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Lawmakers overcome dispute over immigration bill

Last week, it was announced that the eight members of the U.S. House immigration group deciding the fate of a bill that would overhaul U.S. immigration laws settled a dispute that almost caused negotiations to break down. The issue was whether undocumented immigrants who gain legal status as a result of the change in policy should be granted health care.

On the one side, republicans demanded that the immigrants should not get taxpayer-funded health care and should be threatened with deportation or removal for failing to pay their health bills. On the other side, democrats insisted that emergency health care should not be denied to immigrants who gain legal status.

According to reports, lawmakers were able to reach an agreement that the immigrants should not get taxpayer-funded health care, but emergency care will not be denied under the bill. A Republican member of the group said the disagreement was actually caused by a misunderstanding on the issue, and that the misunderstanding was resolved.

The bill was approved by a bi-partisan Senate Judiciary Committee last week and the full Senate plans to vote on the bill in June. Meanwhile, the House will be working on its own variation of the bill, which is expected to be slightly more conservative.

The bill, which overhauls existing immigration laws, enhances border security and provides roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, is expected to pass the Senate more easily than the House. In a recent statement, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said the House will act on the issue, but "will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes."

Lawmakers will resume working on the bill following a week-long recess for the Memorial Day holiday.

Source: The State, "House immigration group resolves dispute," Erica Werner, May 23, 2013

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