Breakthrough as key Republican concedes on need for immigration reform

Mark with Kevin McCarthy


A key figure on the Republican side has agreed to back  immigration reform with legal status for the undocumented.

Chief  Deputy Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, spoke to his  local news station, of Bakersfield, CA on the drafting of the party’s principles  of immigration reform.

His move now means that the entire GOP House  leadership, Speaker Boehner, his number two Eric Cantor, McCarthy, and  Congressman Paul Ryan all support an immigration reform bill.

This could  mean that a bill will be on the floor in the Republican-controlled House by  April, say experts. A bill has already passed the Senate and both bills would  have to be reconciled.

McCarthy, a longtime target of immigration  advocates, told Eyewitness News, “People understand that the immigration  system today doesn’t work. That you have 42 percent of the people that are here  illegally came here legally on a visa. You have to reform the visa  program.”

While against a “pathway to citizenship,” predominantly  supported by the Democrats, McCarthy said that he does support principles of a  legal status being afforded to those who have become undocumented. According to  a Fox poll carried out this week, nearly seven in ten voters  support a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented in the US.

McCarthy  said that although these Republican principles of immigration reform are not yet  written out he believes they will go with legal status.

“It will allow  you to work, pay your taxes, and other, but if you want to apply for citizenship  you have to go through the path, there won’t be amnesty.”

This legal  status would allow the 11 million undocumented – around 50,000 of which are  Irish – to travel, pay taxes and most importantly live without fear of  deportation.

Until now the Republican leadership has not provided any  details on what immigration plan they might propose.

Last year the US  Senate passed an immigration reform bill calling for a pathway to citizenship,  but this bill was never taken up by the House of  Representatives.

Republicans have now said that they will introduce  immigration bills on a smaller basis, piece by piece.

McCarthy said “We’re going to take it section by section. The president said he’s agreed to  this.”

House Speaker John Boehner said these Republican principles of  immigration reform could be released before President Obama’s State of the Union  address on Jan. 28. However, Boehner first has to sell the plan to his own  party.

Republicans are expected to debate the set of principles at their  annual retreat later this month.

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