By Elliot Jager
House Speaker John Boehner is expected to back step-by-step measures to revamp the country's immigration laws in a way that non-tea party conservatives can live with, The New York Times reported.
He previously signaled that he would take positions — on the budget and immigration — opposed by the tea party faction saying that it had "lost all credibility."
Boehner is still against the Senate's immigration bill as too sweeping a way to address the presence of all 11 million illegal immigrants, according to the Times.
"The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be," he said. "The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time.
"I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we're dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way," Boehner said.
Boehner lately hired immigration specialist Rebecca Tallent who had worked for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an advocate of immigration reform.
Non-tea party Republicans could back a series of individual bills — after the 2014 primary season — that would grant legal status to, among others, agricultural laborers and those who were brought to the United States illegally as minors by their parents, according to the Times.
House Republicans will discuss immigration reform at a retreat later in January.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, architect of the budget deal, is expected to play a key role in articulating a Republican immigration strategy, the Times reported.
Immigration reform could help Republicans make inroads in the sizable bloc of Hispanic voters which Mitt Romney overwhelmingly lost to President Barack Obama, the Times reported.
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