Program note: Explore the journey out of the shadows led by undocumented immigrant and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. CNN Films’ “Documented” airs Sunday, June 29, at 9 p.m.
(CNN) – Both sides in the heated debate are marking the year anniversary of Senate passage of major immigration reform legislation.
Proponents of a comprehensive overhaul vow a weekend of activities trying to put pressure on the House, which has not followed the Senate’s lead, while opponents of that bill are promising to keep up their fight.
This comes as the Obama administration is trying to deal with an influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and families that have streamed across the U.S. southern border.
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A major point of debate has been what impact such an immigration overhaul would have on the nation’s economy.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which does not support mass immigration into the United States, released a new report contending that immigrants got a disproportionate amount of the jobs created in the United States over the past 14 years.
The study, using U.S. government data, said the total number of working-age immigrants holding a job increased 5.7 million over that period, while declining for non-immigrants. The group maintained that proves there’s no general labor shortage and thus no need for a reform bill.
“This report also underscores the economic catastrophe that would have ensued had the ‘Gang of Eight’s’ legislation, passed in the Senate one year ago today, been moved through the House and signed into law,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in a statement. “It surged the rate of new low-skilled immigration at a time of low wages and high unemployment. Such a proposal would have hollowed out the middle class.”
Among provisions in the Senate bill, pushed by a group of eight members of both parties, was one providing a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
For their part, advocates of comprehensive legislation argue it would aid the economy.
FWD.us, a major player on the reform side and comprised of leaders from the tech community, estimated such a measure would create 1.4 million jobs and reduce the deficit by almost $900 billion.
FWD.us aims part of its lobbying effort at a group of Republican House members. It is trying to convince them - through polling it just publicized – that immigration reform is not only popular but a priority in their districts, and that they’d be vulnerable if reform groups targeted them with negative messages.
The future of immigration reform is very much in doubt.
Many analysts see Rep. Eric Cantor’s primary loss in Virginia this month as killing already marginal prospects that the House would pass key reforms this midterm election year.
House Speaker John Boehner has said he supports a piecemeal approach, but has not indicated any timeframe for possible action. Many House conservatives are committed to killing any bill.
In an effort to help push reform and not inflame tensions with Republicans, the administration has delayed any changes in its policies on which illegal immigrants to deport until the end of July.
However, some Democrats are pressing the White House to act now on deportations.
“The clock has run out. It is time now to take action and talk to our President of the United States. In the absence of action on the part of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States to bring relief and justice and compassion to our broken immigration system we are now urging the President to take action,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Illinois, one of the major congressional supporters of reform, said Thursday at a news conference with other advocates.
But the White House and Democratic congressional leaders say they will keep the July 31 deadline to give Boehner more time.
CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story