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Where Republicans stand on immigration reform

January 31, 2014, at 1:42 PM
 
Boehner's party is divided over immigration reform.

Boehner's party is divided over immigration reform. Photo: (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

House Republican leaders released a set of "principles" to guide the upcoming debate on immigration reform.

The outline provides a path to citizenship for young people brought to the United States as children, makes changes to the visa system, and improves border security with an electronic fingerprint system.

But as USA Today notes, "The principles do not make clear whether most undocumented immigrants would ever be able to apply for green cards or become U.S. citizens."

Republicans fall into three groups on the issue. One group led by the House leadership and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) backs a path to citizenship, recognizing the demographic challenge facing the Republican Party in future elections if Republicans do not make overtures to Latino voters.

Another group led by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) opposes any bill under any circumstances.

But the largest group — and perhaps the most problematic one for House GOP leaders — is composed of lawmakers who worry about taking on the controversial issue during an election year.

GOP leaders have a delicate balancing act ahead of them. They want to pass a bill with a majority of Republican votes without alienating the Democratic lawmakers they'll need to pass a bill through the chamber.

It's going to be interesting to watch. Like with so many other issues during the last three years, House Republicans are far from a unified group.

 

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