September 19, 2014

State GOP talking immigration reform

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner speaks at the GOP convention

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner speaks at the GOP convention in Wausau

Even members of the same political party can’t agree on how to fix immigration policies.

U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner is opposed to President Barack Obama’s immigration bill, calling it amnesty that he cannot support. The Republican from Menomonee Falls wants to secure the borders and enforce laws that prohibit employers from hiring illegal workers.

“To turn off the magnet of jobs that lures illegal immigrants across the border we  need to throw the book at employers who break the law by hiring illegal immigrants.”

According to Sensenbrenner, the so-called Gang of Eight bill makes the immigration problem even worse. He says it would take 25 years to become a citizen for those going through the ropes legally and 13 years for those living here illegally.

“That is a 12-year head start to get citizenship for breaking the law and it is wrong, it is dead wrong, and it sends a message that we should not send around the world.”

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan says there’s agreement on the principle that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

“We have a broken immigration system. It’s not working. And for the sake of our national security, for the sake of our economic security we’ve got to fix our immigration laws. And what’s good is Republicans and Democrats are trying to come together to figure out how to do that.”

The Republican from Janesville disagrees with his friend Jim Sensenbrenner, saying the Senate bill and the legislation being drafted in the House are not amnesty.

“The driving principle of immigration reform that’s working its way through Congress is number one: first secure the border. Number two: make sure you have a verification system at the employer level so an undocumented immigrant can’t get a job. And number three: do not reward a person for cutting in line.”

Sensenbrenner says whether supporters “sugarcoat the pill” by calling it comprehensive immigration reform, a pathway to citizenship, or earned legalization, granting amnesty divides the country between “lawbreakers and law followers.” Sensenbrenner says it is “blatantly unfair” to the millions of immigrants who’ve applied for legal status.