House Republicans Reveal Immigration Principles

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Talking Points Memo is among the news outlets that has obtained a draft of the immigration principles that House Republicans have been promising for a few weeks.

Most of it is pretty much what you'd expect, but the key portion has always been what the GOP would do about a path to citizenship for undocumented people who are now in the country. It appears that they are endorsing a type of DREAM Act for kids and opposing a "special path to citizenship" for adults:


Youth

One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

So it appears—and this is guesswork based on the above, and with the realization that House Republicans could release new or different details—that the GOP would allow people now in the country to remain here, but they would not have a route to citizenship.

We'll have more as it develops.

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