Friday, May 30, 2008

Status on the Future of the Immigration Bills

Well, it looks like HB 1365, sponsored by Rep. Time Burns of Mandeville and which criminalized renting property to an undocumented immigrant, will not ultimately be considered during this current legislative session. The past two times the bill has come up on the House floor calendar, Rep. Burns has voluntarily deferred its consideration and has referred it back to the House calendar. And I hear through the grapevine that Rep. Burns, whose recommendation, as the bill's sponsor, on whether to consider the bill on the House floor is generally respected as a matter of tradition, appears to be disinclined to force debate and a vote on the bill. Of course, some other legislator could counter Burns' reluctance to bring the measure up for debate and a vote and could force the issue; but the likelihood of that happening is slim and next to none. So, unless Burns wants to take up the measure, which he seems reluctant now to do, the bill is likely to wither on the vine.

As for the other measures, HB 25 (local law enforcement required to check immigration status upon arrest), HB 1357 (criminalizes harboring/sheltering/concealing an undocumented immigrant), and HB 1358 (criminalizes transporting an undocumented immigrant), all sponsored by Rep. Brett Geymann, are waiting to be heard in front of one of the Senate Judiciary Committees. These hearings are likely to be conducted sometime early this coming week. I hope I can make it to Baton Rouge to testify against them, since I wasn't able to do so previously; but I have some obligations here that I cannot miss, so I just hope that the bills come up at a convenient time for me. Regardless, though, I have it on pretty good authority that these bills are not likely to pass muster in Senate Committee. Of course, this is all educated speculation and nothing is certain until the matter is actually debated in committee and voted upon, but I'm confident that these bills, all three of them, are likely to die in Committee on the Senate side. We shall see.

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