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House Republicans May Support “Limited” Immigration Plan

While the national House of Representatives speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “may embrace a series of limited changers to the nation’s immigration laws,” the Senate has already passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill built on compromise.  While democrats fought for improved pathways to citizenship for immigrants, republicans fought to tighter and improved border security.

A glint of hope that immigration reform legislation might actually pass through the House comes from Boehner’s new hire, Rebecca Tallent.  She was the immigration adviser for many years to Senator John McCain, a republican senator who backs broad immigration reforms.  Boehner has also made critical comments about Tea Party opposition to Congress’s budget deal, which has been taken as indication that he may actually be serious about immigration reform.

Although there are hints that Boehner and the house republicans are willing to move forward, they are willing to move forward on “limited” changes made step-by-step and incrementally.  President Obama agrees with completing immigration reform in incremental steps as long as key provisions are not omitted, but these key provisions are exactly why the word “limited” is being used by House republicans.

Legislation that has already been approved in the Senate included both tightened border patrol and more and clearer pathways to visas and citizenship for immigrants.  The bill has garnered public support from religious, business, and labor leaders across the country as well as GOP strategists and the Latino community.  The aim of the bill is to strengthen border patrol along the periphery but also develop pathways to legalization and visas for agricultural laborers and high-tech workers, and provide opportunities for citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.  However, the bill is stalled in house and Boehner’s agreement to try to compromise on this bill to pass it through the house falls far short of effective immigration reform, compromising on a bill already built on intensive compromise.

Source: Benen, Steve.  “Boehner signals support for ‘limited’ immigration plan,” MSNBC.  January 2, 2014.  http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/boehner-eyes-limited-immigration-plan.