As NBC references, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” legislation has “cleared the first hurdle,” but where do lawmakers go next in developing a clear path to immigration for the 11 million people who don’t have citizenship? For those who didn’t get the amendments they fought for in more than 30 hours of debate, lawmakers and advocates alike are hopeful that bringing the bill to the Senate floor will allow them to get another chance at making their amendments part of the finalized bill.
One concern among advocates is more flexibility regarding families gaining U.S. citizenship. Many want to be able to get grants so family members can become citizens in the immigration reform process.
“The center has held, so part of the calculation going forward is how to make it through the Senate floor in the same fashion,” Clarissa Martinez De Castro, director of immigration policy for the National Council of La Raza, told NBC.
However, changes could go either way in a Republican-controlled House, and members have already voiced that they plan to completely rework the “Gang of Eight” bill. Conservative lawmakers are wary of some of the radical changes that could be made if a legal path to citizenship is formed, and this skepticism could prevent certain measures from being written into the final law.
“The House remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system, but we will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and other top lawmakers said in a joint statement to ABC News. “Rather, through regular order, the House will work its will and produce its own legislation.”
A pathway to citizenship is crucial for Democrats, but if House members don’t approve the shell of the Senate legislation, it could be a lost cause.