Although congressional leaders remain split on the issue of immigration reform, many advocates believe that things are looking up for the 11 million people currently living in the United States without American citizenship. According to The New York Times, House Republicans showed increasing support this week for various immigration reform policies that were previously discounted along partisan lines.
Although many congressional Republicans are still calling for a series of small bills in place of the sweeping reforms sought by Democrats, conservative legislators showed this week that they are open to many popular reform concepts. The idea of granting citizenship to “Dreamers” – those brought into the U.S. as minors – is popular from a bipartisan standpoint.
Many immigrant advocates, however, still hope that congressional conservatives will budge even further on the issue.
“We are determined to win citizenship, not only for Dreamers, not only for immigration youth, but for all of the undocumented,” United We Dream managing director Cristína Jiménez said.
Those not in favor of sweeping immigration reform cite economic factors as the reason for their opposition.
“If there are jobs for those people, then fine, let’s give them legal status, let’s let them work,” New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce told the Times. “But not the citizenship, because that’s going to take benefits away from my family.”
However, the economic benefits of immigration reform have long been touted by activists across party lines. In addition to decreasing the federal deficit by approximately $175 billion in the first 10 years – legal citizenship would require workers to pay income taxes, and would also decrease expenditures related to deployment – reform policies would also create jobs and boost the economy, according to a recent White House report.