Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Immigration reform back up for debate

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Albany/HV: Immigration reform back up for debate
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In Washington, D.C, the House is taking up a version of the Dream Act amid a much larger debate about immigration reform, including whether there should be a path to citizenship for immigrants currently here illegally. And the White House is already saying that this step will not be enough since it only deals with people who came to America as kids. Michael Scotto has the latest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For many House Republicans, granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came here as adults is a non-starter. But when it comes to children, Republicans are starting to sing a different tune.

"It seems to me that it's time to we deal with these special children in a special way and bring them into our society," said Texas Representative Ted Poe.

On Tuesday, the issue was front and center at a House subcommittee hearing. In recent weeks, Republicans have come around to the idea of legalizing undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. But Democrats say the GOP's support is too little too late, arguing the debate has shifted to offering citizenship to all undocumented immigrants.

"We want to tell the Dream Act children that they can stay, but we don't know about your parents or your sisters or brothers? What values are those?" asked Texas Representative Sheila Jackson.

In fact, Dreamers themselves are now opposed to the effort. They held a press conference right before the hearing and told Republicans to pass the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"How can we say yes, we want a pathway to citizenship for us because Republicans and the American public feels that they sympathize with our stories. How can we say yes to that and then deport our parents?" asked Christina Jimenez of United We Dream.

Still, some Democrats and immigration reform advocates see the development as a good one and believe it gives them the opening to persuade Republicans to support a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.

"Once you see that standing up for young and talented immigrants feels good and right, you will want to stand up also for their parents who raised and nurtured them," said Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez.

For now, the GOP is standing firm, saying they will reject any attempt to expand the debate to legalizing adults. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP