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House Republicans appear poised to unveil broad immigration plan

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FILE: June 15, 2012: Niouseline St. Jean, from Turks and Caicos Islands who lives in the U.S. illegally reacts to a new immigration ruling for students.AP

House Republicans are poised this week to release their plan to overhaul the country’s immigration system, according to The New York Times.

The broad-stroke plan is expected to be released by House leaders at their annual retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that starts Wednesday.

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform this past summer that includes a 13-year path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.

However, such legislation stalled in the House amid opposition from some of the chamber’s most conservative members who argue that giving illegal immigrants an opportunity to become citizens is tantamount to “amnesty.”

President Obama has made passing comprehensive legislation a major goal of his presidency, and he is expected to emphasize in his State of the Union address later this week that such reform remains a top priority in 2014.

Speculation that House leadership would unveil such a plan has circulated around Washington for weeks.  

The House document is expected to call for border security and enforcement measures, as well as providing a path to legal status but not citizenship, congressional aides said.

There appears to be a consensus forming around a package of bills -- including ones on border security, a crackdown on the hiring of undocumented workers, expanded guest-worker programs and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, according to The Times.

Critics of a possible House-Senate deal fear they will be left out of final talks involving so-called congressional “conferees.” They also worry that veteran negotiators such as Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who helped craft the upper chamber bill, could behind closed doors make the final bill more like the Senate version.