House Republicans Have Released Their Immigration Reform Principles, And 'The Door Is Now Open'

House Republican leaders have released a set of principles for reforms to the nation’s immigration system, potentially setting in motion for an overhaul to happen in 2014.

The principles, which were obtained by the National Journal and other outlets, offer a guide for House Republicans to create legislation. They do not outline a so-called “path to citizenship.” But they state that immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should live here “legally and without fear.”

Here’s the relevant portion:

“There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law.

“Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program.”

The principles stress a boosting of border security and interior enforcement as the main priority, and offer plans for an entry-exit visa tracking system and an employment verification system.

They also say that young people who were brought to the country as children should be able to earn citizenship if they meet certain conditions and either serve in the military or attain a college degree.

“While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the “gang of eight” senators who worked to craft a bipartisan bill in the chamber.

“It is a long, hard road but the door is open.”

The Senate bill passed late last June, but the legislation has been stalled in the House amid staunch conservative opposition.

You can read the full set of principles here.

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