Majority Leader Eric Cantor is drafting legislation to legalize children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, National Review Online has learned.
The bill is still in early development and is not expected to be released in the next several weeks. Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte said he is working with Cantor on the project.
Since his “making life work” speech at the American Enterprise Institute in February, Cantor has often spoken about the issue of the children of illegal immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers” in reference to the DREAM Act, another bill that would offer legalization for them.
“A good place to start is with the kids. One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home,” Cantor said in his AEI speech.
Until now, however, those words had not been put into action in terms of a bill. Cantor’s effort is likely to differ in significant respects from the DREAM Act, sources said.
The effort is bound to be controversial among House Republicans. Representative Steve King said after yesterday’s special conference meeting, “You can’t separate the DREAM Act kids from those who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back. They can’t tell me how they can do that.”