Rep. Labrador: Immigration Reform Cannot Reward Lawbreakers

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 04:33 PM

By David Yonkman, Newsmax Washington Correspondent

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The immigration reform principles outlined by President Obama and the Senate are a step in the right direction, but creating a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers will not be well received in the House, Rep. Raul Labrador tells Newsmax.

“I think it’s a mistake for us to create a new pathway to citizenship for people who have violated the law,” the Idaho Republican and former immigration lawyer said. Reform “needs to be fair to the 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here, but also fair to the millions waiting in line to get into the U.S.”

Labrador is believed to be involved in a bipartisan working group in the House on immigration reform that also includes Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Sam Johnson and John Carter of Texas, Politico has reported. The Democrats are represented by Zoe Lofgren and Xavier Becerra of California, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and John Yarmuth of Kentucky.

The principles included in the Senate’s and Obama’s framework — including tougher border security, establishing an employment verification system, and creating a guest worker program — need to include strict enforcement measures as well, Labrador said, which is why past reform efforts have failed.

The “principle of having enforcement that is measurable is extremely important to Republicans,” he said. “That’s one of the problems you have, creating a new system of enforcement when the current system hasn’t been enforced.”

Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Republicans must “evolve” on immigration while also protecting the borders. Speaking on commentator Bryan Fischer’s radio program, Paul maintained, “We cannot just be a beacon for everyone to come here on benefits.”

He continued, “So I am concerned, but I’m also open-minded enough to say that it is an issue that we do need to evolve on. But I’m not willing to be so much in adapting that I believe you allow people to come in without having a secure border and without not letting people get to the front of the line.”

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