“I’m not going to support any kind of legalization because legalization is amnesty, is eventual citizenship if not instantaneous citizenship, and if we do that, we get more lawbreakers,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
With federal leaders navigating the politically divisive topic of comprehensive immigration reform, U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz on Wednesday stressed the need for “an earned path to citizenship” and “smart border security.”
Ruiz’s comments came after the all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss immigration reform.
The roundtable discussion, which was closed to the press, came on the same day that Republican lawmakers met to discuss their thoughts on the sweeping legislation the Senate passed last month.
That measure would spend tens of billions on border security, create new legal avenues for workers to come to the U.S., require employers to verify their workers’ legal status and establish a path to possible eventual citizenship for the estimated 11 million already here illegally.
“We talked about the need for a comprehensive immigration reform at this critical moment in our country. We talked about the importance of making sure it was done with bipartisan support,” Ruiz told The Desert Sun.
“We talked about the importance of making sure that local industries like agriculture and tourism, that are especially important for our district, have a workforce that will be able to add to our economic growth.”
One of the most complicated issues facing lawmakers is what to do about those who are already in the U.S. illegally.
The Senate bill offers a 13-year path for most, contingent on paying fines, learning English and meeting other qualifications. Agriculture workers and people brought to the United States as youths would have a faster route.