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New GOP immigration plan may mean changes for illegal immigrants

A new immigration plan is in the works that could affect the lives of illegal immigrants in Louisiana. In a few days, House Republicans will consider a proposal that may put many undocumented immigrants in this country on the path to citizenship. Republicans will go on a three-day retreat to discuss the new proposal. Speaker of the House, Jim Boehner, will issue a list of immigration principles to follow, including a narrow path to citizenship, new visas for foreign workers and tighter security at the border.

President Obama says he is willing to consider Republican proposals that give illegal immigrants opportunities. The issue regarding US immigration law has been stalled for a long time, but administrative officials are hopeful about moving an immigration bill through Congress in 2014. A bill on immigration reform could also have a major impact on the job market and could possibly reduce the country's deficit.

However, it is unclear whether this Republican shift will be enough to push immigration reform forward anytime soon. The Senate bill that passed in June required a 13-year path to citizenship, and Democrats are waiting to see how restrictive the Republican plan is. House Republicans have refused to vote on the Senate immigration bill and Boehner has said that the House will not consider one large piece of legislation, but only small-scale bills.

Unlike the Senate bill, Republicans must require immigrants to use current legal channels to apply. This means that they will have to hold off until over 3 million applications have been processed, which could result in a huge backlog unless the process is sped up. Republicans may also do away with the current law that requires immigrants without papers to go back to their home countries for up to ten years before they are given the chance to stay in the United States legally. Meanwhile, many illegal immigrants all over the country wait for a resolution that will give them a real opportunity to become legal citizens of the United States.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "House Republicans consider their own immigration plan," Brian Bennett, Jan. 27, 2014

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