A few House Republicans have quietly been working on their own immigration bill in the midst of the government shutdown. The bill would not grant citizenship to every single illegal immigrant. However, it could ultimately result in citizenship for as many as 7 million of the immigrants who are currently in the U.S.
Two issues are at stake. First, the reform seeks to grant visas for skilled illegal undocumented workers that may eventually put them on the path to citizenship – either via marriage to a U.S. citizen or sponsorship from an employer or relative who is a U.S. citizen. Second, the bill proposes a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as children. A good number of Republicans have supported the bill. Yet many are wary of backing a bill that appears to give amnesty to immigrants who have broken immigration laws to get in the U.S.
Because immigration reform has traditionally been limited as a Democratic agenda, this bill is significant because it’s a Republican-sponsored bill that’s gathering support in the Republican party. This dynamic may indicate a higher probability of success for this bill than other immigration reform bills have received in the past.