Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has become the latest Republican to support citizenship for illegal immigrants.
“I am very comfortable with a path to citizenship,” he told reporters at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, Politico reports
. “It should be more strenuous than the path for people who come here under the regular rules. . . . I’m very comfortable with that. Some people aren’t. And that’s part of what getting from here to there is all about.”
Barbour is co-chairman of the Center’s immigration task force, along with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Barbour was formerly chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Other influential Republicans who have recently come out in favor of welcoming some of those here illegally are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
As for Barbour, “there are probably a variety of ways you could have a pathway to citizenship that would pass muster with me,” he said. “There are some that wouldn’t, if they were too fast, if they didn’t have any special requirements.”
But Barbour cautioned that immigration reform is unlikely to happen quickly. “Having been in the White House in ‘86, the last time we did this, I know it’s complex and contentious,” he said. “It’s a bit overly optimistic to be talking about what we’re going to get done this spring, or before the August recess. It took every bit of two years to do the ‘86 bill.”
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