House mea­sure of­fers path­way to ci­ti­zen­ship

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Tired of wait­ing for the GOP, House Democrats an­nounced their own im­mi­gra­tion bill Wed­nes­day that grants il­le­gal im­mi­grants a path to ci­ti­zen­ship but strips out the tough new bor­der se­cu­rity mea­sures passed by the Se­nate ear­lier this year.

Democrats said they took the bill that passed the Se­nate on a 68-32 vote and rewrote it, cut­ting out 20,000 new Bor­der Pa­trol agents and 350 miles of fenc­ing and ad­di­tional tech­nol­ogy. In place of those se­cu­rity mea­sures, they in­serted another House bill call­ing for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to come up with a strat­egy to se­cure the bor­der. The text wasn’t avail­able by Wed­nes­day evening.

Their goal, Democrats said, is to jump-start the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate in the House.

“We’re not in­tro­duc­ing the per­fect bill, but we’re in­tro­duc­ing a com­pre­hen­sive re­form bill that pro­vides that space for com­pro­mise,” said Rep. Joe Gar­cia, Florida Demo­crat.

Un­like the Se­nate bill, which was writ­ten by four Repub­li­cans and four Democrats and passed only af­ter that Gang of Eight ac­cepted a GOP amend­ment adding new fenc­ing and 20,000 Bor­der Pa­trol agents, the House bill is spon­sored only by Democrats.

But the law­mak­ers said they took pains to in­clude a bi­par­ti­san bill that cleared the House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee ear­lier this year that de­mands the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment come up with a strat­egy for se­cur­ing the bor­der.

The Democrats also said they al­ready were mak­ing sac­ri­fices by ac­cept­ing most of the Se­nate bill, which grants a path to ci­ti­zen­ship for il­le­gal im­mi­grants but cur­tails some cur­rent le­gal im­mi­gra­tion

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