“Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied with the law,” states the proposal, backed by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona, among others.
This would be contingent on tighter border security – a linkage Mr. Obama and many other Democrats oppose.
Many in the GOP oppose this approach, however. They label it “amnesty” and a draw for future illegal immigrants, who will come to the US believing that eventually they will receive similar treatment.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R) of Idaho, for instance, argued at the House hearing that, in his years serving as an immigration lawyer, he has talked to thousands of people living here illegally, and that what they want is not citizenship per se, but to come out of the shadows, live and work legally, and be treated with dignity.
“So if we can find a solution that is short of a pathway to citizenship ... but better than just kicking 12 million people out, why is that not a good solution?” said Representative Labrador.
The answer, said San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a hearing witness, is that an intermediate solution would create a class of permanent second-class residents.