Congress is currently engaged in a momentous debate on immigration. Nearly everyone agrees that we need to fix our nation’s broken immigration system and secure the border, but the House and Senate are taking two very different approaches to solving this complex issue. While the Senate has passed a massive bill that contains many problematic provisions, the House is taking a step-by-step approach so that we carefully and methodically review each component of immigration reform in detail. We want to produce better solutions so that the end result is a workable immigration system for the years to come.
This step-by-step approach will help us get immigration reform right by making sure we avoid the mistakes of the past. For example, nearly 30 years ago Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, assuring the American people that it would fix our immigration system. We were promised tougher enforcement in exchange for the legalization of roughly three million people – but these promises were not kept and our immigration laws remain broken. The American people want to know how Congress plans to avoid this similar outcome in the current debate surrounding immigration reform.
Any immigration reform bill needs to first strengthen border security and the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, improve our legal immigration programs, and find the appropriate status for unlawful immigrants. As part of our step-by-step approach, the House Judiciary Committee has held numerous educational briefings for Members of Congress on our immigration laws, convened a dozen hearings on immigration, and approved several bills that address specific issues within our immigration system. However, our work is not yet finished.