Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Boehner Is Said to Back Change on Immigration

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Boehner Is Said to Back Change on Immigration

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner has signaled that he may embrace a series of limited changes to the nation's immigration laws in the coming months, giving advocates for change new hope that 2014 might be the year that a bitterly divided Congress reaches a political compromise to overhaul the sprawling system.

Mr. Boehner, R-Ohio, has in recent weeks hired Rebecca Tallent, a longtime immigration adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has long backed broad immigration changes.

Advocates for an overhaul say the hiring, as well as angry comments by Mr. Boehner critical of Tea Party opposition to the recent budget deal in Congress, indicate that he is serious about revamping the immigration system despite deep reservations from conservative Republicans.

Aides to Mr. Boehner said this week that he was committed to what he calls "step by step" moves to revise immigration laws, which they have declined to specify.

But other House Republicans, who see an immigration overhaul as essential to wooing the Hispanic voters crucial to the party's fortunes in the 2016 presidential election, said they could move on separate bills that would fast-track legalization for agricultural laborers, increase the number of visas for high-tech workers and provide an opportunity for young immigrants who came to the country illegally as children to become U.S. citizens.

Although the legislation would fall far short of the demands being made by immigration activists, it could provide the beginnings of a deal.

Aides continue to say that Mr. Boehner remains opposed to a single, comprehensive bill like the Senate-passed measure that would tighten border security, increase legal immigration and offer an eventual path to U.S. citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally..

"The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be," Mr. …

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