Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Immigration talks reach crossroad: Citizenship or not?

Talks between Republicans across the political spectrum trying to reach a potential immigration deal that would unite the conference have reached a crossroads — and once again it has to do with citizenship.

“For us, a bridge into the legal immigration system for young immigrants brought to the country as children through no fault of their own is non-negotiable, and if some colleagues want to continue insisting on denying that, well, there will be no agreement,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who has been leading the moderate group’s efforts on the issue.

Lawmakers left town for a weeklong recess yesterday without fully resolving the issue, but not before two more Republicans signed a petition that could force the House to vote on an immigration package. The petition is five signatures away of the 218 needed to circumvent House Republican leadership and bring the issue straight to the floor.

At the moment, Republican leaders are trying to find a sweet spot between moderates and conservatives in the GOP conference on what would be a permanent solution for DACA, the program that President Trump has “ended” but whose ultimate fate has been tied up in the court system.

During the meeting Wednesday night, GOP leaders were still trying to gauge whether the House Freedom Caucus would support a plan that would offer a bridge for DACA recipients to apply for green cards. Then, once a DACA recipient had a green card they could eventually apply for citizenship like other immigrants.

Talks are unlikely to move forward substantially before that issue is resolved. It’s unclear if conservatives will be able to agree on the issue, as they have been steadfast in decrying what they call a “special path” to citizenship for anyone who came to the US illegally.

A source familiar with the negotiations described the likelihood of a deal between the three parties the following way: “We are closer than we’ve ever been, but we don’t have any guarantees yet,” the person said.