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On Tuesday, the conservative Heritage Foundation cast a critical eye on legislation for Dreamers, saying in a blog post it could encourage illegal immigration through “family-chain migration” and be unfair to millions of potential immigrants who are waiting to enter the country legally.

“Any legislation addressing these children would need to be solely for the benefit of the child, and no one else,” Rep. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, told Mr. Gowdy’s panel on Tuesday. “It cannot elicit chain migration. During the process we must find the appropriate balance.”

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, also said parents of undocumented young people should not get a break from Congress. Questioning a witness from the Southern Baptist Convention, Mr. King said “mercy” is usually coupled with “repentance.”

“Is it the parents fault?” he said in opening remarks. “I think so.”