A Republican Senator has revealed that there will be no vote in the House of Representatives on US immigration reform this year.
In June this year, wide-ranging immigration reform was passed through the Senate to be debated in Congress, and while President Obama had been confident that a decision to pass the reform could be made by the end of this year, a key Senator has now said that a vote won’t be taken until early 2014.
With just 13 congressional days left this year, Kevin McCarthy, the majority whip, said in a meeting with immigration proponents last week that there weren’t enough days left for the House to act and that the House was now committed to addressing the overhaul of the nation’s immigration system next year.
The reform has been cause of a series of fierce debates in the States. The main controversy surrounds a law that would provide an eventual path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the country – a measure not popular with the majority of Republicans, but a factor President Obama has insisted must be included as part of any immigration package.
The reform also proposes significant changes to the US’s low and high skilled visa system and tightened border security, and while both parties agree to some extent on these measures, Democrats want comprehensive immigration reform passed all in one go, while Republicans would much prefer a piecemeal approach.
Erica Elliott, a spokeswoman for McCarthy, said that the Senator “supports fixing our broken immigration system. He also believes that it is incumbent upon all participants in the debate to work together to address immigration reform on an issue-by-issue basis rather than demanding that any reform only happen in the context of a massive bill that fails to appropriately address the underlying problems plaguing the current process.”