House Republican leaders this afternoon circulated a document outlining principles for immigration reform legislation, accepting a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants.
According to Politico:
In a shift for the party, Republicans are blessing a pathway to legalization for those who came into the country illegally. It does stress, though, that undocumented immigrants will have to go through the current immigration system and learn about the United States. Criminals will not be eligible for legalization.
“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),” according to a draft of the document.
“Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.”
Remember, though, this is a starting position. For a deal to happen, Republicans will have to move toward Democrats. And Democrats are saying they like what they see, and an agreement on comprehensive legislation is possible.