WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Some Republicans believe the party leadership in the U.S. Congress should try to get the stalled immigration reform bill passed during a lame-duck session.
"It would be better to get a comprehensive (immigration reform) package passed while we are still in a position to draft it," Stewart Verdery, a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, now a GOP lobbyist and policy consultant, told United Press International.
"Otherwise, we will just get a more liberal bill next year" when the Democrats take control, said Verdery, a long-time supporter of immigration reform.
President George W. Bush said Wednesday he would work with Democrats in Congress to pass the legislative package he has pushed, but which has been blocked till now by House Republicans who oppose its guest worker program and its provision giving illegal immigrants a path to legalization and eventually citizenship.
Angelo Amador, an immigration law specialist with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told UPI that while business leaders hoped there would be some progress during the so-called lame duck session -- after the election, but before the new Congress -- he was skeptical a whole bill could be passed.
"Logistical problems are going to be the key," he said. "Are they going to have the time?" Congress returns next week, but then will wrap up for the Thanksgiving break shortly after that.
The issue Amador hopes for progress on is the limit on the numbers of high-skill temporary workers entering under the H1B visa program. He said Congress could raise the limit -- which is met every year within days -- create exemptions for some categories of workers, or "get creative" -- perhaps by "reclaiming" visas not used during several years when the cap was much higher and rarely reached.