There has been an interesting twist in the immigration debate. Just when most people were ready to pronounce immigration reform dead in the House, Congressman Bob Goodlatte decided to shake things up. The Virginia Republican suggested a path to legalization for the undocumented immigrants already in the United States. Goodlatte said he, and other House Republicans, do not support the “special” path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that is outlined in the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, but would be open to one where they could eventually become citizens using already existing policies.
Congressman Goodlatte’s idea is being criticized because Immigration Law is complicated and his idea is too simplistic. It would not be able to work under current policies, and some existing laws would have to be altered. Still, it is a drastic change of attitude towards legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants. Opposing House Republicans have previously called any path to legalization “amnesty” and have been refusing to budge on the subject.
A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants has been the core issue dividing the House of Representatives over Immigration Reform. For many politicians, it is a non-negotiable issue. Most democrats in both Houses of Congress fully support a path to citizenship and many will not support immigration reform without one. Republicans are far more split; some republicans support a path to citizenship (or at least legalization), and some are so flat out against it that they will not vote for any bill that contains one.
As a republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Goodlatte is a key figure in Immigration Reform in the House. However, just because he commented about possibly supporting a path to citizenship, does not mean the rest of the House Republicans are going to jump on board. It also does not mean they have any intention to vote on the Senate Bill. Nevertheless, many immigration advocates are taking his comments as a sign of hope and a good start towards getting the reform moving in the House.
Maybe Goodlatte and other House Republicans are finally starting to realize what the American public really wants, and what would be best for the nation as a whole? Tell us what you think in the comments!