In tonight’s State of the Union address President Bush again pushed for comprehensive immigration reform. With a Democratic Congress in Washington and with the spanking that the GOP received from Hispanic voters the time is ripe for some form of immigration reform. It is likely that the reform will only help some immigrants here while not helping others. It is also likely that immigration reform will be expensive for anyone that it will help. The last immigration bill that allowed undocumented immigrants to file for permanent residency came with a penalty fee of $1000.00. It is almost certain that the penalty fees will be greater this time around. However, even with all that money flowing into the USCIS coffers it is unlikely that they will be able to efficiently process all of the new immigrants. Backlogs may increase. Wait times could be significant. Procedures may be muddled and ever changing.
Not that that’s anything new for the USCIS (and previously the INS).
Comprehensive immigration reform will be introduced in the Senate as Senate Bill #9. The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform in the last Congress but it stalled in the House. The composition of the House is different now. Many of the anti-immigrant nationalist Congressmen are now gone. In their place are more reasonable Democrats. Though it may be by a slim margin, immigration reform should pass this year.
When bill are introduced and/or passed I will provide analysis of their most significant parts here.