House Republican leaders unveil immigration standards


Jan. 30, 2014

Cambridge, Md. – House Republican leaders unveiled on Thursday an outline of immigration “standards,” saying there “will be no special path to citizenship” for the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The document says, “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).”

The GOP outline, which was discussed at the House Republicans’ annual strategy retreat, insists that “none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented.”

The outline does not provide a specific timeline for when undocumented residents could attain legal status. Two Republicans told CNN the plan would not explicitly bar eventual citizenship for those qualify under existing employment and family- based categories.

“These standards are as far as we are willing to go,” House Speaker John Boehner told conference members, according to a source in the room. “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.”

Pelosi said Democrats look forward to reaching common ground on immigration reform with House Republicans but the current draft leaves questions unanswered.

“It is our hope that the presentation of these standards signals a sincere intent to move forward with immigration reform. However, the Republican principles raise more questions than answers,” she said in a statement.

“First, what is the standard for DREAMers to become citizens of our country? Next, what is required for immigrants to live legally in our nation, and will it result in full citizenship? Finally, will Republicans’ enforcement triggers create more barriers instead of removing obstacles to comprehensive reform?”

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, who helped draft the principles, told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “It’s not trust then verify. It’s verify then trust. Verify that we have border security. Verify that we have interior enforcement. Verify that we’ve got the right rule of law reforms in place so we don’t have this problem 10 to 15 years down the road.”

Boehner acknowledged the issue was tough politically, but declared it should be on the House GOP agenda this year.

“This problem has been around for at least the last 15 years. It’s been turned into a political football. I think it’s unfair, so I think it’s time to deal with it,” the speaker said at a news conference Thursday.

The issue of how to deal with undocumented workers in the country now is the central component of immigration reform that splits House GOP members.

The new reform principles from Boehner – unveiled at a three-day closed-door meeting – provides a path to citizenship for children, but sets up a separate process for adults to gain legal status.

But even if Boehner can get agreement on GOP principles – a tall order given the difficulties the Speaker has had corralling many conservatives – some House Republicans say the timing for moving the legislation is not ideal this year.

According to several GOP sources familiar with the discussions, a growing number of members – even those who are frequent allies of Boehner – are worried that voting on such a bill would just open them up to primary challenges from the right. They caution that the leadership should hold off until most of the GOP primaries are over, or even wait until the lame duck session of Congress after the midterm elections in November.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry said it was important for House Republicans to lay out their position on immigration, but stopped short of saying they should vote on anything.

“I don’t think it’s good strategy for us to divide ourselves. If we can unify around a plan and lay out our plan for how we would do immigration reform, I think that’s a helpful thing. A vision and a plan are a helpful thing,” McHenry said.

But House GOP campaign chief Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, agreed with Boehner that they need to tackle the issue, telling reporters, “People expect us to solve these problems.”

Walden pointed out that the House schedule puts budget votes and other issues ahead of any debate on immigration, so a vote on that is “probably months out.” And, he added, “most of the primaries will have faded by then, anyway.”

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger did admit that some of his colleagues are reluctant to take on such a controversial issue, but said he thinks it is time to present a Republican solution.

“I’m not worried. I’ll just do what the right thing is at the right time and we’ll see how this debate shapes out,” Kinzinger told reporters.

Boehner deflected questions about the specifics of a GOP bill, but reiterated that he wants to do it in “bite-sized pieces” and that it has to start with border security.

“You can’t begin the process of immigration reform without securing our borders and the ability to enforce our laws,” the speaker said. “Everyone in our conference understands that’s the first step in terms of meaningful reform of this problem.”

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, who heads a group of conservatives in the House, said the GOP does need to address the problems in the current system, but also emphasized that current restrictions need to be effectively enforced and security needs to be beefed up.

While he said he would await what leaders decided to push, Scalise seemed skeptical of a plan granting legal status to those undocumented workers in the country now.

“You do say that somebody right now that’s here illegally can jump ahead of somebody that’s waiting in that line. I think that does create problems for the people who are playing by the rules,” he said.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka slammed the Republican principles, issuing a statement pushing for a pathway to citizenship.

