Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was named the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, a committee that will presumably have a lead role in developing any new immigration law in the coming Congress. Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announced today that Rep Gowdy would be chair in the new Congress and stated “Rep. Gowdy will play a leading role on immigration reform which is a top priority of the House Judiciary Committee in the new Congress.” Congressman Gowdy will take over for Congressman Elton Gallegly, who ran the Subcommittee in the last Congress.
Last week, we brought you news of the plans of certain Republican Senators to introduce an alternative to the DREAM Act. Today, Senators Hutchinson (R-TX), Kyl (R-AZ) and McCain (R-AZ) introduced the ACHIEVE Act. The Senators held a press announcement to describe their new bill. They described it as the product of a year of work. Mercifully, there appears to have been some pressure to end their work and put forward a bill as, if they had continued to work, the bill and the process they propose would have become even more cumbersome than the three step process they have outlined.
The House of Representatives is moving quickly to give the appearance that they have changed their tune on immigration. The House is scheduled to vote this week on the STEM Jobs Act, sponsored by the anti-immigrant Lamar Smith (R-TX). The STEM Jobs Act would provide 55,000 additional visas for foreign nationals receiving advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Supporters of the STEM Jobs Act argue that it addresses an acknowledged problem area in U.S.
In Washington, we have very hot summers without a real beach to beat the heat. Our winters can be wet, sloppy messes or we can get pounded with multiple snow storms in a city completely unprepared for more than three inches of snow. Along with the occasional security scare, World Bank protest and Presidential motorcade, life in the Nation’s Capital can be challenging. However, certain things make up for that.
We have heard lots of talk about the need for bipartisan immigration reform in the new Congress. We have heard that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will work with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on a new bill for introduction in the Senate. The Senate was five votes away from passing the DREAM Act in 2010, so it is possible to believe that the new political reality has jolted preservation-minded conservatives in the Senate to support common sense immigration reform.
Thirty four days before the Presidential election, Republican nominee Mitt Romney has expressed a position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has been in place since August 15. In an interview with the Denver Post, Romney stated that if he were elected President, “The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid.
Today, 104 Democratic Members of Congress released a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for his decision to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to offer “Deferred Action” deportation relief to young immigrants raised in the U.S. who would qualify for the DREAM Act. The Members of Congress wrote: We recognize that there are those who will want to take the power of discretion away from you and the Executive branch.