During Congress’s recess, immigration activist groups have been hard at work trying to gain support for the reform bill within their local areas. In a time when House Republicans have expressed opposition to the immigration bill, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake said that they will continue to remain optimistic that the House will consider a bill that includes a path to citizenship.
Certain lawmakers remain hopeful that the bill will pass with minor changes rather than reconstructing a bill from scratch. Senators at a town hall meeting last Tuesday discussed the Senate’s measure to pass the bill through a bipartisan compromise. Sen. John McCain responded to questions about where the House stands on key issues such as the path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants which has divided Republicans for months now. McCain told reporters that he would not accept that the House of Representatives would absolutely reject a path to citizenship. Many believe that deportation of undocumented immigrants is not an option so there will have to be some sort of path in the end-although it may not exactly mirror the Senate’s provision.
The Republican National Committee recently passed a resolution that rejects a path to citizenship and instead provides renewable work permits. Other members have stepped away from supporting a path that would lead to permanent residence. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said how would not support “a special pathway” to citizenship. “There is no permanent underclass,” he said, “There is no distinction other than to say people who enter here unlawfully will not get an advantage over people who have lawfully immigrated.” Even with these few lawmakers stepping away from the majority who believe in legalizing undocumented immigrants, House Republicans have softened their stance over citizenship since the beginning of the recess. Of the senators who live in Border States and may arguably have the best insight on the immigration debate, most support citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Additionally, constituent voters living in the swing districts also want Republicans to help pass reform as several recent studies have indicated. As McCain and Flake work to dismiss rumors regarding the potential “amnesty” for immigrants, a path to citizenship will most likely be passed in some form if lawmakers continue in this direction.
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