Immigration reform legislation has been stuck in the House of Representatives since the Senate passed its own bill in June 2013. The holdup has mainly been due to House Republicans, who refused to take up the Senate bill and have yet to put forward their own plan to overhaul the nation’s broken immigration system.
All of that may soon change, however, as House Speaker John Boehner announced that he and other Republican leaders are drafting, and will soon release, a statement of principles on immigration reform known as a white paper. The upcoming white paper has lent hope to immigration reform supporters that a compromise can be reached sometime soon.
Coalition of Republican lawmakers working on proposal
Rebecca Tallent, a long-time Republican strategist who has worked on the immigration issue for years, and who Boehner recently hired to work in his office, has been reaching out to several Republican lawmakers in recent weeks in an effort to put together a plan that the entire party can get behind. Among them are House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R.-Fla., and Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
While there are still plenty of issues to be worked out, it appears the central idea of citizenship for undocumented immigrants, especially those who would qualify under a proposed DREAM Act, will be central to the debate. However, many Republicans in the House oppose any sort of path to citizenship.
Democrats await Republican proposal
Democrats in Congress appear to be both excited and wary of the impending Republican proposal. But the fact that the Republican white paper will at least outline a clear starting point for negotiations is a good first step in the push for immigration reform in 2014.
“Things continue to look better and better for immigration reform, and we hope to work with Republicans to get something real done,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.