Paul Ryan changes course on DREAM Act?

Paul Ryan changes course on DREAM Act?

POSTED: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 1:50pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 6:07pm

As some prominent Republicans change their position on immigration, look no further than tweaks to Rep. Paul Ryan's website for examples of the evolving stance.

While the House Budget Committee chairman's congressional site previously displayed clear opposition to the DREAM Act, it now states that immigration reform must include "finding a way forward" for children brought to the country illegally.

Given the recent climate on immigration reform in Washington, the change isn't all that surprising. Since the November election, when Mitt Romney won only 27% of the Latino voting bloc, the Republican Party has largely sounded more supportive of lighter immigration policies for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S.

And CNN reported last month that Ryan, himself, was supporting a bipartisan effort in the House on immigration reform and encouraging fellow members to move forward with major immigration reform legislation this year.

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, also applauded the president's tone on immigration during his State of the Union address earlier this month. He told CNN's Jake Tapper that Obama's language in the speech was "productive."

The DREAM Act, which establishes a pathway to citizenship for young, undocumented immigrants pursuing education or military opportunities, has gone through multiple versions of legislation throughout the last decade but has failed to pass Congress.

The Wisconsin Republican voted against a version of the DREAM Act in the House in 2010, and his selection as Romney's running mate was widely seen as a choice that wouldn't particularly help Romney gain support in the Latino base.

The congressman, according to his old text on his website, opposed the DREAM Act because it was "a symptom-rather than the root cause-of our current problems." Ryan argued that the U.S. must first secure the border and build an enforceable guest worker program before pursuing such "piecemeal reforms like the DREAM Act."

However, that specific language is gone and the website now says that "immigration legislation must include a fair and reasonable way to address the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, of which over seven million are employed, contributing members of our economy." That includes a path forward "for the DREAMers," it states.

The changes were pointed out to CNN by a Democratic operative.

During the election, Ryan was thrust onto a ticket in which his running mate, Romney, was known for stating during the Republican presidential primary that he would "veto the DREAM Act if he were president," saying instead he would support a path to residency -- not citizenship -- for those who served in the military, but not other DREAM Act proposals.

Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fundraiser in Florida that Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.

Ryan's website also omits language that used to say immigration reform must require undocumented immigrants to leave the U.S., then re-apply for citizenship from their home country if they want to come back.

That language also fell in line with what Romney stated during his presidential bid, most specifically his position favoring undocumented workers to "self-deport," then reapply from outside the U.S.

Another line that has been removed from Ryan's website: "I do not support amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States."

Ryan's office said the team "periodically updates content on our website to ensure residents of the 1st Congressional District receive accurate information."

"The most recent updates to our website coincided with the start of the 113th Congress," Kevin Seifert, a spokesman for Ryan, told CNN.

Ryan, however, still supports tighter border security measures, an enforceable guest worker program, and a secure employee verification system.

Ryan said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that "there's a way to do this through earned legalization without rewarding people for having come in with undocumented status, illegally. We don't want to give them an advantage over those who came here legally."

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