Over the past week, various Republican members of the House of Representatives have shown support for some of the key provisions of S-744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill passed by the Senate in June. The additional support is promising, especially in light of House speaker John Boehner statement that he would not bring immigration reform to the floor unless a vast majority of the House GOP supports the bill.
Daniel Webster of Florida and Aaron Schock of Illinois expressed support for the legalization process for undocumented immigrants and a path to citizenship. The two GOP members did qualify their support on certain pre-conditions being met, which include a secure border, payment of back taxes, no criminal history, a probation period, and requiring applicants to go to the back of the line—i.e. behind those waiting for permanent residence through existing lawful channels. Kevin McCarthy of California also announced support for legal status, though he did not say whether he would support a path to citizenship.
The new GOP support brings the total number House Representatives in support of legal status for undocumented immigrants to 21. 21 may not yet be the magic number, but it’s a number moving in the right direction.