Immigration reform advocates expressed encouragement Thursday at the new set of principles on the issue put forward by House GOP leaders.
The principles suggested an openness to legalizing the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the country but did not embrace a new path to citizenship for them.
Pro-immigration reform groups generally said they were pleased but also expressed the need for action.
Here's a sampling of their reactions:
Campaign for an Accountable, Moral and Balanced Immigration Overhaul (CAMBIO); coalition includes ACLU:
"It is encouraging to see the House leadership moving, however tentatively, toward reforming our country’s broken immigration laws. But it is equally important that the Congress and the President move to restore justice and balance to the way current and future laws are enforced. ... These changes would go a long way toward fixing a system that is not only impractical, costly, and unfair, it also tears families apart at record pace."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.):
“While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept. It is a long, hard road but the door is open.”
New Democrat Coalition (pro-business Democrats in Congress):
“We are hopeful that the long awaited release of the House Republicans' immigration principles means that they are finally ready to bring immigration reform for a vote. While this step is welcomed, we need concrete legislation to fix our broken immigration system."
National Immigration Forum:
“With today’s release of these standards, House leaders are showing their sincere intentions to take action on commonsense immigration reform this Congress. Republicans and Democrats now must commit to a respectful debate that moves us forward as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."
“We welcome the House Republicans to the immigration debate. It’s about time. We are encouraged that Republicans are gearing up to take action and glad they acknowledge that immigration reform has to include the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. Now it’s time for them to translate these vague principles into a legislative proposal."
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (I):
"I applaud Speaker Boehner and the House Leadership for building a framework for action and recognizing that good policy is good politics."
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue:
“The draft Standards for Immigration Reform being debated by the House Republicans today mark important progress in ensuring immigration reform is a priority this year. This is a very encouraging sign that House lawmakers are serious about fixing our broken immigration system.
"The House Republican Conference's release of draft principles for how they will approach reform represents another important step toward fixing our broken immigration system. We have said from the outset that we need border security and employment verification, an improved legal immigration system to make sure we meet our workforce needs across all sectors of our economy, and a pathway to citizenship for people currently living here who are undocumented. We remain strongly committed to fighting for our principles as the House works through its process."
One group that is not impressed is the AFL-CIO. Here's its statement:
"Seven months after 68 Senators overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration bill, House Republicans respond with a flimsy document that only serves to underscore the callous attitude Republicans have toward our nation’s immigrants."