Updated 04:58 PM EST, Thu, Dec 03, 2020

Immigration Reform 2013: Congress Leaves for Holiday Break, No Progress on Policy Reform

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The House of Representatives wrapped up their session before holiday break on Thursday without making any headway on immigration reform. The leaders from both parties said they would work on the issue early next year, according to The New York Times

Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R- Va., who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing that immigration would be a "top priority" in 2014. He said the House would take a piecemeal approach and introduce a series of bills that aim to strengthen enforcement, improve the process for legal immigration and find the "appropriate legal status for those who are not here lawfully today."

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., braved the cold to stand on the steps of the Capitol with Democratic lawmakers and immigration activists who had been fasting on the National Mall in an effort to push for reform. 

"For us, it is inevitable that we will pass comprehensive immigration reform," Pelosi said. "For some, it is inconceivable, and they will stand in the way. But we know it will happen, and we just have to shorten the time."

The fasters had little effect on House Republican leaders, most of whom are opposed to passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, but it gained support among Democratic lawmakers and immigrant and religious groups. 

Although House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the majority of House GOP members are opposed to addressing reform, the persistence of supporters and Democratic lawmakers have rendered it impossible for the GOP to avoid the issue. 

More than 1,000 immigration advocates came to the House of Representatives on Thursday to occupy the offices of more than 170 Republican and Democratic lawmakers for around one hour. 

Half a dozen protesters sat on the carpet of the offices of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to chant and pray. Rev. Carmelo Santos, a Lutheran pastor from Springfield, Va., prayed in both English and Spanish for Cantor to "find his way to a good compromise" to pass an immigration reform bill. 

"Even if it's politically costly, we know they can do it," Santos said.

The House Judiciary Committee has approved several immigration bills, but none of which would offer legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

However, a Democratic bill in the House that is similar to the one that was passed in the Senate has more than 190 sponsors, including three Republicans. Twenty-six Republicans have also expressed support for the bill. 

"We want Speaker Boehner and the House leadership to know, as you go home and spend time with your families, that you are responsible for our families that are going to be separated by deportations this holiday season," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, an immigrant organization.

Representative John Lewis, D-Ga., said, "Please, Mr. Speaker, bring the bill to the floor."

On Tuesday, major national Latino organizations presented a score card showing the immigration voting record of every House member, which they plan on distributing to Latino voters across America. Leaders of the organizations say they are beginning a campaign to register Latino voters. They also want to focus on Republican districts with sizable Latino populations. 

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