Republican leadership announces “principles” for immigration reform, but few details
Finally, the Republican leadership has at last signaled what it is for instead of repeatedly telling the American people what it is against. Yesterday, the Republican leadership of the House, John Boehner from Ohio, issued a one-page outline of immigration reform principles that it proposes be enacted to “reform” the current immigration system. The provisions include an entry/exit visa tracking system, enhanced border security, workplace verification, enhanced legal immigration for high-skilled workers, a guest-worker program, an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for children brought to the US by their parents, a non-specific way for others living here without proper immigration status to “get right with the law.”
But as in all policy issues and proposals, what really matters is the details. For example, the “principle” that those who are living and working here without proper legal status “must get right with the law” specifically states that there will be no path to citizenship for these people. It appears that the already complicated immigration law will create another new layer or status (not quite a lawful permanent resident but not a non-immigrant, either) where the person has to admit his/her culpability, pass a background check, 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. And none of that can happen until unspecified “enforcement triggers” are implemented.
Keep your eyes open for piecemeal legislation to be introduced in the House. While it appears the House intends to pass some sort of change to the immigration law, the details are still very sketchy.