GOP immigration principles support legalization
By: Seung Min Kim and Jake Sherman
January 30, 2014 04:15 PM EST
CAMBRIDGE, Md. — The House Republican immigration principles stress that undocumented immigrants will be allowed to live in the United States “legally and without fear” as long as they meet a series of requirements, according to a draft of the document set to to be released Thursday.
It stresses that those immigrants will not have access to a so-called special pathway to citizenship, meaning a new path that’s not accessible to other immigrants using the current system, according to the document, obtained by POLITICO from several sources.
“These persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits),” the document reads.
It states that “criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements” won’t qualify for legalization.
“Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced,” the document says.
Republicans discussed immigration reform at their retreat here on Thursday as they try to forge a path forward on the issue. Even discussing the idea of legalization is a major shift for House Republicans, many of whom have decried such a move as “amnesty.”
The document also calls for “an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own.”
The one-page principles has been one of the most hotly-anticipated documents in recent memory, as House Republicans try to forge a way forward on immigration reform.
The preamble in the document stresses several points in favor of an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws such as economic interests and bolstering national security.
As expected, it also says that the House will not head to conference negotiations with the Senate’s comprehensive legislation, which was passed last June.
There are several subsections in the list of principles. They are: “Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First,” “Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System,” “Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement,” “Reforms to the Legal Immigration System,” “Youth” and “Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law.”