The House leadership is crafting a bill that would be similar to the Senate's DREAM Act provision, leading to an expedited path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are drafting legislation to provide a path to citizenship for immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, their offices said Thursday.
The bill, which a Cantor spokeswoman said is in its "early stages," would be the first House Republican proposal to address the status of illegal immigrants, but it would not go nearly as far as Democrats want. While the legislation resembles the DREAM Act that is part of the Senate immigration bill, aides said it would not be as broad.
The Senate Dream Act provides an expedited path to citizenship for people brought into the U.S. illegally as children and who have attended college or served in the military. The House GOP proposal, by contrast, could be limited to younger people.
"As part of the step-by-step approach the House is taking to address immigration reform, Leader Cantor and I are working on a bill to provide a legal status to those who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children by their parents," Goodlatte said in a statement Thursday.
"These children came here through no fault of their own and many of them know no other home than the United States," he said. "This is one component of immigration reform -- any successful reform plan must improve our legal immigration programs, strengthen border security and the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, and find a way to fairly deal with those who are currently in the country unlawfully."
Aides said there is no timetable for when the proposal would get a committee hearing or vote.
This is an expected component of the House GOP immigration reform package. The other stand alone bills will include a border security package, visa reform, and guest worker provisions. There also may be an attempt to develop a path to legalization (not citizenship) for the 11 million illegal aliens in the US now.
By approaching immigration reform in piecemeal fashion, the House is going to put pressure on the Senate and the White House to accept half a loaf on immigration reform. There will be no comprehensive bill, nor will there be any path to citizenship for most of the illegal aliens in residence now.
How badly does Obama want immigration reform? The president has been adamant that he won't sign a bill without a path to citizenship. Fine. Let the onus for failure fall on him because the GOP package of bills will represent a good chunk of what the Senate came up with. His "all or nothing" strategy is likely to backfire.