House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.,surprised people Tuesday when he indicated that he would support the bipartisan legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. (Photo : Reuters)
It looks as if U.S. representatives in the Republican Party--long opposed to providing a pathway to immigration for undocumented Republicans--may be ready to reconsider their position, which bodes well for pending immigration reform proposals on Capitol Hill.
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., raised some eyebrows during a speech Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., in which he looked like he would be open to discussing the DREAM Act, which allows young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a childhood age to stay in the country.
"One of the great founding principles of our county was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents," Cantor said.
Cantor's comments gave hope to the idea that the GOP-controlled House, which has opposed a path to citizenship for years, could be open to considering new legislation that would create such a pathway.
The recent bipartisan proposal from the "Gang of Eight" U.S. Senators would create such a pathway, set with several conditions that would increase border security, install a guest worker program and have businesses implement stronger background checks on immigration statuses of workers.
Candor voiced his support for the bipartisan plan during his speech. However, he isn't the only prominent Republican speaking out on the need for Congress to do something on the issue.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told reporters that same day that the GOP needed to pursue passing immigration reforms that were similar to the plans that former President Bush proposed in his second term in office; Bush's plan also proposed a path to citizenship but was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate at the time.
"We're going to have to accept that many of these people - the good, law-abiding ones - are going to become citizens," Giuliani told reporters. The former mayor added that immigrants should be allowed to apply for permanent residence in the U.S. once the border was secured properly.
However, there are some progressive pro-immigration groups who have expressed hesitance on passing any bills on immigration reform that require securing the border as a precondition,
Marielena Hincapie of the National Immigration Law Center is one of them.
"That is not the starting point," Hincapie said when asked about part of the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform proposal that requires border security. "What we are demanding is a road to citizenship that's clear, that's direct, not contingent at all on additional enforcement."
That could be a problem, as Republicans such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is part of the "Gang of Eight", have stated opposition to passing any immigration reform bill that doesn't include securing the border as part of the deal.