The House is tentatively scheduled to begin voting on immigration bills in October, according to a top House Republican.
Congress will leave town next week for the entire month of August and has only nine legislative days in September to tackle spending bills in order to prevent a government shutdown. Immigration votes could happen after that, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Friday.
"Tentatively, in October, we're going to vote on a border security bill, an interior enforcement bill, a bill for legal immigration," Ryan told constituents and immigrant activists at a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Since the Senate passed its sweeping immigration bill in June, the House has been contemplating how to tackle the issue. A House committee has quietly approved a series of four bills dealing with high-skilled workers, agricultural workers, employer verification and enforcement.
Ryan has been deeply involved in immigration negotiations and his comments are one of the first indications about when those bills will come to a full vote before the House.
The intent "is to bring five or six bills...to fix these problems one step at a time in a comprehensive way," Ryan reportedly said. The Wisconsin Republican has worked behind the scenes for months to convince others in his party to support a bill that would legalize unauthorized immigrants. And on Friday, he said that, "we're going to vote on a bill for people who are undocumented."
Under a legalization plan in the House, Ryan said that undocumented immigrants would have to wait 15 years to earn U.S. citizenship, the Journal Sentinel reported.