WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans took a tentative step toward offering citizenship to some unauthorized immigrants today, but hit an immediate wall of resistance from the White House on down as Democrats said it wasn't enough.
The dismissive reaction to the GOP proposal to offer eventual citizenship to some immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children underscored the difficulties of finding any compromise in the Republican-led House on the politically explosive issue of immigration.
That left prospects cloudy for one of President Barack Obama's top second-term priorities. Congress is preparing to break for a monthlong summer recess at the end of next week without action in the full House on any immigration legislation, even after the Senate passed a sweeping bipartisan bill last month to secure the borders and create a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.
At a hearing of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee today on how to deal with immigrants brought here illegally as children, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., suggested that "we as a nation should allow this group of young people to stay in the U.S. legally." House Republican leaders have embraced offering citizenship to such immigrants, and Goodlatte is working on a bill with Majority Leader Eric Cantor toward the goal.
Yet even before the hearing began Democrats dismissed Goodlatte and Cantor's not-yet-released legislation, saying that any solution that doesn't offer citizenship to all 11 million immigrants here illegally falls short.