White House slams Republican plan for immigrants

WASHINGTON (AP) A White House senior adviser on Tuesday accused the House Republicans of “cruel hypocrisy” for contemplating legal status for unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – without also legalizing their parents.

Dan Pfeiffer said by Twitter that the plan boils down to allowing some kids to stay while deporting their parents.

Pfeiffer’s comment comes as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to convene a hearing on what to do about immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. House Republican leaders have endorsed a path to citizenship for some of these immigrants.

But Democrats and immigration advocates say that’s not enough. They are holding out for comprehensive legislation offering citizenship to all 11 million immigrants here illegally, like the Senate has passed. Many House Republicans oppose that approach.

That left prospects cloudy for one of President Barack Obama’s top second-term priorities. Congress is preparing to break for a monthlong summer recess at the end of next week without action in the full House on any immigration legislation, even after the Senate passed a sweeping bipartisan bill last month to secure the borders and create a path to citizenship for immigrants already in the country illegally.

The back-and-forth began hours before the House Judiciary Committee opened a hearing Tuesday afternoon on the question of legal status for immigrants brought here as children. House Republican leaders have embraced offering citizenship to such immigrants, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor is working on a bill toward the goal along with Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

They haven’t released their bill yet but that didn’t stop Democrats from dismissing it even before the hearing began, saying that any solution that doesn’t offer citizenship to all 11 million immigrants here illegally falls short.

Over Twitter, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer slammed “the cruel hypocrisy of the (Republican) immigration plan: allow some kids to stay but deport their parents.”

That got a counterattack from Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper.

“If White House opposes effort to give children path to staying in only country they know, how serious are they about immigration reform?” Cooper responded over Twitter.

In fact, Democrats and immigration advocates pushed hard in past years for legislation offering citizenship to immigrants brought as youths. The so-called DREAM Act passed the House in 2010 when it was controlled by Democrats, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

But now, with a comprehensive solution like the one passed by the Senate in sight, Democrats and outside activists say they won’t settle for anything less.

At the same time, Democrats were attacking Republicans for an apparent turnaround after the House’s Republican majority voted in June to overturn an Obama administration policy halting deportations of some immigrants brought to the U.S. as youths. The Obama administration put the policy in place after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act.

“Which is the real Republican Party?” said House Minority Whip, Democrat Steny Hoyer.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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