“Seven months after 68 Senators overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration bill, House Republicans respond with a flimsy document that only serves to underscore the callous attitude Republicans have toward our nation’s immigrants,” he said in a statement. “Until we create a functioning immigration system with a pathway to citizenship, ruthless employers will continue to exploit low wage workers, pulling down wages for all.”

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called the outline an “encouraging sign.”

“The draft Standards for Immigration Reform being debated by the House Republicans today mark important progress in ensuring immigration reform is a priority this year.”

14 Comments on this post.

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  • Delia
    30 January 2014 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    The document says, “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) .

    I Totally agree and accept this document , awwww , haleluia Boener , charge them $10,000 dollar fines to each illegal and $5,0000 each year on back taxes . If they dont speak english deport them ASAP. I also agree that they should not have access to any public benefits such as food stamps , a visits to emergency hospitals if they cant pay for it , and no free housing accomodations.

    On those people who will lie about their entry and overstayed visa, check thier passport stamp , check the date of entry and proceed collecting back taxes on that year . For people who were here 10 -15 years that could not pay send them home , theres no way they can come up with large amount of money . $75,000 thousand plus fine of $10,000 will spin thier head . I bet they will leave the country faster than they entered.

    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. (also verify their fake Diploma , which is too often the case, bought through black market.).
    Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.

    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. Implement all this and i will be happy.

  • noz
    31 January 2014 at 1:13 am - Reply

    the usual democrap pelosi line into citizenship is to mobilize power of the socialist democrap party, too disgusting to the core of american values of lawfulness. the conspirator’s movement shameless demand is to reward illegal aliens of amnesty, speedway to citizenships are future voters, obviously the allies of the democraps. reforms once enacted has to be enforced by the federal government, the POTUS, the poorest in record in enforcing the INS laws. thus the reform clause to include the POTUS must enforce what’s in the book of laws, and be liable to the point of impeachment, if found to abuse the INS laws for self political gains, liabilities to extend to political party of POTUS in power.

  • catholic_counter_capitalist
    31 January 2014 at 11:30 am - Reply

    your comment are inhumane as usual, a typical characterization of a fallen angel, who gets their happiness from seeing the sufferings of people who might faced from being fined, deported, alienation and discrimination on the basis of language, elitist preference, all of which are contrary to what Jesus would teach….

    a plea by the pope and barack obama alike to rally for the poor and the undocumented immigrants who are the most vulnerable members of our society from the unjust attacks and exclusionary system, welfare for the elite and wealthy, attacks and hatred of people like you Delia and Noz…

    “Pope Francis exhorts politicians (and business leaders) to guarantee “dignified work, education and health care” for the least among us and address structural causes of economic inequality as current economic structures exclude the poor, and more egregiously, the undocumented immigrant poor. Critics cite the “failed” history of trickle-down collectivism and redistribution of wealth while conveniently ignoring the upward redistribution of wealth: corporate welfare.”

    • Delia
      31 January 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

      CAT IDIOT , I detest idiots, incompetence and liars.

      Well it is kind of a conflict to say you’re Christian and ignore the Commandment — “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.
      And this Commandment — “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s”.

      • catholic_counter_capitalist
        31 January 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply



        ‘Not to share wealth with poor is to steal’: Pope slams capitalism as ‘new tyranny’

