House Republicans have finally given Americans their idea of what immigration reform should look like.
It is not as sweeping as the plan passed last June in the U.S. Senate.
The House Republican plan does not support a path to citizenship for all of the undocumented. Instead, it intends to “legalize” them.
Experts say this means the undocumented would not be deported just because they have no papers. Also, they can work. Finally, they can travel in and out of the U.S. The undocumented would admit they entered the country illegally. They would pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, and learn English.
An observer said, “If these people can come out of the shadows, work and travel, that is what they want.”
The House Republican plan will extend citizenship to “Dreamers.” These are the children of undocumented families who came to the U.S. as youngsters. The Republican majority leader said: “It is time to give an opportunity for these young people. They were brought to this country as children who knew no other home.”
The statement is not clear about border security. It says the borders must be secure before any citizenship is granted. It does not say what the standards for security should be.
It also says an important part of reform will be giving green cards to immigrants who are here on visas because they are in school. Right now it is hard to stay legally after graduation.
The hardest job is ahead. There is a lot of opposition to any immigration reform, which the hard right calls “amnesty.”
Many Republicans who support immigration are against doing anything this year. They feel that a focus on immigration will lessen their chances of keeping the House and becoming the majority in the Senate in 2014. They want to avoid a fight within the party.
Some say the undocumented cannot vote, why worry about them? The year 2016 will be different. The Republican Party needs Latinos and Asians to win the presidential election. Some Republicans say that is the year to make the big push for immigration reform.
Democrats will do their best to make immigration a big issue this year.
Source: The New York Times January 28, 2014