Paul Ryan Co-Writing Bill Legalizing America's Illegal Immigrants

House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is writing a bill that would grant legal status to America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants, The New York Times reports.

“Republican Representatives Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida have been working on legislation that includes a process by which immigrants here illegally could ‘get right with the law’ and eventually become citizens,” the Times’ Eric Lipton and Ashley Parker wrote on Friday in a piece about immigration reform.

While the Times reported here, and Politico reported on Friday morning, that the Speaker and other House GOP leadership figures are privately saying they do not expect a vote on immigration measures this year, publicly they say they want to hold a vote on something on the floor of the House. 

Technically, there are only 19 legislative days left in 2013’s calendar for the House, so doing so would be difficult. But it appears, according to liberal blogger Greg Sargent, that the public appearance of immigration reform being “dead” may be a coordinated leak system from the House GOP leadership in order to distract conservatives. 

“Either GOP leaders are leaking that there will be no vote, in order to quiet fears on the right while they decide what to vote on,” Sargent wrote on Friday. “Or they are letting it be known that they “hope” to have a vote, to defer any political fallout that might come from killing reform, in the full intention of doing just that. Take your pick.”

Sargent, a liberal blogger connected in Democratic Party circles, said aides to leftist lawmakers believe the House GOP leadership is faking this appearance of amnesty being “dead” to give them clearance to shore up support—all part of a plan to distract conservatives.

“For what it’s worth, Democratic aides and immigration reform advocates don’t believe House GOP leaders have made any decision to kill reform or on whether to hold votes this year,” Sargent wrote

They think leaks are meant to buy maneuvering room while the various proposals – Eric Cantor’s Kids Act, which only gives citizenship to the DREAMers, or the piecemeal legalization proposal being worked on — take shape. This maneuvering room would also allow pro-reform Republicans time to bring other GOP lawmakers who are open to reform but are still steamed by the shutdown defeat — such as Raul Labrador — back into the fold.

The Times noted the difference between the public and private strategies from GOP leadership in its piece. “House Republican leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, among others, support taking up their own immigration legislation this year, given that the Senate has already passed a comprehensive bill,” The Times wrote. “But privately, some House Republican officials are saying that they do not expect any major legislation to move through the House this year, or perhaps not even until 2015, in advance of the next presidential election. There is intense division within the party over the proposals.”

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