White House: GOP DREAM Act "hardly a workable solution"

As part of its incremental approach to immigration reform, the Republican-led House of Representatives on Tuesday will consider its own version of the DREAM Act -- legislation that would create a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Some proponents of the DREAM Act, however -- including the White House and the nation's largest Spanish-language newspaper -- say the GOP version of the policy would be perverse and unworkable.

In an op-ed titled "Cruel and Indecent," the newspaper La Opinion slammed the House GOP for drafting a version of the DREAM Act -- expected to be called the KIDS Act -- but so far spurning the idea of granting legal status to the parents of so-called DREAMers.

"Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse," the newspaper wrote. "But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division."

The newspaper dismisses the KIDS Act as a purely political move, taken in response to pressure for the House to embrace some kind of pathway to legalization -- pressure that has ramped up since theSenate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with bipartisan support.

The White House on Tuesday took the same position as La Opinion.

The Republican approach to the issue, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, "would avoid the essential responsibility to address immigration reform in a comprehensive way. And what La Opinion makes clear is that a bill that would allow some so-called DREAMers to stay in this country... but then deport their parents is hardly a workable solution."

President Obama, Carney added, "believes that we have to address this in a comprehensive way."

The House Republican plan essentially amounts to what the White House is doing now -- Mr. Obama announced last year that he'd use his executive authority to stop deporting DREAMers, yet his administration continues to deport other undocumented immigrants. In fact, the administration's record of aggressive deportations has created some consternation among immigrant advocates.

Carney, however, said that the White House's criticism of the GOP plan isn't hypocritical, since the Obama administration does not see its current policies as permanent.

"This was not a resolution to the long-term problem," Carney said. "The long-term problem has to be addressed through comprehensive immigration reform. Everyone on Capitol Hill knows that, including Republicans in the House."

Helping undocumented youth will be the focus Tuesday of a hearing in the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. Several people will testify before the subcommittee, including Rosa Velazquez of the Arkansas Coalition for DREAM.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday insisted that he is committed to getting some version of immigration reform through the House.

"Nobody has spent more time trying to fix a broken immigration system," Boehner said of himself. "I talked about it the day after the election, I've talked about it a hundred times since."

Carney, meanwhile, took a jab at the speaker, remarking, "The idea that you can -- oh, I don't know, declare yourself to have been more committed than anyone to improve our immigration system and then have nothing to show for it is a little laughable."

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