House GOP split on leadership immigration reform principles

Jan. 31, 2014 at 3:07 PM
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CAMBRIDGE, Md., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans are split on immigration reform, with some arguing the party should do nothing in an election year, a House member said.

At their annual retreat in Maryland, GOP House members met privately Thursday to discuss principles their leaders presented as a first step toward comprehensive immigration law reform -- including granting legal status but "no special path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida told the Hill responses among members included a suggestion by Rep. Steve King of Iowa the GOP take no action this year while Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin supported the principles.

A large number of members urged the party to proceed with caution and expressed doubt they can trust President Barack Obama to enforce the law.

"I think we can get there, but that's the biggest challenge," said Diaz-Balart, a leader of GOP immigration reform supporters in the House. "We got a lot [of pushback] on the timing and a lot on the trust issue.

"If we can't give people confidence that it's enforceable," he said, "then we have a serious problem."

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

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