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Rep. Bob Goodlatte said the meeting offers lawmakers a chance to “weigh in” on the issue.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Many political observers predict a potential clash over key elements of immigration reform at a private meeting of the Republican caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives today.
But U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, makes no mention of a possible showdown between the moderate and conservative flanks, who disagree over the approach to reform, especially giving a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants.
“This meeting provides an opportunity to educate House Republicans on the four immigration bills the House Judiciary Committee has produced and also offers members an opportunity to weigh in on immigration,” Goodlatte, who is chairman of the committee, said in an interview Tuesday.
“Since the beginning of the year, Trey Gowdy — the chairman of the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee — and I have been hosting educational briefings for members of Congress on our immigration laws and the problems that need to be fixed,” Goodlatte said.
“Wednesday’s meeting builds on these briefings by allowing House Republicans to ask questions and offer their ideas on how to improve our immigration system,” he said.
GOP leaders are deliberating how to deal with immigration reform after the Senate passed its White House-backed legislation on a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32.
Now the ball may be stuck in the House, because Speaker John Boehner has ruled out voting on the Senate bill, or on any immigration bill not supported by the majority of his caucus.
Democrats insisted Tuesday they will not agree to any immigration bill that lacks a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.
But Goodlatte said that the situation of those without documentation who are already in the country needs to be addressed.
“Many House Republicans want to find a way to bring those living unlawfully out of the shadows, but the road forward remains to be determined,” he said. “Wednesday’s meeting affords members the opportunity to discuss legalization, among other immigration issues, and continue the conversation on how we address this issue.”
Instead of citizenship, Goodlatte has proposed a pathway to legal standing, similar to immigrants who have green cards. But he has also said that he would consider offering some young people brought illegally to the U.S. as children a chance to become citizens.
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