House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Sunday would not commit to taking up a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes legalization or a pathway to citizenship this year, despite claims made recently by a top House Republican that it could happen this year.
Cantor, R-Va., told Fox News Sunday there is no schedule yet for the House to take up immigration and no decisions made on what lawmakers would consider, but he reiterated the GOP leadership decision to reject a Senate immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.
“I have said we will be addressing the issue of immigration in the House according to our terms, not the way the Senate did,” Cantor said.
Cantor’s remarks contrasted with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s assessment of the issue last week, when the Wisconsin Republican addressed a town hall meeting in his district.
Ryan told the constituents in Racine, Wis., that the House could take up a bill in October and that a comprehensive measure that includes many components, perhaps even legalization of those who are now here illegally, is “achievable” through a consensus of Democrats and Republicans.
But Cantor insisted the House would stick to its plan to consider immigration reform in a series of smaller bills that address visas, border security and other components separately.
“We will have a vote on a series of bills at some point and it will deal with a variety of issues,” Cantor said.
Cantor endorsed the idea of legalization, but only through a “kids act,” a GOP version of the Democratic “Dream Act,” that would provide legalization for those who were brought here illegally as children.
“It says you ought to not hold kids accountable for the illegal acts of their parents,” Cantor said.
House panels are considering a variety of smaller bills with an emphasis on securing the border, a component that House GOP lawmakers believe is sorely lacking in the version the Senate passed in May.
Before leaving for the August recess on Friday, the House Judiciary Committee gave GOP lawmakers a packet of talking points that lists border security as a top priority.
The packet addresses a path to legalization, but only those who came here as children, not the millions who arrived as adults.