House GOPers Move on Immigration Reform: But is it Any Good?

Posted in: Blog

The House Republican leadership has been talking for a while about moving on comprehensive immigration reform, and now a year and a half after the Senate passed CIR, GOPers come out with a one-page “principles of immigration.”

And guess what? It basically says yeah, sure, legalization is fine, but as far as citizenship for the country’s millions of undocumented immigrants: FORGET IT.

The principles, distributed to Republican legislators at their annual three-day retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, outline several steps for undocumented immigrants to live and work legally in the U.S.

But first, there’s the issue of border security. Just like the Senate bill, this proposal says that there has to be greater and “tighter” security along the U.S.-Mexico border (strangely leaving out the U.S.’s northern border with Canada) and that there has to be greater “interior” immigration enforcement (which likely includes more checks at places of employment and a greater use of E-Verify).

Immigrants who want to stay legally in the country, the document says, would have to register with the federal government, “admit their culpability,” pay back taxes and “significant” fines, pass a “rigorous” background check, learn English and U.S. history, and “prove” that they can get by without government support.

There’s no clear details about how long it would take to get a green card, but that’ll probably come later as they hash out details in the U.S. House.

The document does have some good news for DREAMers, saying they can be legalized after meeting certain criteria because it wasn’t their fault that they were brought to the states illegally.

Where all this ends up is of course anyone’s guess at this point. But what’s clear is the wait for citizenship will be a long one.