Democrats acknowledge they are giving House Republicans “room to breathe,” as one Senate leadership aide put it. Another noted that there isn’t anything in the drafted principles that can be interpreted as a deal-breaker, at least not yet. “We don’t want to be viewed as the ones who torpedoed this thing,” one House Democratic lawmaker said.
“There’s a lot of space being given, and what I said, there are more questions than answers,” said Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona. “A lot of my colleagues who have been on this issue are keeping their powder dry. They’re not saying anything.”
But an internal debate is stirring among Democrats as to how long to hold back criticism. The GOP draft specifically rules out a “special pathway to citizenship for those who broke our nation’s immigration laws,” in favor of a legalization mechanism. What the draft doesn’t indicate is whether those who tread down the path toward legalization could eventually become citizens.
Grijalva said one deal-breaker for him is a prohibition of citizenship for any of those immigrants here illegally now.