A history lesson could pave the 'way forward' for immigration reform, McConnell says

12/07/2013 12:32 PM

Congress should take a history lesson to break an impasse over immigration reform, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell told farmers Saturday at a conference in Louisville.

While the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive measure earlier this year, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said that bill won’t move in the lower chamber in 2013.

McConnell said Congress needs to make changes to U.S. immigration laws, including to the H-2A guest worker visa program that is important to many farms that hire immigrant workers during planting and harvesting seasons.

“There may be a shot here to move forward and improve the H-2A program,” McConnell said at Saturday’s Kentucky Farm Bureau policy breakfast in Louisville.

McConnell pointed to the Compromise of 1850 brokered by Kentuckian Henry Clay. Initially, the components of the compromise were under one bill that was defeated. But Illinois Sen. Stephen A. Douglas split the bill into five pieces.

“But only five senators voted for every single piece,” McConnell told the Farm Bureau crowd.

“In the House of Representatives, I think the way forward is to pass separate bills dealing with various issues,” McConnell said of immigration reform.


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