Updated 08:38 AM EDT, Thu, Jun 27, 2019

Immigration Reform News 2014: GOP Backtracking on Reform Days After Revealing Principles for Immigration Overhaul

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Just days after House Republicans committed to fixing the nation's broken immigration system and unveiled a list of broad immigration principles, GOP leaders have already began backpedaling on their push for reform.

For the first time, Republican leaders announced that they would be open to offering a pathway to legalization for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the nation during their annual three-day retreat in Cambridge, Md.  According to the Washington Post, House Speaker John Boehner distributed a document outlining a piecemeal plan for an overhaul of immigration reform that includes a path for undocumented residents to live and work in the country legally.

Unlike the bipartisan bill passed in the Senate over the summer, the document prioritizes strengthening the country's security measures before considering a path to legalization. It also fails to grant a majority of undocumented residents with a pathway to full American citizenship.

However, on Sunday, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced that he wouldn't commit to crafting a reform bill in 2014 when asked about the likelihood of the Republican-controlled House passing a bill this year.

"I really don't know the answer to that question," Ryan said on ABC's "This Week." "That's clearly in doubt."

Ryan reasoned that because GOP House members distrust the president, they are skeptical that Obama would enforce the security measures attached to the Republican plan.

"Here's the issue that all Republicans agree on - we don't trust the president to enforce the law," said the former vice presidential nominee. 

"So if you actually look at the standards that the Republican leadership put out, which is security first, first we have to secure the border, have interior enforcement, which is a worker verification system, a visa tracking program. Those things have to be in law, in practice and independently verified before the rest of the law can occur. So it's a security force first, non-amnesty approach," he said.

Likewise, even though a House bill has yet to be presented, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also preemptively blamed the White House for immigration legislation's failure.

"There's a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation," according to the Washington Post.

Last week Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warned that distrust of Obama would trump the desire to find a resolution for the country's 11.7 million undocumented immigrants.

"We just don't think government will enforce the law anyway," Rubio said.

Meanwhile, the White House continued to reenforce its position that any legislation must include a way for unauthorized immigrants to earn citizenship.

"We ought to see a pathway to citizenship for people," White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday, reports the Associated Press. "We don't want to have a permanent separation of classes or two permanent different classes of Americans in this country."

McDonough also maintained an optimistic tone on the issue, stating that the GOP has taken a "pretty good step," and adding that the White House is hopeful that legislation that includes citizenship could reach the president's desk before the end of 2014.

"We feel pretty good that we'll get a bill done this year," he said.

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