Legal Status without Citizenship

by Andrew Stiles

When it comes to immigration reform, a number of lawmakers at the House GOP retreat in Cambridge, Md. seem to be open to the idea of providing some form of legal status to illegal immigrants that would stop short of citizenship. 

“We need systematic reforms. To deal with those who are here illegally, there can be penalties, there can be guest-worker programs, but to give citizenship I think is probably a little too far,” Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) told reporters. ”I think that we as Republicans can find a path to legal status that does not include citizenship.”  

“It’s an interesting question,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.). “It’s an interesting question. If you legalize somebody without a pathway to citizenship, you’re creating, in essence, a class of people that have no chance of becoming citizens. Maybe you give that chance to their children. That’s one of the debates I’ve heard.”

Representative Greg Walden (R., Ore.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters that any action on immigration reform would happen months from now, likely sometime in the summer after budget negotiations, and after many of the filing deadlines for primary challenges have passed.

Republican Study Committee chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana repeatedly changed the subject when asked about immigration reform, but did stress the importance of border security, and said that it was incumbent on President Obama to “show good faith that he’s willing to enforce the laws of the land.”

GOP leaders plan to unveil their immigration reform “principles” later this afternoon.