Immigration is expected to be one of the topics in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, but that’s where immigration reform stopped since the House of Representatives never took up the measure.
Now there are signals from House Speaker John Boehner the House will take up immigration reform in separate bills. Those issues would be border security, hiring of undocumented immigrants, guest worker rules, citizenship for so called DREAMers, and legalizing undocumented workers with family ties or sponsoring employers.
Boehner is expected to issue a set of principles at this week’s Republican leadership retreat.
Obama has said he would be open to a piecemeal approach, but the details of such an approach are the devilish dilemma.
Republican Party leaders have talked about broadening the party’s appeal to Latinos, and legalization rather than a citizenship may be the vehicle they opt for. Analysts say Boehner’s plan is aimed at conservative Republicans who oppose citizenship but could support legalization for immigrants who came to the U.S. as adults.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said there could be some compromising if both sides are “willing to narrow our focus and go after things we can agree to and get them done.”
A Pew Hispanic Center poll last month showed that majorities of Latinos and Asian-Americans surveyed believe “it is more important for unauthorized immigrants to get relief from the threat of deportation.” The survey showed a majority of those two groups surveyed support creating a pathway to citizenship.
A second Pew Center survey showed that among Hispanics immigration reform rates lower in importance than education, jobs and the economy and health care.