in their own fashion.
House Speaker John Boehner has made it clear that the House will not just accept any bill presented to them by the Senate, but will “work its will and produce its own legislation,” words that many Democrats worry could make a path to citizenship a lost cause.