House Democratic leaders unveiled legislation Wednesday to overhaul the nation’s broken immigration system and create a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal residents.
The sweeping proposal, which largely mirrors the bipartisan package approved by the Senate in June, is designed to keep the immigration issue in the headlines and intensify the pressure on GOP leaders to bring a reform bill to the floor.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republican leaders have vowed to consider immigration reform before year’s end. But they’ve shown little urgency to do so, and the more pressing fiscal fights are threatening to push reform off the legislative calendar for 2013.
Behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democrats said Wednesday that postponing the debate would be a mistake.
“We are more than prepared to move forward, and we’re asking our Republican colleagues to do the same thing,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said at a press briefing in the Capitol. “The time is now to act, not to push this forward until the next year.”
Boehner has already rejected the Senate’s approach to immigration reform and is not expected to act on the similar plan from House Democrats.