After Months of Positioning, House Republicans Announce Immigration Reform Principles

Immigrants are a key driver of apartment demand and an important force in apartment construction and operations, and, therefore, immigration reform is a priority issue for NAA/NMHC. Unfortunately, it’s one marked by stalemate for years. There are some signs, however, that some momentum behind the issue could put it back on the national agenda. 

House Republicans announced a highly anticipated principles document on Jan. 30 outlining the philosophy behind their approach to immigration reform in the coming year. With input from a variety of Republican conference members, including former Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and longtime immigration reform proponent Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), the principles represent the first step forward from House Republican leadership into the comprehensive immigration reform debate. 

In the days since the release, members have held cross-party, cross-chamber conversations in private, most notably Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), an author of the “Gang of Eight” bill, visited with Congressman Paul Ryan earlier this week. President Obama and leading Democrats, including Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), have also signaled measured support for the document, further raising hopes for action this year.

However, even with this newfound common ground, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said legislation is 2014 is unlikely due to the House and Senate’s differing procedural approaches rather than policy differences.

Prior to releasing the principles, Republicans, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), insisted on a piecemeal approach to reform through a series of small bills, mostly aimed at Republican priorities such as border enforcement and high-skilled visa programs. Many elements of the principles document speak to aspects of the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill passed last year, leading some to believe the door is open to negotiation between the two chambers. 

Issues in the document important to the multifamily industry include the expansion of the E-Verify Program used to determine the status of prospective employees and a focus on temporary worker visa programs that help address labor shortages for specific industries in certain markets. 

The Washington Post earlier reviewed where the two parties have found some areas of possible agreement and how that could affect employers large and small. 

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program

Event Highlights

2014-2015 Maintenance Mania®: See What It's All About

2014-2015 Maintenance Mania®: See What It's All About  

Want to know what all the excitement is about? Be one of the fastest apartment maintenance techs in the country and you could qualify to compete at the National Championship Competition held in June...