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“There’s always hope,” Boehner said. “But the problem with this issue is we’re operating in a very hostile political environment, and to deal with a very difficult issue like this I think it would be difficult at best.”
Rubio has been drafting a bill that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to stay in the country if they have a clean criminal record and join the military or attend college.
Rubio’s bill is a variation on the legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Durbin’s bill would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who agree to go to college or join the military. Details of Rubio’s bill are still being determined, but he said his bill would not create a “special path to citizenship, but we don’t prohibit citizenship.”
“Under the concept that we are developing they would receive a non-immigrant visa, which would allow them to stay in this country legally, work, go to school, as long as they continue to renew that visa,” Rubio said. “At some point in the future they would not be prohibited from doing what any other non-immigrant visa holder could do, and that is to try to become a green card holder by going through the regular process of legal immigration.
“They would not be prohibited from that,” Rubio continued. “They would be treated just like anybody else would, and I think that is eminently fair. We don’t create a special path, but we don’t prohibit it. We just ask them to go through the regular path, and many of the kids that we have spoken to think that is a reasonable position.”
The Democratic-led House passed a version of Durbin’s bill in 2010, but it narrowly failed in the Senate a few days later. Since then, its prospects for passage have plummeted as GOP opposition to the measure was strengthened by the 2010 elections.