Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) and Sen. Rand Paul (R), in separate forums Tuesday, struck common ground on some of the thorniest issues surrounding immigration reform. Is a bipartisan deal close?
Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
In the immigration reform debate now under way in Washington, Democrats and Republicans are taking a steady march in one direction: toward one another.
On Tuesday morning, a leading Democratic advocate of immigration reform said his party would not require a special path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, in keeping with a key Republican demand.
At nearly the same moment some two blocks away, a 2016 Republican presidential contender and tea party favorite embraced legal status and potential citizenship for the nation’s 12 million undocumented people, which have been Democratic desires for more than a decade.
That's not to say the immigration reform debate is over – far from it.
But when Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) of Illinois, a Chicago progressive who got himself arrested outside the White House protesting Arizona’s tough immigration law, and Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky, a heartthrob of the conservative activist set and heir to the Paul family libertarian fame, stake out common ground on immigration reform? That’s saying something.
Senator Paul joined a list of GOP immigration reformers who say they’re willing to provide a pathway to legal status for 12 million illegal immigrants, provided it's paired with enhanced border security and no unique path to American citizenship.
The response from Representative Gutierrez, a key House negotiator on the issue? “I’m willing to take yes for an answer,” he said.
Gutierrez, who crafted ill-fated bipartisan legislation on immigration reform during the tenure of President George W. Bush, tucked into questions from reporters at a Monitor breakfast just down the street from where Senator Paul at the same time launched into the immigration reform debate during a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
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