Immigration back on GOP agenda

immigration marchPolitico, 01/23/2014

The same House Republicans who punted on immigration last year are now privately crafting an intricate plan to try to pass it in 2014. Most people close to the planning expect votes on four bills by the end of the summer, including one that would give undocumented workers legal status.

And though none of the bills is likely to offer a path to full citizenship, the fact Republicans are preparing to take on immigration at all is a sign the party is coming to grips with a political reality: if they want to win elections in the long run, they’ll have to face the issue.

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Positive signs for immigration reform

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The Washington Post, 01/22/201

Plenty of signs suggest immigration reform will move front and center in the next few weeks. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), as The Hill reported, is sounding a positive note, saying he would supporting legalizing the 11 million or so illegal immigrants but not carving a special pathway to citizenship. He joins a number of conservative Republicans including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in suggesting that formula. (The devil is in the details: Does this mean they could eventually get citizenship?)

This still will be too generous to satisfy immigration opponents, for whom the goalposts constantly change. If earned citizenship was equated in 2013 with “amnesty,” the same will be true in 2014 of “no special pathway.” At bottom, there are some on the right who want no impediment to deporting 11 million people. Suggesting that this will never happen and that they therefore are eroding the “rule of law” they claim to support doesn’t seem to register.

The next critical step may come at the House GOP confab next week. Leadership can take the pulse of the conference and then see if there is a real chance for progress.

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States take action on immigration as Congress stalls

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The New York Times, 01/21/2014

Immigrants coming to the United States increasingly face a distinctive choice: Live in Red America, where laws clamping down on services to those in the country illegally are winning support, or Blue America, where life is a little easier for them. Comprehensive immigration reform languishes amid partisan sniping on Capitol Hill. But Republicans and Democrats in 45 state legislatures around the country have taken decisive action in the last year to revise their own laws relating to immigration, and how their states treat illegal immigrants.

“We are still waiting for the federal government to fix the immigration system,” said Washington State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D), the co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ immigration task force. “States are doing the best we can with the tools we have available to us. State legislators face fiscal challenges in education, health and law enforcement. To do nothing is not an option.”

Despite the congressional inaction, both Republicans and Democrats have taken steps in response to the federal government. Republican-controlled states acted to tighten immigration laws in response to a 2012 Supreme Court decision that struck down some law enforcement elements of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070. A handful of Democratic-controlled states acted after the Department of Homeland Security said it would offer a temporary reprieve, and permission to work, to low-priority illegal immigrants.

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U.S. House GOP To Introduce Shortly New Immigration Plan, Including Path To Legal Status

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTFox News Latino, 01/17/2014

House Republicans are working on an immigration plan that would give potentially millions of undocumented immigrants a chance to permanently live and work in the United States.

The plan, which is reportedly days away from being released to the public, will cover ideas on how the U.S. border should be protected, how immigration laws should be enforced inside the United States, the expansion of visas for certain foreign workers, and how many of the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants can embark on a path to legalize their status, according to published reports, such as one in online news publication Politico.

The path to legalization’s inclusion in the plan – which House Republican leaders discussed as recently as Wednesday — is particularly significant given that it is one of the pivotal reasons that plans last year to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law broke down in the House of Representatives after it passed in the Senate in June.

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Inside the House GOP’s immigration push


House Republican leaders are within weeks of releasing their principles for immigration reform — a blueprint that will detail positions on everything from border security to legal status.

The document, which has been kept under wraps until now, will call for beefed-up border security and interior enforcement, a worker verification system for employers and earned legal status for the nation’s undocumented immigrants, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions. It will also call for reforms to visa programs and a system to track those in the country legally.

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Broad immigration reform long overdue for U.S. – Op ed

immigration marchAZcentral, 01/12/2014

As a state and as a nation, as Republicans and as Democrats, we are ready for immigration reform.

Today, at the beginning of a new year, we are closer to real immigration reform than we have been in a generation. As a former Arizona attorney general, I continue to urge Congress to move forward on reform.

Law enforcement is always about prioritizing, and, for obvious reasons, protecting victims and aggressively pursuing those who commit violent crimes must be our top priority.

But our broken immigration system undermines our ability to do both of those things.

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Bob Goodlatte pushes immigration solution

us congressPolitico, 01/10/2014

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says he sees “no reason” why current undocumented immigrants shouldn’t gain legal status as long as Congress enacts tougher border-security and enforcement measures.

In a Telemundo interview set to air Sunday, Goodlatte addressed the set of immigration principles that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said earlier Thursday is expected to be released in the “coming weeks.”

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Emanuel to fast for 24 hours in support of immigration reform

chicagoThe Chicago Tribune, 12/11/2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday plans to start a 24-hour fast to show support for immigration reform efforts in Washington, D.C.

The mayor and some members of the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus plan to go without food from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday. They’ll begin fasting at an evening mass in honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Pius Church in the Pilsen neighborhood.

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One last immigration reform push before Congress leaves town

immigration marchCBS, 12/12/2013

With immigration reform off the table in 2013, activists are planning to converge on Washington one last time to pressure lawmakers for action – and assure them they’ll be back next year.

Advocates of a reform bill that want to see a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States have gotten more aggressive in their efforts to convince the House Republican leadership to put a bill to a vote, stopping by their homes, offices and even breakfast spots, uninvited, to visit and pray. They’ve even heckled President Obama, who shares many of their objectives, asking him to unilaterally halt deportations.

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How Republicans Can Benefit From Immigration Reform – Op Ed

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTBy Lamhee Chen, Bloomberg, 12/5/2013

President Barack Obama’s suggestion that he’d be willing to entertain piecemeal efforts at immigration reform is a devilish trap for Republicans. The best way to avoid it is to agree to a comprehensive set of reforms to fix our broken immigration system.

From a policy perspective, some reform would certainly be superior to the status quo — basic changes, such as better tailoring guest worker and visa programs to the needs of our economy and improving border security, are sorely needed. But such partial change is a dangerous political trap for Republicans.

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