House immigration compromise includes tougher path to citizenship than Senate bill
June 28th, 2013
05:36 PM ET
10 months ago

House immigration compromise includes tougher path to citizenship than Senate bill

Washington (CNN) - An emerging immigration compromise in the House differs sharply from the measure passed by the Senate this week by making it harder for undocumented immigrants to get on a path to citizenship.

Members of the bipartisan House group negotiating the bill would require that border security measures are in place before any process toward eventual citizenship could begin. Lawmakers working on the House plan agreed to include security "triggers" to their proposal in hopes of attracting support from more House Republicans who have been highly critical of the Senate bill. The Senate rejected a similar GOP proposal.

"Border security triggers the rest of it," Texas Republican Rep John Carter, one of seven lawmakers working on an immigration deal, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday.

A Democratic congressional source familiar with the House discussions told CNN "there are triggers that must be met before registration and deferred adjudication can begin," referring to the citizenship process for those 11 million undocumented workers already in the country.

This approach contrasts with the Senate immigration bill that passed Thursday, which allows undocumented workers in the country to gain provisional legal status once immigration legislation is signed into law, but then requires a series of security and enforcement provisions to be in place before those immigrants can gain full citizenship.

Carter declined to lay out the details in the House plan, only saying "certain triggers have to be met."

The Democratic source told CNN that in addition to the border security trigger, the House proposal also contains requirements for interior enforcement and so-called "e-verify" rules that employers would need to meet to demonstrate they are tracking potential employees who might be in the country illegally.

The Senate immigration bill, which passed on Thursday, was already a non-starter for most House conservatives. Many House Republicans say they will not agree to any path to citizenship before getting assurances that what they see as the larger issue is addressed first– inadequate controls at the border. They also want a major crack down on those overstaying their visas inside the U.S.

House Speaker John Boehner repeated Thursday that has no intention of taking up the Senate passed immigration bill, and said the House would work on its own immigration measures. The House Judiciary Committee has already passed a series of smaller bills. Boehner has called on the bipartisan group to finish its work, though he hasn’t promised a vote on the measure.

Mindful of his party's focus on security issues, the speaker also stressed he wants strong enforcement measures in order to avoid another influx of undocumented workers, which many argue was the result of the last major congressional effort on immigration reform. "People have to have confidence that the border is secure before anything else is really going to work. Otherwise, we repeat the mistakes of 1986," Boehner said.

Rep Mario Diaz Balart, R-Florida, another Republican working on the House comprehensive immigration bill, wouldn't give details on the bill's border security provisions, but he said they would be different from the Senate, and the issue is central to putting together a reform package that would get significant bipartisan support in the House.

"If we're going to do this it has to be enforceable," Diaz-Balart said.

It’s unclear how House Democrats will respond to the inclusion of these triggers.

Without mentioning any specifics, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday that Democrats should swallow some concessions and get behind the bill that the bipartisan group of lawmakers is drafting.

Referring to that proposal Pelosi said it was "not everything I would have wanted in a bill, nonetheless a compromise, and one that we can all support." She conceded the plan included "poison pills" which she called "not lethal."

While Carter emphasized border security was a key part of the deal the group was discussing, he also said it's unrealistic to completely prevent all illegal crossings.

"Anybody who thinks you can totally secure the southern border has never been to southern border. I've been down there all my life. I'm telling you, you can build a 40 foot wall and put machine guns on it you can't secure the southern border. There's too much wild country," Carter said.

Carter said he expects the bipartisan House group to finish its bill over the July 4th congressional recess. The Democratic source told CNN that after a brief huddle on Friday afternoon the bipartisan House group committed to moving ahead with its work. For the last several weeks members of the group have claimed that there were on the verge of unveiling legislation, but they've repeatedly hit delays and still haven’t' released any outline or details.

But the Texas Republican suggested there was a push from House Speaker John Boehner to finalize the bill. He said Boehner hasn’t weighed in on substance of the immigration effort, but wants it done. "All he's said was ‘finish it,’" Carter said.


Filed under: House • Immigration
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Trigger" = GOP/Teatroll code for "impractical, unattainable, unquantifiable goal left entirely up to the southern red states to determine whether it has been met so that it's never met."

    June 28, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. California Gary

    Oh yes........what we need is a huge wall complete with armed guards and mounted machine guns to shoot anyone trying to cross the border........much like what stood between East and West Germany years ago. That was so effective. But wait a minute......wasn't Reagan's biggest moment when he said "Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall"? So which is it GOP....is a big wall and armed guards a good thing or a bad thing? I'm a little confused by your stance.

    June 28, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    There MUST BE, a clear and unavoidable ban on being allowed to vote, until AFTER 2016, or no bill should be passed.

