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Immigration Debate: Even With Both Sides At The Table, Reform Remains A Complex Goal

Publication Date: 
January 30, 2014
San Jose Mercury News
Josh Richman and David E. Early

Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar weighs in on a new document laying out House Republicans vision for immigration reform and discusses how even with both sides agreeing to certain parts, the actual legislation will be "extraordinarily complex to craft and to implement." 

House Republicans on Thursday released a document that laid out their vision for immigration reform legislation, raising hopes that a bill could finally become reality in 2014 after years of political rancor and deadlock.

Although much of the document seemed to mirror a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in late June -- which House Republicans had quickly pronounced "dead on arrival" -- the biggest difference was that only illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children would be eligible for a path to citizenship.


Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a former special assistant to President Obama on immigration and other issues, said reform will be "extraordinarily complex to craft and to implement."

But he also believes "immigration reform is more likely now than it has been in decades," given the public demand and both sides' awareness that it's an economic and social necessity. "Many people on both sides will be primed to keep their eyes on the big picture."