According to a statement by President Obama this week, sweeping immigration reform could be approved by Congress by the end of the summer. In his statement, the president urged lawmakers to work together to resolve obstacles that still stand in the way of immigration reform being approved.
President Obama also indicated that the bipartisan group of Senators charged with coming up with an immigration reform bill will likely be ready to release a draft of the bill in the very near future.
The main issues within the proposed reform include providing a pathway to citizenship for a majority of the 11 million immigrants who are currently in the country illegally. Both the Senate group and the president reportedly agree on making this issue a priority. Additionally, there is agreement over overhauling the deportation system and holding businesses at higher standards on verifying the immigration status of their workers.
A couple of the issues that still appear to be hotly-contested include making the citizenship pathway contingent on securing the border and the guest worker issue, which could allow as many as 200,000 lower-skilled workers into the country each year. The guest-worker program has caused a stalemate between workers unions, who want higher wages for workers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents business interests.
Immigration reform stalled and failed in 2007 over similar issues involving the guest-worker program. However, President Obama said it was not likely that the disagreement over wages for lower-skilled guest workers would "doom" immigration reform this time around.
This will definitely be an important issue to follow over the next few months.
Source: WISTV.com, "Obama: Immigration bill could pass by summer," Julie Pace, March 27, 2013