    June 28, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Dean

    Simple illegal immigrant solution.
    The CEO/owner and the personnel director/hiring person of a business or corporation who hires am illegal alien gets 3 month jail time for each occurrance.
    Any federal/state employee who gives an illegal alien a service that is funded by taxpayers is terminated immediately and gets 3 months jail time.
    Illegal alien problem solved. They will all go home and quit coming here.
    We don't need a 1000 plus page immigration bill that is loaded with pork.

    June 28, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. emskadittle

    Wow, hiring 20000 new government union workers, building a 1000 mile wall, adding regulations to business and amnesty, are they really republicans?

    June 28, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    This nation is the nation of immigrants. Yes, to certain extent we need to tighten it–nevertheless we need lot of brainy people with honesty and tax-abiding. We sure do not need all junk like nineteen guys that collapsed out trade center.

    June 28, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. California

    Have to discourage them somehow but I guess not according to demcorats who would rather give the world amnesty and just open the borders.

    June 28, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. Liberals/Democrats are Parasites at best

    Democrats want to give whole countries amnesty now.

    June 28, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Michael Benjamin

    Since the federal government has failed to enforce its immigration laws anyone here beyond the statute of limitations should be given a pass. They should get green cards, but not be eligible for citizenship. Their offspring are citizens and that should be enough.

    June 28, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Michael Benjamin

    Just curious. Since the federal government has not been able to prevent illegal drugs from crossing the border why should we think their efforts will be any better in controlling illegal immigration. All the proposed money will do is make a few corporations balance sheets go the roof and more government workers will be added to the federal payroll. The rest of the money will go in to the sink hole of federal spending.

    June 28, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    The GOP isn't serious about immigration reform, they never have been, and they never will be. Any "compromising" that Democrats do (which seems to be the norm, since the GOP won't compromise) will result in a watered-down bill, or no bill at all, since the GOP votes against their own bills as well. The GOP is facing certain extinction, and my feeling is, the sooner the better. The GOP are government parasites, they're the real "welfare queens", getting six-figure pay and full benefits for not doing a damn thing. If America wants a smaller, more effective government, vote out all Republicans, problem solved.

    June 28, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Larry

    The Republicans are really very afraid of the way the NEW citizens (When they become citizens) may vote.

    June 28, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. laurent marouf

    I believe is time for both partty's to finaly come togother and fix this miserble probleme congradulation for both partty's

    June 28, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. Vence

    Wow!! The GOP is acting rational with this bill!

    June 28, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. David in Tampa

    Re Pub la can'ts have all sorts of cash for a rusty ugly fence and 22,000 government employees that they hate so much. Jeez guys.... even the communists have nice fences.

    June 28, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. AmericanVoice

    I am agree with GOP. However, my opinion is give them a unlimited working visas but no green card or citizenship becoz they broke the law so they dont deserve to be rewarded.

    June 28, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  17. orrball

    I wonder how much Polosi district is getting in pork

    June 28, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Carla

    There are already laws on immigration including finishing the fence at the border. Don't write new laws. Enforce the ones we already have!

    June 28, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  19. Getoverit

    But, wait. You Liberals assured me that the House didn't have a bill....?????

    June 29, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. Michael Benjamin

    The dirty little secret is the 11 million or so are here to stay. It would be prohibitively expensive and impractical o deport that many people. If the Democrats and Republicans fail on a compromise the status quo will remain. All the reasons for doing something in the first place will go unfulfilled. The Democrat controlled Senate has passed its bill. Republicans must act. Republicans will suffer the most if immigration reform is not passed this year.

    June 29, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    No Repub gave a rat's fanny about illegal immigration before Karl Rove introduced it as a wedge issue back in about 2006. Until then, Repubs loved how businesses laid off living-wage Americans and hire illegals, whom they could pay dirt wages with no benefits – not even Workman's Comp. Get injured? You're fired! Don't like it? Tough – and if you complain about anything, I'll report you to the INS.

    Repubs are sickening!

    June 29, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  22. Libereightme

    The Tea Party wingnuts will create an immigration bill that they know won't pass the Senate, then they'll try to push the blame on Democrats and Obama, just like everything else.

    June 29, 2013 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  23. Al

    So, the big and only question should be is this going to be a repeat of the 1986 amnesty plan to give away amnesty and secure the border, and then have the next Congress pull the funding from securing the border. This is why the border should be secured first, then create the path for citizenship after fines and other fees are paid for.

    June 29, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  24. nwg6011

    The republicans are working on an immigration bill with a tougher path to citizenship? Sounds good to me.
    At least now they're willing to compromise a little. And that can go a long way.

    June 29, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  25. Bob

    Sounds much more logical than the current lame-duck that has passed through the senate.

    June 29, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
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