Speaker Boehner Backs Immigration Reform Bill Legalizing Children

  @LauraMatt on July 17 2013 1:37 PM
Boehner Cantor 2013 walk
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), center, talks to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Reuters

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday backed a proposed bill by House Republicans offering legal status to children brought to America illegally.

“This is about basic fairness,” Boehner said during a news conference. “These children were brought here on no accord of their own and frankly, they are in a very difficult position.” The Ohio Republican said he thinks many of his colleagues believe the issues needs to be addressed. [In the video below, the news conference starts shortly after the 33-minute mark.]

The proposed legislation is being drafted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both from Virginia. It will form part of the House's piecemeal approach to immigration reform. A hearing on the matter will be held next week.

House Republicans, who hold differing stances on a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, have yet to pass a bill concerning some type of legal status for the estimated 11 million currently in the country.

Cantor said moving to legalize children is an act of “decency and compassion.”

“These in many instances are kids without a country if we don’t allow them to become full citizens of our country,” Cantor said at the news conference. “It’s an issue of decency, of compassion. Where else would these kids go?”

The House Majority Leader also added that more could be done for the American people if lawmakers on both sides focus on issues that unify them. “It is something that both sides of the aisle could say, ‘that is something that we support,’” he said.

Goodlatte noted in a statement released last week that the children are here illegally “through no fault of their own.”

“Many of them know no other home than the United States,” he said, calling for a plan that deals fairly with undocumented immigrants.

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