Is immigration reform at the national level already a nonissue for 2014?

For months now, the Obama administration has categorized an overhaul of the much-criticized U.S. immigration system as a top priority. The administration has taken some steps to correct certain flaws in the immigration system by flexing executive branch muscle. Yet, comprehensive immigration reform is not possible without the cooperation of the U.S. Congress.

The ebb and flow of immigration reform negotiations has filled headlines for the better part of a year now. But, with midterm elections approaching in November, many commentators are speculating that comprehensive immigration reform is already off the table for 2014.

Symbolic votes to bolster midterm support leave little hope for true reform

In 2012, President Obama moved to allow those brought into the U.S. without documentation as children to remain in the country without facing the threat of deportation. Furthermore, federal officials under Obama have been shifting the focus of deportations to target primarily those who have been convicted of a criminal offense. While these baby steps toward a better overall immigration system have helped many immigrants, they seem to be serving more as a reminder of the morass immigration reform has become in Congress than as an indication that broader reforms are coming in the near future.

On March 12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of a measure that would facilitate the filing of lawsuits by members of Congress against the White House for not enforcing current law. This proposition could effectively undermine the immigration reforms already put in place through executive action. Even though this measure has little or no chance of passage in the Senate, it shows that the Republican-led House has likely abandoned any desire to compromise on immigration reform for the time being.

Speaker of the House John Boehner did issue a set of GOP principles for immigration reform in January, in defiance of the far right wing of his party that claimed he was supporting amnesty for immigrants residing in the United States outside of the conventional immigration system. As Republican lawmakers began to shore up support in their base before the November elections by fighting any semblance of amnesty, Boehner himself admitted that an immigration overhaul is unlikely, at least in 2014.

Contact a lawyer with your immigration concerns

Immigration reform is about far more than just a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million people living in the United States without proper documentation. It is about increasing the number of visas for skilled workers and the American businesses that are in desperate need of a qualified labor pool; streamlining the immigration process for family members of lawful U.S. residents; bolstering border security; and generally making the immigration system more fair and effective. Despite the obvious need for a revamped immigration system, for now, political considerations make it an unlikely proposition.

If you have immigration concerns or if you have a family member who is struggling through the immigration system, you must work within the confines of the current legal framework. But, even without the procedural improvements that have long been at stake in the politics of immigration reform, you may be able to achieve the outcome you are looking for with the right legal assistance. An experienced immigration attorney can effectively handle your case and give you the best shot at a quick, favorable resolution to your immigration issue. Get in touch with an immigration lawyer today to get help with your immigration problem.