Hours before a House panel on Tuesday was set to look at proposals to help the children of illegal immigrants, a top conservative group has warned that measures to protect these youth could turn into a “backdoor path to amnesty.”
In a blog post, the Heritage Foundation says the immigration panel under the Judiciary Committee should tread warily in discussing plans akin to the blocked Dream Act — a proposal that’s kicked around Congress for more than a decade and would grant legal residency to children who were brought to the United States unwittingly and have demonstrated academic success.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and fellow Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, are working on a bill that is similar to the Dream Act.
Heritage analysts warned that the proposal could encourage illegal immigration through “family-chain migration” and be unfair to millions of would-be immigrants who are waiting to enter the country legally.
“Conservatives should be aware that any legislation passed by the House could become a vehicle for backroom deal-making that ultimately moves the Senate’s amnesty bill to Obama’s desk,” the Heritage posting said. “That includes a version of the DREAM Act being debated today.”
House GOP leaders have signaled they will pursue immigration reform in a piecemeal fashion. Their approach has upset those who say the Senate’s comprehensive bill, with a path to legal status or citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented aliens across the nation, is the only way forward.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows most Americans favor a piecemeal approach, with 53 percent saying they would like to see the Senate plan split into pieces, while 32 percent want an up-or-down vote on the proposal, which passed out of the upper chamber in June on a bipartisan 68-32 vote.