Before President Obama won reelection with 71 percent of Latino voters, few Republicans supported granting undocumented immigrants a path to legalized status.
According to Takeaway partner The New York Times, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in President Obama's first term, was "resolutely opposed to most measures offering illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." Under Congressman Smith, immigration reform hearings "often focused on what he saw as serious and sometimes dangerous lapses in the Obama administration's enforcement of immigration laws."
Times have changed. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee, now under the direction of Congressman Robert W. Goodlatte, held the first of what will be many hearings on immigration reform in President Obama's second term. While House Republicans stopped short of recommending a path to citizenship, their compromise position will likely include a path to legalization. Similarly, in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seemed to indicate Republican support for legislation akin to the DREAM Act.
"It's no secret that there are 11 million people hear illegally, many of whom have become part of the fabric of our country," Cantor said at the conservative think tank. He went on to say that, in terms of new legislation, "A good place to start is with the kids. One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home."
How does the House Republican plan compare to the bipartisan Senate approach, and President Obama's proposal? Fernando Pizarro, Washington correspondent for Univision, discusses the road ahead for immigration reform.