RICHARD COWAN --- Reuters
U.S. Republicans, outraged with President Barack Obama for easing deportations of millions of undocumented residents, plan legislation in 2015 strengthening the U.S.-Mexican border to discourage illegal immigration.
The move, likely to come early next year according to House Republican leadership aides, may lead to other steps the House of Representatives could contemplate to repair parts of U.S. immigration law.
When legislation materializes, it would follow a year and half of congressional inactivity in the aftermath of the passage of a sprawling Senate bill backed by Obama but killed by the House.
"I think there is the realization...that this issue is not going away," said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who has labored to write broad immigration legislation.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul likely will oversee the effort, according to leadership aides. McCaul has pushed legislation imposing tough standards for border apprehensions.
Given the House's rejection of the Senate's work in 2013, a strategy is emerging for 2015 to have the House take the lead in the hope of making better progress.
The 2013 Senate bill's pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents was a lightning rod for opposition.
"I want it to start in the House," said Republican Senator John McCain, a leading immigration reform proponent.
McCain said bills improving border security, establishing an online system for companies to check their workers' immigration status and expanding visas for high-tech foreign workers could be first out of the gate. The latter two are important to U.S. businesses.