Boehner Backs DREAM Act Principles

Here's a step in the right direction. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Wednesday that legislation offering citizenship to immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children is "about basic fairness."

"These children were brought here of no accord of their own, and frankly they're in a very difficult position," Speaker Boehner said. "And I think many of our members believe that this issue needs to be addressed."

Boehner's remarks at a news conference were in response to a question about legislation being written by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would offer citizenship to certain immigrants brought to the United States as children. Cantor and Goodlatte's bill, combined with Boehner's comments, point to an emerging consensus among House Republicans regarding DREAM Act principles.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation that aims to provide a six year long conditional path to citizenship for the 65,000 annual high school graduates whose ambitions are thwarted by their lack of citizenship, having immigrated to the United States at a young age and lived here most of their lives. It makes, you know, a ton of sense.

The bad news is that Boehner has pledged to not bring comprehensive Senate-passed immigration to the House floor, instead proceeding with bill-by-bill piecemeal immigration reform measures that focus first on border security. However, Republican lawmakers have thus far been divided on how to proceed in regards to the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, so Boehner's support for the legislation is certainly a positive.

Goodlatte's committee is holding a hearing on the issue next week.