House opens first immigration hearing - FOX 13 News

House opens first immigration hearing

Posted: Updated:
  • ImmigrationMore>>

  • Coalition sues over immigrants' access to lawyers

    Coalition sues over immigrants' access to lawyers

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:46:04 GMT
    A coalition of lawyers filed a lawsuit Friday to halt the quick deportation of Central American woman and children, saying immigrants at a New Mexico detention center don't have proper access to lawyers and are...
    A coalition of lawyers filed a lawsuit Friday to halt the quick deportation of Central American women and children, saying immigrants at a New Mexico detention center don't have proper access to lawyers and are being...
  • Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration

    Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:04:55 GMT
    President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the legal immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups.
    President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation's immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans' election-year criticism of the...
  • Immigrants found in back of locked rental truck

    Immigrants found in back of locked rental truck

    Federal officials say nine immigrants who entered the United States illegally were found locked inside the cargo area of a rental truck at a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern Arizona.
    Federal officials say nine immigrants who entered the United States illegally were found locked inside the cargo area of a rental truck at a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern Arizona.

By ERICA WERNER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Tuesday the nation's immigration system is "in desperate need of repair" as he opened Congress' first hearing this year on immigration. Whether Congress will be able to agree on how to fix it remained unclear.

The session came as President Barack Obama pushes for swift action to pass immigration legislation and as bipartisan Senate negotiators work to craft a bill. But in a sign of the difficulties to come, the Judiciary chairman, Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, cautioned against a "rush to judgment" and said each piece of the issue must be examined in detail.

Goodlatte said there are lots of questions about how any large-scale legalization program would work, how much it would cost and how it would prevent illegal immigration in future.

Obama supports a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country, something many Republicans oppose.

Goodlatte questioned whether another approach might be possible: "Are there options we should consider between the extremes of mass deportation and a pathway to citizenship for those not lawfully present in the United States?" he asked.

His question underscored the discomfort of many majority House Republicans with granting eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, something conservatives often decry as amnesty.

At one point the hearing was interrupted by protesters, apparently young illegal immigrants known as "DREAMers" brought to the country as children, who shouted "undocumented and unafraid!" before being led out.

Yet Tuesday's hearing, which focused on fixing the legal immigration system and on enforcement, was notable for the generally measured tone from some Republicans known for strong anti-immigration positions.

Several questioned whether there's a way short of citizenship to deal with illegal immigrants, and others on the panel agreed on the need to allow more high-skilled workers to enter the country, a priority for technology companies.

"Let's not let the more contentious issues and the idea of comprehensive reform prevent us from passing something," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.

It was part of a larger shift by Republicans who have begun to embrace action on immigration reform in the wake of the November elections in which large proportions of Hispanic voters supported Obama, helping him win re-election. Some GOP leaders have concluded that softening their views on immigration is becoming a political necessity.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., delivered a speech Tuesday embracing "an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home." It appeared to be a change for Cantor, who voted against DREAM Act legislation to allow a path to citizenship for certain immigrants brought here as youths.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices