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Immigration reform: Amid GOP reservations, signs of flexibility

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But GOP lawmakers balanced their outrage at the Obama administration and at what they see as the US government’s lax enforcement of immigration laws with some hopeful notes. 

“In the minds of many, Mr. Chairman, the country got amnesty [in 1986] but is still waiting 25 years later on the border security and the employment verification,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) of South Carolina, chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration, addressing Judiciary chair Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R) of Virginia. “So here we are, back again, asking our fellow citizens to trust us. And many, despite ourselves, Mr. Chairman, remain open to legislative expressions of humanity and grace, but they will be watching skeptically to see if we are serious about enforcing the rule of law.”

That attitude was music to the ears of long-time immigration reform advocates such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) of Illinois, who put his 20 years of seniority on the Financial Services Committee on hold to work on immigration legislation in the Judiciary Committee during this Congress. 

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