Immigration plans were uncovered by House Republican leaders on Tuesday. This comes just two days after President Obama addressed the nation in the State of the Union. Late in his speech, he hinted at that he would be willing to work with Republicans on such a controversial issue. With the 2014 midterm elections fast approaching, comprehensive immigration reform will unquestionably be the topic of congressional policy debates.
The plans were articulated and unveiled at the GOP’s annual caucus retreat in Maryland. The Republican’s outline states that there will be no singular route to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants now residing within the U.S. borders. The GOP is attempting to jumpstart the rank and file by reviving the long-failed effort to bring solvency to one of the nation’s largest policy problems. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) stated that the Republicans of Congress are going to outline principles and standards of immigration reform to reach a general consensus of how the party feels.
Speaker Boehner has drawn strong opposition from within his own party. Several congressional conservatives fear that the less conservative legislation will lead to citizenship for immigrants who have violated U.S. immigration laws. Conservatives have also been apprehensive towards President Obama and his enforcement of regulations, which is leading to their reluctance in handing the president a strong and long sought-after legislative victory. The reluctance has prompted Republican leaders to craft their own immigration provisions.
One noteworthy Republican who vehemently opposes such legislation is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions delivered a 30-page statement that included an itemized rebuttal to each of the principles being covered by the plans for immigration by Republicans. He warned the party of the negative impact of future changes in the current U.S. immigration policy. He stated that there would be drastic effects on domestic workers and taxpayers when the legalization of 11 million undocumented immigrants was carried out. Sessions and other congressional leaders argue that such an alteration in legal status and work authorization amounts to amnesty and assists illegal immigrants with a quick and easy path towards citizenship. In a response to President Obama’s renewed call for immigration reform, Sessions explained that Republicans, “must end the lawlessness – not surrender to it.”
Currently, members of Congress, predominantly Republicans, are articulating their own types of reform to immigration legislation – dealing with children whose parents came to the country illegally and visas for guest workers. Nevertheless, Republicans insist that the party must address the mounting stress of being competitive in presidential elections and passing well-crafted legislation.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) has proceeded with caution in the party’s endeavor for enhanced immigration policy. Even before the Republican establishment could release documents containing possible provisions for immigration and the hinting of legalization, Cruz was prompted to denounce it as amnesty.
Boehner may believe that the rank and file Republicans have devised a respectable policy to deal with the increasing amount of illegals arriving in the country. He explained that Republicans need to agree on the parameters of they want to stay relevant in the future. Nonetheless, there is general consensus in the party that a restructuring of the nation’s immigration legislation is needed. Regardless of how this will affect Republicans in the midterm elections, they seem to be edging closer to uncovering their full plans for immigration.
By: Alex Lemieux