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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    House GOP leaders back limited path to legal status for illegal aliens

    House GOP leaders back limited path to legal status for illegal immigrants

    Published January 30, 2014 FoxNews.com

    House Republican leaders are giving their support to a limited path to legal status for some illegal immigrants, in a move one Senate Democrat said could open the door to a deal on comprehensive immigration legislation.

    The position was included in a document released by party leaders during their annual retreat in Maryland.

    The "standards for immigration reform" document ruled out a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.


    Instead, it said immigrants living here illegally could remain and live legally if they pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, learn to speak English and understand U.S. civics, and can support themselves without access to welfare.


    But GOP leaders made clear that border security must be improved first.


    "None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented," the document said.


    Nevertheless, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a big advocate for immigrant legislation on the Senate side, said the announcement could smooth the way for a deal on legislation. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year.


    "While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard road but the door is open," he said.


    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/30/house-gop-leaders-back-limited-path-to-legal-status-for-illegal-immigrants/
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    A Look at the House GOP Principles on Immigration

    January 31, 2014 (AP)
    By The Associated Press


    House Republican leaders presented their principles on immigration to rank-and-file members at the annual retreat in Cambridge, Md. A look at the principles:
    ———
    Standards for Immigration Reform
    ———
    PREAMBLE
    Our nation's immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington's failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America's national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate's immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country's borders, enforcing our laws and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.
    ———
    Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First
    It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation's immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a president cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.
    ———
    Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System
    A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.
    ———
    Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement
    In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.
    ———
    Reforms to the Legal Immigration System
    For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America's colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren't available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.
    ———
    The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.
    ———
    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.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/house-gop-principles-immigration-22304480
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    House leaders sell immigration blueprint

    By SEUNG MIN KIM and JAKE SHERMAN | 1/30/14 4:15 PM EST Updated: 1/30/14 7:11 PM EST
    POLITICO


    Republicans discussed immigration reform at their Thursday retreat. | AP Photo

    CAMBRIDGE, Md. — The House Republican leadership is trying to sell their colleagues on a series of broad immigration principles, including a path to legal status for those here illegally.

    Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team introduced the principles at their annual policy retreat here. Top Republicans circulated a tightly held one-page memo titled “standards for immigration reform” toward the tail-end of a day that include strategy conversations about Obamacare, the economy and the national debt.

    In the private meeting where the language was introduced, Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republicans that the standards are “as far as we are willing to go.”

    “Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that for her caucus, it is a special path to citizenship or nothing,” Boehner said, according to a source in the room. “If Democrats insist on that, then we are not going to get anywhere this year.”

    Boehner said the standards represent “a fair, principled way for us to solve this issue.”

    The strategy marks a shift for House Republicans. In 2013, Boehner’s chamber ignored the bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate. But toward the end of last year and early this year, Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) began hashing out this approach to rally Republicans toward reform.

    “It’s important to act on immigration reform because we’re focused on jobs and economic growth, and this is about jobs and growth,” Boehner said in his pitch in the closed meeting. “Reform is also about our national security. The safety and security of our nation depends on our ability to secure our border, enforce our laws, improve channels for legal entry to the country, and identify who is here illegally.”

    Embracing legalization is a modest change for Republican leaders — some of them signaled openness to the idea last year. For a Republican Party that advocated “self-deportation” as recently as 2012, it’s a massive shift.

    Some Republicans fear of the political fallout from immigration reform, but the proposal suggests GOP leaders are taking the long view: Republicans need to woo the booming Hispanic population to stay relevant.

    At the private meeting where the proposal was unveiled, lawmakers talked about their distrust that President Barack Obama will enforce the law, according to sources inside of the room. Ryan and Boehner spoke in favor of the effort, but high-profile conservatives like Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) were more suspect of the reform push.

    “Nobody, even those who want to get this done, trusts the president,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said in a phone interview Thursday evening. “And I understand it, because I don’t either.”

    But legislation on some of the key components of the principles, most notably the legalization part, have not been released and it remains to be seen how the full set of principles are received by rank-and-file House Republicans — many who have been skeptical of acting on immigration reform this year.

    The principles stress that undocumented immigrants will have to go through the current immigration system and complete several prerequisites. Criminals will not be eligible for legalization.

    “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),” according to a draft of the document.

    A broad swath of pro-reform groups — from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the liberal-leaning America’s Voice — welcomed the principles. But one concern already being raised by Democrats and immigration reform advocates off Capitol Hill is language in the principles that call for “specific enforcement triggers” to be in place before undocumented immigrants can get on the legalization track.

    That section is meant to make sure that the Obama administration — and future presidents — enforce any immigration laws that Congress may pass. One of the most prominent immigration actions from Obama has been halting the deportations of young undocumented immigrants who qualify, known as Dreamers — a move that was done without the blessing of Congress.

    But Democrats and advocates worry those “triggers” will be overly restrictive — preventing millions of undocumented immigrants from beginning the process to become legalized.

    “It leaves them vulnerable to deportation for God knows how long,” Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy for the pro-reform U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an e-mail.

