Republican members of the House of Representatives started their first hearing on the issue of immigration yesterday with a stated goal of harmonizing the rule of law and the principles of humanity.
A wave of proposals for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States from President Barack Obama as well as a bipartisan group of senators who have been calling for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country to be given a pathway to US citizenship has resulted in a meeting of the Members of the House judiciary committee. However, the gathering ended up only emphasizing how many Republicans in the House are still opposed to just that, with several committee members referring to the idea as “amnesty.”
Robert Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, said that the big issue of the day was whether there was any room for compromise to be found between the two “extremes of mass deportation and path to citizenship.” Goodlatte acknowledged that the United States is a country of immigrants. “Everyone among us can go back a few or several generations to our own relatives who came to America in search of a better life for themselves and their families – but we are also a nation of laws.”
The Democratic Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, spoke in favor of the idea of offering a path to citizenship, calling the hearing proof that the US was on the verge of real progress but warning that immigration reform that fails to offer the chance for citizenship risks creating a whole new breed of second class citizens.