President: Kathy Brugger
Editor: Maria Jeffrey

Are House Republicans Going to Tackle Immigration Reform This Year?

          Immigration reform is back in the news, eight months after the Senate passed the Gang of Eight's bill last June but the House declined to take it up. Last Thursday, January 30, House Republicans released a one page draft consisting of six standards they will adhere to as a caucus when pursuing immigration reform. Specifics have yet to be determined but they will be under these penumbrae. Click here to access the document: 
  • Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First: After securing the border and verifying that it is secure, the document says that "there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future."
  • Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System: As the document states, "A fully functioning Entry-Exit System has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years." House Republicans are calling for laws already in place to track those who overstay their visas to be enforced. Many undocumented immigrants are here because they overstayed their visas.
  • Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement: House Republicans want to move away from a paper-based employment verification system to an electronic one.
  • Reforms to the Legal Immigration System: House Republicans want to maximize on the potential of immigrants who come to the United States and pursue degrees, as well as to make sure that temporary workers "do not displace or disadvantage American workers."
  • Youth: For the "Dreamers," House Republicans want to set eligibility standards that young people who were brought to this country illegally as children can strive for and become legal residents and citizens.
  • Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law: This standard deals with transitioning undocumented aliens into some sort of legal status. House Republicans state that while there will be no special path to citizenship for those who have violated our immigration laws, there will be a path for them to live here legally if they are "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)." Further, "criminal aliens, gang members and sex offenders" will be excluded from gaining legal status. 
In Case You Missed It

           Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke about immigration reform on Candy Crowley's State of the Union this past Sunday: 
Bobby Jindal on Immigration Reform: Build high walls with broader gates
Bobby Jindal on Immigration Reform: Build high walls with broader gates

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