Report: House GOP to back legal status in immigration principles

The House GOP’s new immigration framework will include support for a path to legal status for immigrants living in the country illegally, according to The New York Times

The one-page outline specifically opposes a “special pathway to citizenship,” according to the report. 

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The GOP’s statement of principles on immigration reform will, however, endorse a pathway to citizenship for children who were brought to the country illegally, according to the report. The outline quotes a passage from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has previously endorsed the proposal. 

The principles include caveats as well, including the requirement that the United States secure its borders and current immigration laws are fully enforced, before those living in the country are granted legal status. 

The GOP principles also express frustration that U.S. universities educate some of the best students from around the world only to see them leave the country because they cannot obtain a green card. 

The Times notes the principles outline how far the GOP is willing to go on immigration, rather than offer a starting point for negotiations. 

The outline comes ahead of a GOP retreat scheduled for later in the week, in which immigration is slated to be a main topic. 

It is unclear if Democrats would support a proposal that does not grant citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally. And the principles could also receive flak from more conservative Republicans. 

As a preview last week, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he backs granting legal status, not a new pathway to citizenship, for people living in the country illegally. 

The Senate approved a comprehensive immigration package last year that included a pathway to citizenship, but it has stalled in the House.