House Republican leaders will release their fundamental principles on immigration reform later this week after a three-day retreat in Cambridge, Maryland. Following another disappointing year for reform, Republicans are expected to discuss the party's positions on matters including changes to the visa system and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, issues that will have a profound impact on the labor pool available to businesses.
The partisan divide on immigration is deep, but members of both parties agree that some kind of compromise is needed to address the millions of immigrants living and working in the U.S. illegally.
It is unlikely that a House GOP plan will include the 13-year "special pathway" to citizenship that was part of a comprehensive Senate bill passed last year. According to The Arizona Republic, Republicans are discussing a "probationary status" for undocumented immigrants, which would allow them to pursue citizenship by having relatives or employers sponsor them.
That plan, according to the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy, could help legalize as many as 6.5 million undocumented immigrants, though still far fewer than the 8 million who would be eligible under the Senate's plan.
On Tuesday, President Obama, who supports a path to citizenship, is expected to promote his position on immigration reform during the State of the Union address.
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