Speaker John Boehner announced his approval for a bill that would grant citizenship to illegal children immigrants on Wednesday, bringing a change of dialogue to his usual statements regarding immigration reform.
“This is about basic fairness,” Boehner said, according to The Hill. “These children were brought here of no accord of their own, and frankly they’re in a very difficult position. And I think many of our members believe that this issue needs to be addressed.”
This is the first time Boehner has publically hinted at any possible amnesty in the House’s immigration bill, which many have declared fatally flawed. Although it is still miles away from the Senate’s bill, which offers all qualified illegal immigrants who arrived before December 2011 the chance for citizenship, this is a step towards crafting legislation that could at least make it out of the House.
Politico reported on July 11 that aides confirmed the existence of such a bill, which is being co-authored by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). Although the bill sounds similar to the DREAM Act, it probably is only in a superficial sense, since both Cantor and Goodlatte voted against DREAM in 2010.
However, Goodlatte also said that he, along with other House Republicans, are “open-minded” about possibly allowing other illegal immigrants to become citizens, which could include applying for green cards and marriage to legal citizens. From the USA Today article:
"To create a new category for people who came in here illegally does not sit well with a great many Americans," Goodlatte said. However, "I and other members are open-minded to the idea that they should have a way to come out of the shadows, to be able to work, to have their own businesses, to pay their taxes, to travel back and forth to their home country and elsewhere."
Next week’s House Judiciary Committee will be interesting.