More than a dozen House Democrats joined together this month with actress America Ferrera to commemorate the passing of more than 250 days since the United States Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill. The group that included Senators and other supporters met outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to argue their case that immigration reform needs to addressed immediately. The Democrats introduced a discharge petition that requires the signature of 218 representative for legislative action. Currently, Democrats fill 199 seats in the House and would need more than a dozen Republican supporters to push the reform bill through to execution.
The bill that was passed in 2013 proposed offering a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before 2012. The bill also discussed reforming visa programs, requiring employers to verify the eligibility of their workers and increasing border security by doubling the amount of agents stationed at the U.S.’s southern border.
Since the passage of that bill, House Democrats have have been pushing a more comprehensive reform bill that Republicans have not yet agreed to support with their votes. The new, more detailed bill would offer more protection to undocumented immigrant minors who hold deferred action status, reduce the amount of deportations, and decrease the time the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. would have to wait to obtain legal resident status by three years. Republicans feel they have an advantage this election year, which explains why they are unwilling to vote on the immigration reform issue in 2014. Democrats in the House, including President Obama have become frustrated with this stalling tactics and have been putting pressure on Republicans to act as soon as possible.