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Congress: House leaders release immigration principles

The Wall Street Journal: “House Republican leaders released a long-awaited set of principles Thursday to guide the chamber's debate on immigration, a balancing effort aimed at drawing a majority of Republicans without alienating Democrats who also would be needed to pass a bill.”

What does it do? “As expected, the GOP outline called for a path to citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. as children and granting a form of legal status allowing many other immigrants now in the U.S. illegally to stay here. It also would make changes to the visa system for high-tech and agriculture workers, improve border security and mandate the use of a biometric system—using markers such as fingerprints—for visitors exiting as well as entering the U.S.”

NBC’s Carrie Dann: “A draft document obtained by NBC News on Thursday reiterated many principles already laid out by GOP leaders, including a refusal to meld any House-passed legislation with a comprehensive bill previously passed by the Senate. It also stated that ‘border security and interior enforcement must come first.’ But the draft also offered a potential blueprint for how most of the nation’s undocumented immigrants can “come out of the shadows” and live without the threat of deportation.”

USA Today: “The principles do not make clear whether most undocumented immigrants would ever be able to apply for green cards or become U.S. citizens.” More: “The GOP principles back citizenship to those who came here illegally if they meet the various conditions. Senate Democrats were encouraged by what they saw in the one-page set of principles.”

AP: “House Republicans wrestled inconclusively with the outlines of immigration legislation Thursday night, sharply divided over the contentious issue itself and the political wisdom of acting on it in an election year.”

Roll Call has some of the details of what happened in the room and reminds that these principles could be amended or outright rejected: “Boehner himself made the pitch to his conference to act, according to a source in the room. ‘It’s important to act on immigration reform because we’re focused on jobs and economic growth, and this about jobs and growth,’ he told his flock. ‘Reform is also about our national security. The safety and security of our nation depends on our ability to secure our border, enforce our laws, improve channels for legal entry to the country, and identify who is here illegally.’”

Reminder: President Obama won Hispanics 71%-27% in the 2012 presidential elections, according to exit polls.

Obama is indicating an openness to the GOP plan. “In an interview with CNN, Obama reiterated his preference for including a route to citizenship in a comprehensive bill. But he says he doesn't want to prejudge legislation where people get legal status and then go into the regular citizenship process,” AP writes.