Immigration Bill Dead for Now, But Reforms Still Needed
The Senate last Thursday effectively ended consideration of immigration reform for the foreseeable future.
Though the Senate failed to keep the legislation alive, NAHB urged lawmakers not to abandon efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.
“The nation’s home builders strongly support comprehensive immigration reform that would protect our borders; provide a process by which immigrants can legally enter the country to work to meet the labor demands of a growing economy; and create an enforcement system that is fair, efficient and workable for all U.S. employers,” said Jerry Howard, executive vice president and CEO of NAHB.
Senate bill S. 1639, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, was shelved indefinitely when lawmakers were unable to muster the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate and proceed to a final vote. The motion failed on a 46 to 53 ballot.
Prior to the decisive vote, senators were in the process of debating 27 amendments to the bill that were divided nearly evenly between both political parties.
NAHB successfully pushed for the introduction of an amendment to clarify areas of critical concern to home builders, including enforcement and verification provisions. Offered by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the bipartisan amendment would have enabled small business owners to play a constructive role in the enforcement of new laws.
Highlighting the importance of this issue to the housing community, NAHB wrote letters to all 100 senators, arranged for builders to visit scores of Senate offices and, through BuilderLink, mobilized the association’s national grassroots members.
In addition, on June 26 NAHB ran a full page advertisement in USA Today stating the association’s position. In an open letter, NAHB urged all Americans to call their U.S. senators and ask them to support the bipartisan Grassley-Baucus-Obama amendment, noting that it “helps make the new immigration rules much more workable for small businesses and the nation’s home builders.”
A similar open letter ad to the U.S. Senate ran the same day in Roll Call, urging senators to support the amendment.
Ultimately, senators never voted on the Grassley-Baucus-Obama amendment because the Senate failed to move forward with the bill.
“Though it appears that immigration reform is dead for the time being, we hope to continue working with members of Congress to craft immigration policy that protects our borders without placing an unfair burden on small business owners,” said Howard.
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.