A top House Democrat who has been one of the most vocal advocates of amnesty said Friday that the GOP leadership’s “immigration principles” document that was unveiled Thursday does not rule out citizenship for the country’s illegal immigrants.
“You know what, the Republicans aren’t saying they must permanently stay in the status,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) reportedly said on a conference call in reference to the “probationary” work permits that may be proposed in future legislation. “That is not what they are saying. So there isn’t any permanent second-class citizenship, as I’ve read. Now a lot of this is going to be in the specifics.”
The GOP leadership’s “Standards of Immigration Reform” document, which lacked specific details as Gutierrez noted, states that there will be no “special pathway to citizenship” for the country’s illegal immigrants.
Gutierrez’s interpretation that illegal immigrants may ultimately be put on a path to citizenship is exactly what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) suggested Wednesday. Gutierrez has said Ryan was his “ally” in his quest to legalize all of the country’s illegal immigrants.
Chuck Todd, the host of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, pressed Ryan on Wednesday about whether citizenship was on the table and will ever be available to illegal immigrants. On that occasion, “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.”
Ryan also said that not only would illegal immigrants be eligible for “probationary” work permits before border security and enforcement metrics are met, but also that illegal immigrants would ultimately be able to obtain green cards once more provisions and metrics are met. Moreover, after illegal immigrants obtain green cards, they would 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.
One of the primary reasons those like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have fiercely opposed the House’s “immigration reform” efforts is that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that mass amnesty and an influx of foreign workers would lower the wages of American workers across all sectors and income levels.
On Friday, Sessions declared that an emerging immigration proposal based on the “immigration principles” document “appears to resemble the Senate plan: it provides the initial grant of amnesty before enforcement, it would surge the already unprecedented level of legal lesser-skilled immigration to the U.S. that is reducing wages and increasing unemployment, and it would offer eventual citizenship to a large number of illegal immigrants and visa overstays.”
“House leaders should support – not ignore – the immigration officers pleading for help,” Sessions said. “They should stand with – not against – unemployed American workers. And they should expose – not join – the President’s campaign to pass an immigration plan that will hollow out our shrinking middle class.”