That immigration reform will be a priority for Congress this year has quickly cemented as the conventional wisdom, but political leaders are beginning to divide on the best way to achieve reform.
Some members of both the House and Senate have been introducing piecemeal legislation that would tackle different aspects of the problem, such as a “pathway to legal status” bill, an alternative to the DREAM Act that would apply to fewer people, and a bill that provides for an increase in technology visas.
At the same time, a closed-door bipartisan group is rumored to be drafting a more comprehensive document. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, one of the group’s members, says she is “cautiously optimistic” about the possibility for a comprehensive agreement this year.
There is a narrow window for them to act. Many fear that disagreements over immigration go to deep for parties to be able to agree on a comprehensive proposal. However, Republican leadership has indicated that they will support a comprehensive approach, and pressure is mounting for the rest of Congress to follow suit.
After years of pushing this issue down the road, Congress must decide if they will stand for more bickering over piecemeal legislation, or work for the comprehensive reform package that is necessary for our country to move forward.