Will House Republicans relent on immigration policy? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Will House Republicans relent on immigration policy?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 7:21 AM

The New York Times today reports that House Speaker John Boehner will back incremental changes in immigration policy. The GOP has been a roadblock on immigration legislation to date, one reason the party is held in such low esteem among Latino voters.

Aides to Mr. Boehner said this week that he was committed to what he calls “step by step” moves to revise immigration laws, which they have declined to specify.

But other House Republicans, who see an immigration overhaul as essential to wooing the Hispanic voters crucial to the party’s fortunes in the 2016 presidential election, said they could move on separate bills that would fast-track legalization for agricultural laborers, increase the number of visas for high-tech workers and provide an opportunity for young immigrants who came to the country illegally as children to become American citizens.

So-called DREAM Act legislation — equal treatment in higher education for children raised in the U.S. and graduates of U.S. high schools — would be simple,compassionate justice. Even Mike Huckabee, bless him, has been on the right side on this issue.

Arkansas has not been particularly welcoming to immigrants, but it has been less punitive than many other red states, in part thanks to an uncommon coalition of liberals and business lobbyists. (Here, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce shed its Darth Vader garb for once.)

A split in the House on outreach to immigrants, the lifeblood of the American experience since, what, the Mayflower? This offers an opportunity for some interesting roll calls featuring, among others, our favorite extremist, Tom Cotton. He's been solidly in the camp opposing better immigration law. 

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