The internet is abuzz with reports that John Boehner and the House Republicans are in the process of drafting their “principles of immigration reform.” A document that purports to outline the GOP’s position on all facets of the immigration debate: border security, legalization of the undocumented, modernization of quotas and caps, enforcement, and employment verification.
The release of the “principles” is the eulogy for last summer’s Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, Senate Bill 744. That bill was the result of brokering by Senate leadership from both Republicans and Democrats. Despite the bipartisan nature of the bill it never was seriously considered by the House – mainly because conservative and tea party House members thought that S.744 was too lenient on punishment for the undocumented. The Senate Bill called for a minimum of 13 years before citizenship.
Conservative Republicans other problem with S.77 was they wanted a secure southern border before any material legalization program. It seems that fully securing the 2,000 southern border is an impossibility without a massive expenditure.
House Maj. Leader Boehner (R-OH) is expected to release the “principles of immigration reform” in advance of the President’s January 28, 2014 State of the Union address. These two issues – security on the southern border and legalization -- are the key ones to look for in the Republicans “principles of immigration reform” release. If the GOP really wants immigration reform in 2014 these two issues will be raised in a way that allows for a compromise with Democrats. On the other hand if the “principles of immigration reform” contains unrealistic security aims and onerous legalization pathways, then prospects of immigration reform in 2014 will suffer the same fate as S.744.