Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield and House majority whip, says he'd favor a path to some form of legalization for undocumented immigrants, but not citizenship. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield and House majority whip, says he’d favor a path to some form of legalization for undocumented immigrants, but not citizenship. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As House Republicans prepare to wrestle with their differences on immigration at an annual retreat next week, one GOP lawmaker from the Central Valley is signaling there may be movement on an issue that has split the party. At the same time, a high-profile group of bipartisan leaders met in Silicon Valley Thursday to unveil a report showing immigrants are key to a robust U.S. economy.

The report by the Bipartisan Policy Center was released by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, both Republicans, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, a Democrat. They argued that America’s population is aging and needs immigrants to keep the labor force growing. A healthy economy, in turn, will enable the United States to maintain its global political and military preeminence.

“Immigrants not only add to the sheer numbers — so they continue the growth process,” said Cisneros, “but they tend to be younger — therefore they form families, therefore they have children, so they create the generation to come.”

Rice said she hoped to counteract what she called a misperception that immigrants are a drag on the economy. If Americans and their elected leaders understood the demographic and economic realities, they would be more likely to support comprehensive immigration reform, she said.

The message seemed calculated to give House Republicans a nudge — and possible political cover — as they hash out their differences in what GOP leaders hope will lead to a series of immigration bills this year. Some moderate and pro-business Republicans favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while Tea Party conservatives say they regard most forms of legalization as amnesty for lawbreakers.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield, said earlier this week that he favors a path to legal status but not citizenship. McCarthy, who as majority whip is No. 3 in the GOP’s House leadership, signaled that provisional legalization may be part of a set of immigration principles that Republican leaders plan to release before next week’s retreat. Those principles are being drafted by House Speaker John Boehner’s staff, including his new immigration policy staffer, Becky Tallent, whom Boehner recently hired away from the very same Bipartisan Policy Center.

A Signal From Central Valley That GOP May Act on Immigration 27 January,2014Tyche Hendricks

  • This is good news 🙂

    • raybbr

      How is rewarding millions of invaders with legal status “good news”?

      • @raybbr:disqus Maybe you should ask the Native Americans who were here 1st. Don’t be hypocritical.

        • raybbr

          All I can do is laugh at that.

  • Dantes

    The GOP voters have no problem with legal immigrants. We have a big problem with amnesty, which is where the GOP seems headed. If it passes amnesty…the GOP will go down in history as the Suicide Party.

  • ted

    After 55 million abortions we are being told we need illegal aliens to grow the economy.



Tyche Hendricks

Tyche Hendricks is editor for The California Report, KQED’s daily, statewide radio news program. She leads KQED's immigration coverage, and recently reported on the plight of migrant teens locked in indefinite detention -- a collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting. She also coordinates KQED's election coverage.

Before joining KQED in 2010, Tyche worked as a newspaper reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner, the San Jose Mercury-News and the Seattle Times. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, including a 2012 Edward R. Murrow award for KQED's election coverage;  the Society for Professional Journalists; the Education Writers Association; the Best of the West and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

Tyche has taught at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and, from 2010 to 2015, directed a national immigration symposium for professional journalists there

She is the author of The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (U.C. Press, 2010). Tyche holds a BA from Wesleyan University, and master's degrees in Latin American Studies and  Journalism from U.C. Berkeley. She speaks fluent Spanish and passable French.

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