UNITED STATES – Path forward on legislative relief for Dreamers remains uncertain

The federal government shutdown ended Monday, with a short-term extension of the debt limit through Feb. 8. Parties reached agreement after agreeing to tackle immigration legislation in the weeks ahead. What is the path forward on legislative relief for Dreamers?

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The federal government shutdown ended Monday after the U.S. Senate agreed to a short-term extension of the debt limit through Feb. 8. Parties reached agreement after agreeing to tackle immigration legislation in the weeks ahead.

Legislative landscape: Deep policy differences remain

Neither the House nor the Senate has passed immigration addressing the status of Dreamers, and the bases of both parties remain far apart. The primary legislative vehicle for Republicans in the House is Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) Securing America’s Future Act (H.R.4760), while Democrats in the Senate have rallied behind the bipartisan “Gang of 6” proposal. Within the next 17 days, both chambers of Congress will need to resolve stark policy differences or set those issues to the side. Click here for some examples.

Dramatic reductions in legal immigration: Likely outcome or bargaining chip?

A key sticking point in negotiations is whether relief for Dreamers should be packaged with changes to the legal immigration system. The White House and Republicans in both the Senate and the House are seeking significant reductions in family-based immigration levels, which they often refer to as “chain migration.” Those proposals are not minor tweaks. If enacted, those proposals would constitute the most significant reduction in legal immigration in a century. Goodlatte’s bill would reduce overall legal immigration levels by approximately 45 percent, and family-based immigration would drop by approximately 62 percent. 

Click here for a full analysis of the Goodlatte bill and to read the full alert from the BAL U.S. Practice group.

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