House immigration compromise includes tougher path to citizenship than Senate bill
June 28th, 2013
05:36 PM ET
1 year 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. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Expect these "triggers" to be set sometime in the future, based on boarder security, which will never be funded by the Republicans in the House. Suckers... If you believe these guys, who are interested in nothing more than a cheap labor force and playing one group against another, you're mistaken...

    June 29, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Hillcrester

    Boehner is trying desperately to limit the damage that refusal to allow a vote on the Senate's bipartisan bill will do to the GOP. He really doesn't stand a chance. This issue, like SSM and abortion, is just poisonous for the TP-infested House GOP.

    June 29, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. yogi

    Boehner has no backbone, he is an very weak leader, a man without vision and negotiation skills, in other words: Useless. Whatever happens to the immigration bill in the House and then back in the Senate, it is either going to be watered down or killed, and the hispanic community will see right through the true intentions of the GOP. They will loose the 2014 elections with even bigger margins and will only survive on a State level, but even in the red states the GOP will eventually be completely irrelevant.

    June 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. zaaquir

    The bill should include: One or both parents need to be an American Citizen for the child to be considered a citizen. The child can claim their citizenship, once they are 18 years of age if neither parents are American citizens at the time of the child's birth. In addition, English should be declared as the official language of the U.S.

    June 29, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Vence

    Political suicide! Good!!

    June 29, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Matt

    Triggers that will never be met.

    June 29, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. dolly

    What about people who entered US legally, paid lot of money for studying in Universities here and now working legally and paying Taxes, should they wait for minimum 10-14 years to get a Green card , in addition to the hurdles at each and every step of their visa proceesing

    June 29, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

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

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And we Liberals would be correct. From the article above: "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."

    In other words, THEY HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED WORKING ON A BILL!

    June 29, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Larry

    Democrats want immigrants to come here and be able to get welfare and health care benefits, that way they will become lifelong Democrat voters. Republicans want a steady supply of cheap labor so they can help their big business buddies.

    BOTH parties have sold out on us and the victims will be the poor and middle class who have seen their wages stagnate because of immigration.

    June 29, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Claghorn

    I've got two words for the editor of this damned column. First push a four letter verb, in front of a three letter pronoun. You suck, and are partly responsible for the likes of creeps like this getting in office. You can not, and will not publish the truth about the renegade republicans.

    June 29, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Jim Reilly

    House wants all introduced Bills to be approved by the Senate first, because the House can't get everyone on the same page to pass anything. So, now that the Senate has approval for Immigration reform bill as requested by the House, the House wants a different bill, go figure. Seems they just like to disagree for the sake of disagreeing just to appear relevant when if fact most American hate the Congress of the US for there inability to get consensus of its members. American want them to agree with this Senate bill that moves America forward.

    June 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. yogi

    The GOP way of "governing" is a sham, and the republicans have no shame, they are beyond pathetic.

    June 29, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Ron L

    Just as I thought...the Republicans in the House were determined to make the passage of the bill more and more difficult. Once the Senate increased the border security the House Republicans had to take it a notch higher. They know if they set it high enough the Democrats are going to begin stop supporting it and THEN they will say it FAILED because of the Democrats. The same tactic that was used in the FARM BILL fiasco...IT IS SICKENING political maneuvering.

    June 29, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Wm Johnson

    Let's see now the Senate Immigration bill, if passed, would add at least 16 million new legal residents to the U.S. Since immigrants vote about 80% of the time for Democrats, little wonder Democrats want to pass this legislation. The republicans would never pick up enough Hispanic votes to make up this new voting pool. The illegals here are about 50% high school drop outs earning about $20,000/year paying less than 15% Federal taxes by CBOs own estimates. This salary group is highly subsidized by the upper 40% of taxpayers and in today's welfare state would never pay their own way. Why do you think they want to move here? The CBO estimates they would pay their way and more by ignoring all State expenses like education, medicaid, etc. and all "indirect" Federal payments like National defense, Homeland Security, the judicial system, debt payment etc. (only residents pay this?) and stops their estimates before nearly any of today's illegals would start drawing Social security. The Heritage foundation estimates cost of the Senate bill including all state expenses and indirect federal expenses would be more than $5,000 Billion paid for by taxpayers over 50 years– a much more realistic estimates. Unfortunately the Senate bill tries to advance the Democratic party and sends the hefty bill to the rest of us.

