Paul and Yarmuth hold out hope for pieces of immigration reform even as Senate bill stalls

11/19/2013 11:43 AM

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth both say the nation needs immigration reform — but the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Immigration reform was once a chance for bipartisan cooperation in Congress. Bipartisan working groups in both House and Senate tried to fashion proposals aimed at border security, improving the work visa program and addressing the illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

But after the U.S. Senate passed a version of the bill, House Speaker John Boehner last week put the issue on ice, saying the House won’t move on it in 2013.

Paul often talked about the need for immigration reform this spring as he began his national tour, including in key presidential states like Iowa . But in an interview with Pure Politics on Friday, he said the issue remains “complicated.”

Paul said that in order to fix immigration it’s necessary to expand legal immigration and one way to do that would be through an expansion of the work visa program.

“What I’m worried about is a limit,” Paul said. “You have to make it legal to choose a better paying job. In fact, I think that’s frankly an American ideal to choose a better paying job.”

Paul said the Senate bill wouldn’t pass the House the way it’s currently written, and the bill he said is important politically for the Republicans.

“I think it’s important for the Republican party to show that we are open to immigration reform and we want to fix this problem,” Paul said.

While Paul said you don’t always get to pick the bills and the way they’re written, he hopes people understand that he still supports immigration reform – even if he doesn’t always vote for every bill.

Yarmuth, meanwhile, was a key member of the House working group dealing with crafting immigration reform. As Pure Politics reported last week, Yarmuth said Democrats still “want something to get passed” and expect it will sometime next year.

“The problem right now is that there are some Republicans (in the House) that won’t vote for any measure – even if it’s something they strongly support…because they don’t want to go to conference with the Senate,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth said that certain aspects of immigration like border security measures might be able to clear the House and then eventually end up in a comprehensive immigration reform package through a conference committee.


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