The U.S. House unveiled a standard of principles for immigration reform Thursday afternoon.
The standards allow for undocumented immigrants to live legally in the country, but does not provide a path to actual citizenship.
“Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law,” the new Republican principles state. “There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).”
The one-page document calls for "enforcement triggers" to take place before legal status can be attained, but does not detail the specifics of those triggers.
Legal status would not be offered to “criminals, gang members and sex offenders,” but the principles do provide legal residency and citizenship for children who were brought to the country illegally “through no fault of their own.”
The standards also call for border and interior security requirements, a visa tracking system, changes to the temporary worker and high-skilled visa programs, and a new E-verify system for employers. The principles also state that “there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future.”
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) told The Hill that he is unsure about the GOP's plan considering the lack of specificity.
“The details really matter and I have not seen anything concrete from the Republicans so I am not in a position to say 'yes' or 'no' to anything,” the Illinois congressman said.
There are no details as to when, or if, Republicans will introduce an actual bill to push immigration reform forward.