President Barack Obama promised in his immigration speech Thursday
to make it easier for "high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy," but Rep. Darrell Issa said nothing in Obama's proposal would back that up.
Appearing on PBS "Newshour"
special coverage just after the speech, the California Republican held up a thick ream of paper containing a bill that would allow high-tech workers to more easily enter the country.
Nothing Obama said about deferring the deportations of up to 5 million illegal immigrants would do anything to address those high-skilled needs, Issa said.
Obama said his plan applied only to people who had been in the country at least five years, passed criminal background checks and have children who are either American citizens or who are in the country legally.
"There's nothing he can do for them if they don't fit his criteria," Issa told PBS.
High-skilled workers could be brought in much more easily if the Senate would take up HR 2131, The SKILLS Visa Act,
which already has passed the House, he added.
Issa reiterated other Republicans' warnings that his executive action only poisons the well for future negotiations on immigration and other issues.
"If the president had said, I'll waive amnesty, let's negotiate a comprehensive or piecemeal … bill, he could have negotiated some of these points into a good piece of legislation," Issa said. "He's souring a relationship that (Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell and (House) Speaker (John) Boehner should and want to have."
Anchor Judy Woodruff asked whether some of Obama's other plans, such as increasing resources on the southern border, would be an area of agreement with Republicans.
"You don't sink a ship and then talk about patching the hull," Issa replied.\
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