    June 29, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Dana Ely

    Can't anybody extrapolate? We amnestied 2.7 million in the Immigration Reform Act of 1986, 27 years later we are talking about 11 million. Using the same numbers, 27 years from now we will be talking about approximately four times 11 million or 44 million in 2040.
    Do you like traffic jams?
    More realistically do your children and grandchildren like traffic jams?
    If this bill becomes law, your grandchildren, if they have any assets, will be taxed out of the middle class to support these new immigrants.

    Another thing, the law of supply and demand has been repealed by the American media when it comes to Labor and a greater supply of Labor via these immigrants. More supply(immigrants) does not equal cheaper price to the reporters of these immigration stories.

    June 29, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Kg

    EVerify first. No one is hired in this country without without a national system of verifying legal residency. $10,00.00 fine on anyone who hires illegals. No citizenship at all,ever. Issue legal status for those who have been working and have children in schools. They should never become eligible for welfare or SS. The rest will go back once they can't find jobs. This would be the only acceptable solution for Americans!

    June 29, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Stuart

    As Sarah Palin has said that the Republicans have insulted Hispanics but it's not in the way she has said it. Any Republican bill would be disingenuous because any border expense at border protection would never be agreed to by them.The party of old white men will soon be irrelevant because of their tactics. Demographics will see to that and no voter suppression and illegal gerrymandering will fix their problem. Could it be that they are interested in changing our democracy to an oligarchy where only a few can vote and make all the rules?

    June 29, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. RD

    Because millions of people refuse to follow the path as currently required by US law. Waste more time and take more money – that's ALL this latest "path" is about. This one won't be followed either and none of the "rules" will ever be enforced. Fooled us once...and we're paying for it now.

    June 29, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. qa

    border security is just a bunch of bs that the politicans want you to believe.......going after peole in the country working, the business,s...and making it illegal to work here period....believe me,,they woud stop coming

    June 29, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. andres

    If anyone thinks that this is anything more than window dressing to make the immigration reform palatible to the public you have been fooled once again.

    Set aside how you feel about immigration reform, and read some history. The last time we had amnesty very similar provisions were in the bill, but somehow the border security was never bolstered simply because no funding was made available. History IS repeating itself.

    June 30, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  21. steve from largo

    ENFORCE the 1986 amnesty NOW! No more amnesties and no citizenship to the ILLEGALS. The legislature needs to worry about the votes of the American citizens and not the illegals and their offspring.

    June 30, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  22. gstlab3

    I think the government is just playing all of us and they have been creating the North American Union as an integrated economic block of the new world order.

    we are all slves to the tax man and the ever watchfull eyes of the IRS, CIA, FBI, DHS and those guys at the FEMA camps are just waiting for us to be brought in by the railroad boxcar load.

    the next big thing is a pandemic.,
    mark my words it's in the pipeline coming to the next flu season near you.

    June 30, 2013 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  23. BuddyGC

    That's how the Senate bill from the gang of 8 was suppose to be when they first announced it but surprise there was no real border security...

    A temporary visa until the border was secured was always the best solution.

    Puts everyone's skin in the game to ensue the border get's secured.
    For the illegal alien workers, the more pressure you put on Democrats to get security in place, the faster you can start your pathway to citizenship

    It stops Obama from simply ignoring border security measures passed by Congress.
    and unlike the senate bill that leaves the decision of where they fence shold be built and what other secuiry measures should be in place, to Janet Napalitano, this bill specifies what those security measure should be.

    The House, even when in House has always been more bi-partisan than the Senate, just by the fact it's hard for a party to control 200 mebers

    June 30, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  24. CT_Yank

    Impossible to trust the GOP House. Can't wait for the 2014 cleaning.

    June 30, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  25. Organic1

    The House leadership is fond of saying 'We are waiting for the Senate' for bills, in the next breath they say 'We will write our own bill' – I call that circular references, or another excuse to do nothing except obstruct this nation.

    June 30, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
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