Immigration reform remains a Republican “priority,” according to Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers, who chairs the House Republican Conference:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the House Republicans’ point man on immigration reform, has said the House needs to take up bills “the sooner the better” on the House floor. And House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas — whose panel has passed a border-security bill and is poised to take up a biometric exit system bill on Wednesday — has said he believes the House will take up immigration bills near the end of October.
Though Capitol Hill is now consumed with the ongoing battle over the government shutdown that began Oct. 1, McMorris Rodgers said her party was still committed to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.
“We must pass immigration reform,” McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking House Republican, said. “It’s a priority for Republicans, for Democrats. There’s a recognition that it’s important to America. It’s important to our economy. America has long been the land of immigrants.”
The fact that House majority leader Eric Cantor held a meeting on immigration just days before government funding was set to expire is further evidence of GOP leadership’s desire to tackle immigration reform. Most Republicans say they favor a “piecemeal” approach, which would involve the House passing a series of bills targeting various aspects of immigration policy, such as border security, guest-worker visas, and, potentially, a path to citizenship. However, some conservatives are concerned that such an approach would lead to a conference committee with the Senate, the end result of which, they argue, would likely be a “comprehensive” package resembling the Gang of Eight legislation.