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House immigration group reaches 'agreement in principle'

May 16, 2013|By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), second from right, speaks about immigration reform during a news conference in Washington. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has reached agreement on an immigration bill that would parallel work underway in the Senate with Graham and his colleagues.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), second from right, speaks about immigration… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has reached an "agreement in principle" on a sweeping immigration bill that would parallel work underway in the Senate, sources said Thursday.

The consensus, reached after a private evening meeting, puts the House on track to unveil a bill in early June.

The group of eight Democratic and Republican lawmakers had been stalemated to the point that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed concern earlier Thursday.

U.S. immigration law: Decades of debate

"It's been a difficult, arduous process and we haven't fallen apart yet," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), a member of the group. "And now we have an agreement in principle, and I think that says it all."

The House bill is expected to be more conservative than the bipartisan Senate measure, but it will include a similar political trade-off of border security measures alongside a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who have entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas.

But House members appear to have been unable to reach agreement on a new guest-worker program for low-skilled employees, a central element to the Senate bill.

The House group has been meeting privately for several years, but stepped up its efforts this year.

PHOTOS: The debate over immigration reform

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lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

Twitter: @lisamascaroinDC

michael.memoli@latimes.com

Twitter: @mikememoli

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