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Congress agrees to make immigration law changes by Feb. 8

Many here in New Orleans watched with interest as Congress attempted to keep the government open on Friday, Jan. 19 and through the weekend that followed. The government did shut down for approximately three days when immigration law issues failed to be addressed as part of the proceedings to pass a spending bill. Now that Congress has come to a short-term agreement to keep the government open, lawmakers gave themselves until Feb. 8 to address the fate of hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants.

All indications are that the majority of those in the House and Senate want to reach an agreement regarding the fate of these individuals before deportations begin in March. On one side of the aisle, some call for providing DACA participants with the ability to become citizens of the United States. On the other side of the aisle, some call for a more extensive overhaul of the entire immigration system with DACA participants only encompassing one piece of the puzzle.

In addition, both sides of the debate have proposed numerous bills. Which one will come to a vote remains a mystery at this point. Then there is the issue of whether any bill that comes out of the Senate will be approved by the House and signed by the president. If an agreement is not reached by Feb. 8, the process may have to start over again, which only brings the deadline for DACA participant deportations even closer.

The outcome, no matter what it may be, will more than likely have a significant impact on not just DACA participants, but other immigrants as well. Not everyone may agree on what that outcome should be, but most everyone agrees that a solution is badly needed. Not only will a large portion of the country be keeping an eye on Congress's progress, but so will immigration law attorneys here in New Orleans and around the country.

Source: vox.com, "The immigration negotiations Congress just gave itself three weeks to do, explained", Dara Lind, Jan. 22, 2018

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