Senate passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in June 2013 stands as a major accomplishment on the road to restructuring the U.S. immigration system. At this mid-point in the legislative debate, House committees have passed five separate bills, but are still grappling with key elements of the Senate plan, especially legalization for the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. The big question surrounding the debate remains whether compromises that reconcile the approaches by both chambers can be found to produce legislation that improves the U.S. immigration system. This online discussion with Migration Policy Institute policy experts Doris Meissner and Muzaffar Chishti was held shortly after MPI released an analysis comparing the major provisions of the Senate bill against those of the individual House bills considered to date in House committees. The discussion outlines the differing policies crafted by the House and Senate, their likely implications for the U.S. immigration system, and offers a look ahead to where the debate might be headed when Congress returns from its summer recess.
August 15, 2013 marked the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers a two-year reprieve from deportation as well as work authorization for eligible unauthorized immigrants under the age of 31 who entered the United States before the age of 16 and meet a number of education and other requirements. During this online chat, Migration Policy Institute researchers discuss their findings in a new MPI brief that provides the most up-to-date estimates of the current and prospective DACA population by educational attainment, English proficiency, state of residence, country of origin, age, gender, labor force participation, poverty, and parental status. Researchers Michael Fix, Jeanne Batalova, and Sarah Hooker also answer questions from chat participants.