Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee overseeing immigration, said this week he expected Congress to pursue immigration reform legislation despite a tight schedule including debates over Syria, health care, and the debt limit.

Those and other issues “should not deter us from getting to immigration as soon as possible,” Goodlatte said in a radio interview on Tuesday.  Goodlatte said he expected votes soon, perhaps in October, on a series of smaller House bills on border security, internal enforcement,  guest workers, and high-tech visas. “Those bills are ready to go to the floor of the House and it’s my hope they come to the floor of the House as soon as possible,” he said.

 That package of legislation is reported to be a relatively easy lift for Republicans. However,  House Republicans have yet to formulate a plan to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today.  Goodlatte did say there was  concern that the Senate’s bill did not go far enough in guaranteeing tough security and enforcement measures that will take effect before affected immigrants obtain legal status.  “We want to make sure that these enforcement mechanisms are put in place before people get a legal status,” he said.

But according to Goodlatte’s Tuesday interview, the citizenship debate was still ongoing, at least for young undocumented immigrants. “We don’t know what this bill is going to look like…but whether it’s a legal status or whether it includes a legal status and then a way to earn citizenship through education, military service, or types of employment, whatever the case might be, all of this is being discussed,” he said. One of the big obstacles to reaching a final bill, he added, was trying to find a way to discourage future immigrants from bringing their children to America in the hopes of obtaining legal status for them through similar legislation.

Goodlatte said there was still a discussion within the party in general regarding undocumented immigrants and whether, instead of a “special path to citizenship” they might be able to instead obtain citizenship through more limited visa programs available to legal immigrants. The Senate’s bill would grant an expedited path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants while routing most eligible immigrants through an earned pathway that would take at least 13 years to complete before they obtain citizenship.