The president and Senate "gang of eight" introduced their proposals for comprehensive immigration reform this week. Both agree on key principles revolving around enforcement, employment, a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, and solutions for problems plaguing the system. Several differences remain, however, as shown in the table below.
Surprisingly, a key sticking point is no longer the fate of the estimated 11 million-plus undocumented immigrants, but that of lesbian and gay bi-national couples and their families, who number less than 30,000. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not able to sponsor their same-gender foreign-born partners and spouses, unlike their heterosexual counterparts. Conservatives in Congress warn against including an LGBT-inclusive provision in any comprehensive immigration legislation.
While the administration and GOP leadership appear committed to passing a bill this year, there are no guarantees about what form it will take.
Originally posted on the Urban Institute's MetroTrends Blog.