        Pope Francis has taken aim at capitalism as “a new tyranny” and is urging world leaders to step up their efforts against poverty and inequality, saying “thou shall not kill” the economy. Francis calls on rich people to share their wealth.
        The existing financial system that fuels the unequal distribution of wealth and violence must be changed, the Pope warned.
        “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” Pope Francis asked an audience at the Vatican.
        The global economic crisis, which has gripped much of Europe and America, has the Pope asking how countries can function, or realize their full economic potential, if they are weighed down by the debts of capitalism.
        “A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules,” the 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, said.
        “To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which has taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits”, the pope’s document says.
        He goes on to explain that in this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which has become the only rule we live by.
        Shameful wealth
        Inequality between the rich and the poor has reached a new threshold, and in his apostolic exhortation to mark the end of the “Year of Faith”, Pope Francis asks for better politicians to heal the scars capitalism made on society.
        “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued Tuesday.
        His calls to service go beyond general good Samaritan deeds, as he asks his followers for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality”.
        “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,” Francis wrote.
        A recent IRS report shows that the wealth of the US’s richest 1 percent has grown by 31 percent, while the rest of the population experienced an income rise of only 1 percent.
        The most recent Oxfam data shows that up to 146 million Europeans are at risk of falling into poverty by 2025 and 50 million Americans are currently suffering from severe financial hardship.
        “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.
        Named after the medieval saint who chose a life of poverty, Pope Francis has gone beyond general calls for fair work, education, and healthcare.
        Newly-elected Pope Francis has stepped up the fight against corrupt capitalism that has hit close to home – he was the first Pope to go after the Vatican bank and openly accused it of fraud and shady offshore tax haven deals.
        In October, Pope Francis removed Vatican bank head Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, after revelations of alleged mafia money laundering and financial impropriety.

  • amanda
    31 January 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    @delia-your comment is so unneccesary! full of hate! i bet it says a lot about you. sometimes you just have to pray for the courage to be kind and keep your mouth shut! you are acting like a troll!!

    • Delia
      31 January 2014 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Amanda !! And who are you to tell me to shut up ? You have no authority to judge , you dont know me . So why dont you take the advice you give me . Seems to me your the troll for butting in the debate that you know nothing about. Or better yet I’ll ignore you due to lack of factual or intellectual content.

      • catholic_counter_capitalist
        31 January 2014 at 5:45 pm - Reply

        She is a troll with an evil intent, so vile that she would even resort to calling them demons when the fact of the matter is the honesty of character she exhibits qualifies mostly of being the queen of the demons….

  • amfil
    31 January 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Its sad when a person cannot debate with reason they use the race card and religion card. They also resort to name calling. Thats very unchristian. Show me anywhere in the Bible Scripture that we should help illegals that broke the law.

    In fact its unfair to those that waited their turn to come here legally.

    America is made of LEGAL immigrants

    • catholic_counter_capitalist
      31 January 2014 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      @amfil…. back in jesus times, people were free to migrate without the stigmatization of being called “ILLEGAL.” the land itself belong to the people.

      with the race card and religion, delia and i go back for more than 1 year of cyber quarrels/fights. you have not read all the racist, inhumane, hatred attacks they have commented on people whom they dislike. how can you debate to distorted lies, attacks of human beings whom they classify as “illegals” or low class, poor, they like to attack because they have no means to fight back??.. PEOPLE WHO COME HERE LEGALLY ARE NOT BEING BUMPED OFF THE LINE. WITH THE RIGHT DOCUMENTATIONS, EDUCATION AND MONEY, IM SURE THE LINE IS WIDE OPEN FOR THEM!!! I USED TO WORK FOR THE INS, I SHOULD KNOW!

      delia and the likes are using the most vulnerable members of society who cant fight for themselves and are easy to target….

      • Delia
        31 January 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

        Ha Ha ha , oh wow how dignitary , Spare us your diatribe .

  • amfil
    31 January 2014 at 5:05 pm - Reply
    • Delia
      31 January 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      Amfil , thanks for the site , its a good read , very informative.

      • catholic_counter_capitalist
        31 January 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

        @Amfil… Please read din pag may time…

        what bothers me about delia and the likes is that they attack PEOPLE…. if they are angry and want to vent that anger, that’s fine with me but it is of no use when that anger is being geared towards people. sana naman, ang systema ang questionin nila hindi tao, especially the ones who endures struggles and sufferings…

        so, if i read anything that is hateful and racist and inhumane, it emboldens me to fight back…. i’ve read it all, been called all kinds of abominable names from her and noz…. so don’t be surprised if i call them evil and demons that they also like to use. but in my case i only use it properly specifically geared towards the delia and noz who are deserving of those names… it isn’t a sin to call someone demon when they blatantly show that characterization on their posts.