House GOP leaders offer immigration standards

David LightmanTribune News Service

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House Republican leaders Thursday proposed legal status for undocumented immigrants, a position aimed at helping  the party overcome suggestions that it’s intolerant—but at the same time a view likely to further divided an already-torn Republican party.

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                The brief statement, which is being discussed by House Republicans in private meetings, insists “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.”

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Instead, it 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.”

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And, the statement says, “ none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.”

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The principles got a warm response from a key Democrat.

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“ While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept,” said Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “It is a long, hard road but the door is open.”

House Republican immigration proposal
David Lightman
McClatchy Washington Bureau