Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Immigration reform may stumble on citizenship issue

Rep. Paul Ryan
The prospect of immigration reform, which improved in recent weeks to the delight of agricultural interests, has faded again with comments by lawmakers. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) "said distrust of President Barack Obama runs so deep in the Republican caucus that he’s skeptical the GOP-led House would pass any immigration measure," Phillip Elliott reports for The Associated Press. "He said a plan that puts security first could pass only if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama." Ryan told Elliott, "This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach.”

House Republicans oppose a measure that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, but also fear that failing to act could lead voters to turn to Democratic candidates in the next election, Elliott writes. Instead, they are blaming the White House for the legislation's failure, and "are pushing a piecemeal approach to immigration that puts a priority on security before considering a pathway for those here illegally to earn citizenship."

"That strategy runs counter to a comprehensive bill, passed through the Senate seven months ago with bipartisan support, that includes a long and difficult pathway to citizenship," Elliott writes. "The White House, meanwhile, returned to its position that any legislation must include a way for those living here illegally to earn citizenship and that the system cannot divide Americans into two classes — citizens and non-citizens." (Read more)

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