Republican leaders in the House of Representatives released a long-awaited list of standards on immigration reform legislation on Thursday. The announcement comes seven months after the Senate approved its own comprehensive bill that stalled in the House.
The GOP standards include a pathway to citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. as children, and legal status for the remaining 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country. Like the Senate bill, the Republican standards also support changes to the visa system, increased border security and create a biometric system to track who is entering or exiting the United States.
"I believe these standards represent a fair, principled way for us to solve this issue, beginning with securing our borders and enforcing our laws," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. Even with the standards, however, it remains to be seen whether comprehensive immigration reform—a priority for President Barack Obama—will become law this year.
From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
What the U.S. Midterms Mean for Immigration, Hemispheric Policy
AQ’s Jason Marczak writes in the Americas Quarterly blog that Republican congressional victories in the November 2 U.S. mid-term vote could spell setbacks for progress on comprehensive immigration reform. “[I]f the Pledge to America—the Republicans’ legislative agenda unveiled in September—is any indication, the new House leadership’s immigration focus will be on issues of border enforcement, immigration law enforcement and strengthening visa security," writes Marczak. "Plans do not include any focus on creating a path toward legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the shadows.” In terms of foreign policy, COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth writes in the National Journal’s national security blog to expect a “harder line” with the Republican House, including a reversal on easing restrictions against Cuba, a stronger position against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and less efforts to stop the flow of illicit arms into Mexico.