While he and fellow GOP members of the House of Representatives agree that the current immigration system is broken, they differ with their counterparts in the Senate on the details, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. says.
"Our framers gave us two legislative bodies, and I assume that they did it for a reason," Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday. House members seek re-election every two years, as opposed to every six years in the State, on the theory that House members will be closer to the will of the people, Gowdy said.
Schumer: House Will Pass Senate Bill by End of Year
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill 68-32 on Thursday, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted on Fox News Sunday that the Senate's version will pass the House by year's end because a diverse coalition of religious and business interests support it and because many GOP members don't want compromise legislation that would be worked out between the two bodies if the House passes its own set of bills.
"I'm more interested in getting it right than doing it on Sen. Schumer's schedule," Gowdy said.
"I cannot sell in South Carolina a border security plan where the security comes after the legalization. I can't sell a border security plan where (Homeland Security Secretary) Janet Napolitano gets to tell us the border is secure. I can't sell a border security plan where the executive can turn on and off triggers for politically expedient reasons. Nor would I try to sell any of those plans," Gowdy added.
The House has passed five stand-alone bills so far dealing with immigration, Gowdy noted, including one that allows state and local law enforcement to assist federal agents in enforcing immigration laws.
"That's a nonstarter in the Senate," he said.
Other bills included increasing visas for highly skilled workers, and a new program for agriculture guest workers.
Gowdy said the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States are not monolithic, and shouldn't be treated the same when it comes to legalization. Some, he said, are not even interested in becoming U.S. citizens.
"It would be curious indeed to force citizenship on someone who doesn't want it," he said.
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