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S. 744 Passes the Full Senate! Uphill Battle in the House to Follow

Just a quick note about yet another exciting and historic moment here at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference in San Francisco. The Senate just passed the ““Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32! This is a mixed bag bill with lots of good stuff: pathway to legalization for the undocumented, albeit a very long and arduous path, some new visas for investors and entrepreneurs, retirees and guest workers, plus a new point system. It will supposedly help those in line waiting for the quota to move up but it will also eliminate some family based categories and the diversity lottery by moving those folks into the new point system. The enforcement provisions are harsh and very, very expensive and will no doubt become even harsher in the House. It is definitely a compromise bill, but it is also very historic to have come this far and in its scope.

Meanwhile, over in the House, they have been working on largely piecemeal enforcement bills and one skills bill that looks somewhat decent in terms of work visa legislation. However, there will be no bill at all if the House and Senate cannot get on the same page to get a bill over to conference committee and a final vote in each house by fall. Stay tuned.