Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) honored his agreement with his Democrat counterparts in mid-February, by allowing a week-long, wide-ranging debate on the future of immigration policy on the Senate floor. The deliberation was rare from a procedural standpoint but allowed all sides of the discussion to state their case and offer amendments for the Senate to vote on over the course of the week. Bills were offered from the far right, including a proposal championed by President Trump, the far left, and even a bipartisan agreement between centrists in both parties, but none of the proposals were able to meet the 60-vote threshold required to move forward.
Political pressure on members of both parties was substantial, with Republicans concerned with appearing weak on illegal immigration, and Democrats wishing to avoid the appearance of capitulation on the rights of DREAMers. The resulting stalemate leaves immigration reform, and all those impacted, in a state of flux, and it is unclear at this time if the Senate is willing to take the problematic issue back up again before the end of the year.
As the broader immigration debate continues, NMHC/NAA will continue to focus on the issues important to us, including the expansion and improvement of the H2-B program to address labor shortages and support for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor and E-Verify Programs.
More information on the industry’s stances on immigration reform can be found here.