Before House Republicans leaders unveiled their “immigration principles” at a retreat in Maryland, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) revealed that Republicans will push to allow illegal immigrants to legally work in the United States–and potentially gain citizenship–even before enforcement and border security provisions are met.
In a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, Ryan told host Chuck Todd that illegal immigrants who receive a probationary work permit will be eligible for a “non-probationary” work permit under the House Republican plan after a set of provisions are met. They would then be eligible for a green card once they get to the “back of the line” if more provisions and metrics are met. Once a green card is obtained, the previously illegal immigrant will then be allowed to apply for citizenship.
We want a system that you can come out of the shadows. You can get a work permit and you can be on probation. And yet to satisfy the terms of your probation, while the border is getting secured, while interior enforcement–if those things are met–you satisfy the terms of your probation, you’re not on welfare, you pay a fine, you learn English and civics and the border’s been secured and interior enforcement independently verified, then you can get a regular work permit.
Todd pressed Ryan about whether citizenship was on the table and whether citizenship will ever be available to illegal immigrants. On both occasions, Ryan asserted that this was not a “special pathway to citizenship” without denying that it was a potential path for all the country’s illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), one of the most prominent advocates of amnesty, has previously said that Ryan was his “ally” in his quest to legalize all of the country’s illegal immigrants.
It will take longer for illegal immigrants to potentially get citizenship under the plan that House Republicans will push than the Senate’s bill, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages American workers while not solving the illegal immigration problem in the future; Ryan said rectifying this issue was one of the purposes of the House Republican plan. Sixteen House Republicans recently declared that an influx of more workers in a stagnant economy may be the “final economic blow” for American workers.
Ryan also mentioned that House Republicans wanted to push for enforcement measures that President Barack Obama could not ignore. However, the federal government’s disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website may make that harder to sell because much of the border security metrics and triggers will be reliant on the systems and information technology that failed in the initial implementation of Obamacare.