House Will Keep Approaching Immigration From Two Angles

Some conservatives favor a bill-by-bill approach to immigration.

May 17, 2013, 3:59 PM

May 17, 2013— -- A group of Republicans and Democrats in the House have come to an agreement about what a comprehensive immigration reform bill should look like. And they expect to go public with details by early June.

But this comprehensive bill in the House will have some competition.

Some conservative congressmen are looking to pass individual pieces of legislation that deal with specific aspects of the immigration system, instead of an all-in-one approach that you get with a comprehensive immigration reform.

So far there have been bills introduced that deal with agricultural guest workers and E-Verify, an electronic system that checks the work eligibility of employees.

And just because the House group working on immigration reform has reached an agreement doesn't mean that Republican leadership is shutting down the bill-by-bill approach.

This came to ABC/Univision from an aide in the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration legislation and is chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.):

"The House Judiciary Committee welcomes all ideas and proposals to fix our broken immigration system and Chairman Goodlatte encourages the bipartisan House working group to keep working towards producing a bill," the aide said.

"Simultaneously, the House Judiciary Committee continues to take a step-by-step approach towards reforming our immigration system and is methodically reviewing each individual issue within the larger debate to make sure we get immigration reform right."

The comprehensive approach -- a huge immigration bill -- is considered the only way to pass a legalization program for undocumented immigrants.

The reason: a Republican-controlled House probably wouldn't pass a bill that legalized the undocumented without some sort of trade off.

So when you hear about this piecemeal approach -- one bill at a time -- it's basically a way to say, "we'd rather not do this legalization thing."

So it's not like this approach would kill comprehensive reform. But it could mean that the immigration reform bill in the House will be more influenced by conservative forces than the bill in the Senate.