Greg Sargent has some details on a new bipartisan House plan that—maybe—has a chance of saving immigration reform. The key points appear to be:
- Redefining the initial “provisional” legal status granted to undocumented immigrants as “probation.”
- Lengthening the path to citizenship from 13 years to 15 years.
- Setting a hard trigger that would revoke everyone’s probational status unless E-Verify is “fully operational” within five years.
That last one is the key, of course, and Sargent says he was “unable to determine who gets to say whether E-Verify is fully operational.” Nonetheless, getting E-Verify operational is a reasonably achievable goal, so this might be acceptable to liberals. Overall, though, this compromise is mostly aimed at conservatives:
Ultimately, what this is all about is finding a way for House Republicans to get to conference negotiations with a bill that includes a path to citizenship. There is no telling whether a majority of House Republicans can bring themselves to embrace the above outline. But the thinking among Dems on the gang of seven is that even if this framework is much more onerous than the Senate bill, it provides at least a chance that Republicans will end up supporting something with citizenship in it. And getting to conference with a package that includes citizenship is preferable to the alternative, because it increases the chances of a good bill at the end.