House Dems to unveil immigration package with citizenship path

House Democrats plan to unveil a comprehensive immigration reform package Wednesday that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

{mosads}According to a Democratic aide, the bill will be similar to a package passed through the Senate earlier this year that also included a citizenship pathway.

House Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), will hold a press conference at noon to unveil the plan.

“While Congress might seem exceptionally dysfunctional and partisan right now, House Democrats will put forward a compromise immigration reform bill that both Democrats and Republicans should be able to support,” the Democratic aide said of the plan.

The Democrats’ plan would use the final version of the bill passed out of the Senate. One major change would be to use a House-passed border security proposal rather than one negotiated in the Senate.

The House proposal would incorporate a border security bill passed out of the House Homeland Security Committee by a unanimous vote and sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), which would lay down specific metrics for border security.  

It would substitute out the Senate’s border security amendment negotiated before passage earlier this year, which would have doubled the amount of agents along the southern border and authorized the construction of a 700-mile-long fence, costing $30 billion. The amendment was attached as a way to bring more Republicans to the table in the Senate.

Early reports said the plan would be based off the bipartisan House immigration working group that stalled earlier this year. However, the new proposal is a clean bill that incorporates the Senate framework.

The unveiling comes on the second day of a government shutdown, after both parties failed to come to a resolution to fund the government.

President Obama and his wife canceled previously scheduled remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Wednesday because of the shutdown.

The proposal is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled House. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has balked at introducing the Senate-passed bill. Republicans, instead, have argued for a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, starting with increased border security. 

The bipartisan immigration group in the House took a blow earlier this year when Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) dropped out. Late last month, two more Republicans exited, leaving four Democrats and one Republican.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), one of the leaders of the group, has shifted his focus to put pressure on the Speaker. Immigration rallies are scheduled around the country this weekend and into next week.

“It is clear the bipartisan group’s work was not being embraced by Republican leaders, so this allows us to put the focus squarely on Speaker Boehner and his lieutenants to decide if they are serious about reform and if so, to do something more than talk,” Gutiérrez said last month after Republicans dropped out of the group.

— This story was originally posted at 7:31 a.m. and has been updated.

Tags Boehner Joe Garcia John Boehner Xavier Becerra
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