It looks like comprehensive federal immigration reform will have to wait. Immigration rallies in the spring and summer rattled lawmakers to attention, as both the House and the Senate passed separate bills aimed at addressing border control and illegal employment.
But lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on a final, unified bill. At press time, Congress was debating a smaller, piecemeal immigration bill.
Advice: Although the delay means employers won't face new mandates before at least early 2007, don't become complacent about complying with current law. Both Homeland Security and the Labor Department are aggressively pursuing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. And the EEOC continues to sue employers who discriminate against those illegal immigrants in pay, benefits or other ways unrelated to illegal status.