July 01, 2014

Immigration Reform Is Dead for 2014; President to Pursue Executive Options

House Speaker John Boehner has advised President Barack Obama that the House of Representatives will not take up immigration reform legislation in 2014. With that confirmation that there will be no immigration reform legislation this year, Obama is exploring options for executive action.

In late June 2013, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill addressing all the various elements of immigration reform. The bill includes an avenue for legalization for many of the approximately 11 million people in the U.S. without authorization. The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives indicated early on that the House would not vote on the comprehensive Senate bill, but would instead address each aspect of immigration reform in single-issue bills. Some bills passed through House committees in 2013, but no legislation has passed the entire House.

At the beginning of 2014, there were some indications that House leadership still wanted to move on immigration legislation, but since then hopes have dimmed. Boehner has now confirmed that the House will not act on immigration legislation.

Obama has been under pressure from immigration advocates to take executive action to reduce the number of deportations from the U.S. He has been resisting this pressure, hoping that the Republican House would still act on immigration reform legislation. Now that it is clear that will not happen, the President has asked his advisors to investigate the extent of his authority to address immigration reform through executive action.

It is not yet known what specific actions the President will take. In 2012, he used his executive authority to create a temporary legalization program for young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. It is possible that the President will expand the temporary legalization program to a larger group of people, perhaps including the parents of the young people already in the program, or parents of children who are U.S. citizens because they were born in the United States. It is not likely that any executive actions will address business immigration.

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