What the Election Results Mean for Immigration

For immigration, “the path to reform will be tougher than ever.” Also in the near future – “Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.” Such is the forecast from Greg Chen, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Director of Advocacy. Republicans now have control of the House, while the Democrats still control the Senate, meaning gridlock. Lamar Smith of Texas, the architect of the 1996 IIRIRA Act (perhaps the most strict enforcement law passed, which created the concept of “unlawful presence”, the three and ten-year bars, and which made people deportable for minor offenses), will likely head the Judiciary Committee. The DREAM Act may pass, as Senator Harry Reed, a proponent, has been reelected, but not in this clogged lame duck session. There may also not be enough votes for the proposals to pass.

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