“One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” he said Tuesday. “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.”
In the House Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, conservative lawmakers expressed concern about the federal government’s poor record on immigration enforcement. Many spoke of the 1986 reform law, which legalized many more undocumented people than lawmakers then had expected and which proved to be ineffective at stemming the tide of illegal entrants despite, for example, employer sanctions for immigration violations and new border-security measures. Some lawmakers blame that law for helping to create a situation that resulted in a renewed inflow of undocumented individuals, now estimated to number 11 million.