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GOP leaders call for legal status, no 'path to citizenship'

CAMBRIDGE, Md., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republican leaders Thursday endorsed granting legal status but "no special path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants.

At the party's annual retreat in Cambridge, Md., GOP leaders issued a set of principles they said was a first step toward comprehensive immigration law reform, the Hill reported.

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Citing a document it said it received from congressional aides, the Capitol Hill publication reported the principles stipulate it is in the national interest to allow people in the United State illegally to "get right with the law" without fear of deportation.

"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," the document says. "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)."

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The document says legal status should not be available for "criminals, gang members and sex offenders" but children brought into the United States illegally "through no fault of their own" by parents would be eligible for legal residence and citizenship, the Hill said.

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Democrats would not agree to everything in the GOP statement of principles but "they leave a real possibility" for bipartisan agreement on reform.

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