Last week the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration bill. Many indicators point to 2013 being the year that Congress may try to tackle the elusive problem of tackling the nearly 11 million immigrants.
But both the House and Senate look to chart very different paths in getting there. And despite 14 Republicans supporting the Senate version, the House's more conservative make-up really does make the Senate's version passage in the House a very hard climb.
The House has taken a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform so far, although there remains work to propose a comprehensive bill in the House. House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has introduced a step-by-step approach to reforming the immigration laws.
"While I congratulate the Senate for working hard to produce immigration reform legislation, I have many concerns about its bill. The bill repeats many of the same mistakes made in the 1986 immigration law, which got us into this mess in the first place. Among my many concerns, the Senate bill does not adequately address the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and allows the Executive Branch to waive many, if not most, of the bill’s requirements," Goodlatte said in a statement.
President Barack Obama praised the significant step taken in the Senate passage and reiterated the bill that was passed was a compromise. "By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. "
Obama added, "We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We just need Congress to finish the job."
Several groups released statements of support regarding the bill, and called on the House to take up a similar approach.
A statement from American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman welcomed the "fair and workable farm labor provision" and added "a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation is long overdue."
National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson said the bill "allows for peace of mind for all parties in agriculture to know that a more easy-to-use and effective system will be enacted."
"This action by the Senate is a step in the right direction and we look forward to engaging with members of the House in ensuring the priorities of cattlemen and women are met in final legislation," said National Cattlemen's Beef Association president Scott George. A strong year-round workforce is paramount to the success of the cattle industry, he added.