House Republicans are supposed to offer a statement of principles guiding their immigration strategy later this week, but Wednesday, they got a boost from the Democratic side.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had a warm response to the idea of principles guiding an immigration overhaul.
She was talking about how President Barack Obama urged action.
"We also welcome the bipartisan conciliatory gesture of the president to work in a bipartisan way on immigration reform," she told her weekly news conference, "which I hope will start to roll out when our colleagues come back from their issues conference."
As for Republicans, Pelosi said, " They're going to be establishing their principles, as you know. We all are eager to see them.
" I'm assured by the speaker that they will be good and...acceptable to probably all of us, and I hope that is the case."
She said specifics were not discussed, but that any legislation has to have some path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. A bill passed by the Senate last year has a 13-year path to citizenship, but House Republicans have balked.
"We didn't talk about it at that level of detail in terms of the provisions of the bill, just principles," she explained. "For example, we have our principles, which we've established...by the House Democratic Caucus going back years. And they are about securing our border, protecting our workers, uniting our families and having a path to citizenship."
Pelosi said of the Republican plan, "I don't know the form that they will take it. I think they're changing it without saying its principles, its standards. And we'll see that is. But I believe it is a good faith effort to find common ground. And we look forward to seeing what they are."
Suppose, she was asked, the Republicans offer only a path to legalization.
"Any proposal is a starter. The starter is that's not where we're going to go. But in our caucus there has to be a path to citizenship," she said.
"That doesn't mean -- as the Senate bill has, the Senate bill does not have a path citizenship for everyone. It's, say 11 million people, and theirs covers 8 million people. And the others may get on a path, but the clearer path is a for a bigger chunk.
"When we talk about a path to citizenship, it doesn't say you're instantly a citizen, all of you. No, there are hurdles to get over, the path is in some ways, an arduous one, and people have to go down the path to make it happen. But we need to have that path."
McClatchy Washington Bureau