    Ana Avendaño, the director of immigration and community action for the AFL-CIO, also called the trigger issue a “serious concern” for the labor group. In a statement, the AFL-CIO called the principles “flimsy.”

    The leadership’s principles do treat young undocumented immigrants differently, however. House Republican leaders declared that lawmakers should give a pathway to legal residence and citizenship for young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

    “For those who meet certain eligiblity standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that,” the document says.

    The blueprint is also silent on whether the broader undocumented population will ever be able to apply for permanent residency — and eventually, citizenship — by using pathways that currently exist for all immigrants. The principles rule out a so-called “special” pathway to citizenship — meaning a separate track for undocumented immigrants that isn’t available to other immigrants.

    The document — drafted by leadership with input from key GOP lawmakers who have been working on immigration — also makes clear that the House will not negotiate with the Senate on its comprehensive bill. In fact, GOP leadership has already begun laying out the differences between the House’s approach and the Senate’s bill.

    “The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures,” the document’s preamble reads.

    The pathway outlined in the principles does not open up until the nation’s borders are secure. Securing America’s borders has long been a major issue for House Republicans — but how that can actually be accomplished was a major issue in passing the Senate measure.

    The document lays out policies beyond legalization. Republicans want to implement a biometric system to track those in the nation on a visa. The GOP wants to implement a “workable electronic employment verification system.” And the principles also call for an overhaul to the legal immigration system that’s focused on economic needs, rather than family ties.

    The one-page list of principles has been one of the most hotly anticipated documents in recent memory. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of several key senators who led the immigration reform process in that chamber, said with the House GOP leadership’s overhaul blueprint, “the door is open.

    “While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept,” Schumer said.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), another member of the so-called Senate Gang of Eight, praised House Republicans on moving forward on immigration reform by releasing their principles.

    “And if [Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)] hadn’t gotten control of his conference, this wouldn’t have happened,” McCain said. “So maybe there is a silver lining in the shutdown … I’ve been digging for that pony for a long time.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/0...ns-102884.html
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    House GOP leaders back limited path to legal status for illegal immigrants

    The FOX article at the beginning of this thread has been updated to the following:
    ~~~

    Published January 30, 2014
    FoxNews.com


    Jan. 28, 2014: House Speaker John Boehner, left, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, talks with reporters at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.AP

    House Republican leaders on Thursday endorsed a limited path to legal status for some illegal immigrants, in a move Democrats said could open the door to a deal on comprehensive immigration legislation.

    The position was included in a document released by party leaders during their annual retreat in Maryland. The "standards for immigration reform" document ruled out a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

    Instead, it said immigrants living here illegally could remain and live legally if they pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes, learn to speak English and understand U.S. civics, and can support themselves without access to welfare.

    But GOP leaders made clear that border security must be improved first.

    "None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented," the document said.

    Nevertheless, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a big advocate for immigration legislation on the Senate side, said the announcement could smooth the way for a deal on legislation. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year.

    "While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard road but the door is open," he said.

    The House GOP document is sure to meet resistance from some rank-and-file members, and skeptical Republicans on the Senate side.

    In advance of the House Republican retreat, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, delivered a 30-page memo to all House Republicans challenging their expected stance.

    Sessions told members of his party they must "end the lawlessness -- not surrender to it" -- and they must defend the legitimate interests of millions of struggling American workers.

    In his memo, Sessions warned of the negative impact of the House immigration proposal on U.S. workers, taxpayers and the rule of law. His analysis said increasing the number of immigrants would hurt an already weak economy, lower wages and increase unemployment. He cited White House adviser Gene Sperling's comment earlier this month that the economy has three people looking for every job opening.

    House Speaker John Boehner, in remarks obtained by Fox News, told Republican members Thursday that the guidelines they announced "are as far as we are willing to go."

    "I have been clear that I oppose the massive, flawed immigration reform bill passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate. I've been clear that the House will not take it up or engage in negotiations with the Senate on it," he said. "We will address this issue in a step-by-step, common sense fashion that starts with securing our nation's borders and enforcing our nation's laws."

    He added: "Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that for her caucus, it is a special path to citizenship or nothing. If Democrats insist on that, then we are not going to get anywhere this year."

    Among the other planks of the House GOP "standards" was a statement that, "We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure."

    It called for a "zero tolerance policy" for illegal border crossers "when immigration reform is enacted."

    The document also backed improving the system used to verify the immigration status of workers, and said the legal immigration system needs to be overhauled.

    "Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America's colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields," the document said. "When visas aren't available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help to grow our economy."

    The document opened the door to a temporary worker program, and, significantly, threw support behind a DREAM Act-style program. The Obama administration has already, on its own, allowed young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country for now -- which is what the DREAM Act would have addressed.

    The GOP document backed that goal, for those who meet certain criteria and either serve in the military or get a college degree. "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," it said.

    The document also made clear that "criminal aliens, gang members and sex offenders" would not be able to seek legal status at all.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...al-immigrants/
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    Added FOX News article to the Homepage:
    http://www.alipac.us/content.php?r=2...gal-immigrants
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