Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and the chairman of the committee, said the first of several proposals in the coming weeks would create a guest worker program for agriculture and require employers to use an electronic verification system to check the immigration status of employees.

Mr. Goodlatte made it clear that his committee’s intention was to jump-start the debate in the House. The bipartisan House group studying immigration, which has been meeting in secret on and off for about four years, has yet to offer its own proposal.

“We think we can help move the process forward by beginning to examine the legislative details of various ideas that members have brought forward,” he said.

Mr. Goodlatte’s announcement is likely to create a sense of urgency among the House group, particularly its Democratic members, to introduce broad legislation. Many Republicans in the House prefer a piecemeal approach, similar to what Mr. Goodlatte is proposing, though Democrats fear that this approach would make it tough for them to win support for a path to legalization — a crucial part of any immigration overhaul, they say.

The announcement came after the Senate Judiciary Committee this week held the last of three hearings on legislation that would tighten border security and offer an eventual path to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants already here.

Excerpted from: New York Times