In an attempt to soften their image on immigration, House Republicans are rallying behind a proposal to offer citizenship to immigrants who came here as children, but Democrats say the plan is not enough. Washington D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For many House Republicans, granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came here as adults is a non-starter. When it comes to children, though, Republicans are starting to sing a different tune.
"It seems to me that it's time that we deal with these special children in a very special way and bring them into our society," said Texas Rep. Ted Poe.
On Tuesday, the issue was front and center at a House subcommittee hearing.
In recent weeks, Republicans have come around to the idea of legalizing undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. Democrats, however, say that the GOP's support is too little too late, arguing that the debate has shifted to offering citizenship to all undocumented immigrants.
"We want to tell the Dream Act children that they can stay, but we don't know about your parents or your sisters or brothers? What values are those?" said Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson.
In fact, Dreamers themselves are now opposed to the effort. They held a press conference right before the hearing and told Republicans to pass the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill.
"How can we say, 'Yes, we want a pathway to citizenship for us because Republicans and the American public feels that they sympathize with our stories.' How can we say yes to that and then say, 'Deport our parents?'" said Christina Jimenez of United We Dream.
Still, some Democrats and immigration reform advocates see the development as a good one and believe it gives them the opening to persuade Republicans to support a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.
"Once you see that standing up for young and talented immigrants feels good and right, you will want to stand up also for their parents who raised and nurtured them," said Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
For now, the GOP is standing firm, saying they will reject any attempt to expand the debate to legalizing adults.