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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Monday, March 04, 2013

Bipartisan House group set to reveal immigration bill


Franco Ordonez

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of House members is close to introducing its own immigration bill, which would grant legal status to many of the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants but -- in a significant departure from similar proposals in the White House and Senate -- isn't expected to include new paths to citizenship, according to those involved in the discussions.
The House proposal will likely stoke the already heated debate on immigration.
Immigrant-rights advocates, union leaders and many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have said a path to citizenship is essential to any compromise.
Under the House proposal, no one would be barred permanently from citizenship, but people would be eligible only via pathways already available to other immigrants, such as marriage, family or employment-based sponsorships.
"I will argue until my last breath for a pathway to citizenship that is quick and efficient because I want to end this chapter. I want to end it," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., among the House's most outspoken advocates for immigrants.
The goal, he said, is to have no permanent underclass.
"But let me say, conversely, I am as committed as any Republican to ending illegal immigration as we know it," he said. "They want to end it. So do I."
Neither Gutierrez nor any other member of the bipartisan group would confirm his or her involvement in the House team.
But those aware of the discussion say he's among four Democrats and four Republicans, some of whom have met secretly for years, who are working to craft a bipartisan immigration plan that they think could pass the more conservative chamber of Congress.
Other members are Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Raul Labrador of Idaho, and John Carter and Sam Johnson, both of Texas, and Democrats John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Xavier Becerra and Zoe Lofgren, both of California.
Their proposed legislation, like the White House and Senate proposals, would beef up border security, establish a nationwide system to verify the legal status of workers, punish businesses that hire illegal immigrants and allow more agricultural and highly skilled immigrant workers to stay in the country.
Members of the bipartisan team hope to release the bill within three weeks, possibly before the Senate legislation, which is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the month, according to officials familiar with the team's proposal.
The Republican-led House is seen as the greatest obstacle to an overhaul.
Many conservative House members continue to liken a path to citizenship to "amnesty," and they find it an affront to the rule of law.
On the other side, many advocates responded in outrage last month when the Senate bipartisan team introduced its own proposal, which would offer a path to citizenship only after an independent assessment determined that the nation's borders were secure.
Several immigrant-rights groups want Obama to reject that aspect of the Senate proposal.

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