Sen. Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that the U.S. House of Representatives would not take up the Senate’s version of the sweeping immigration legislation that the Upper Chamber is expected to vote on this week — instead taking up its own version of the legislation.
“We’re not going to bring up the Senate bill,” Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “We’re going to do it our own way, on our own time, in a very methodical way — because we want to make sure we get this right.”
The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators proposed the sweeping reform legislation in April. It has been debated for nearly three weeks in on the Senate floor, and a final vote is expected by Friday.
The border enhancement measures include doubling the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, to a total of 40,000, and for the increased use of surveillance technology along the border. This would include unmanned drones, cameras, and ground sensors.
In addition, the amount of border fencing would be doubled, from 350 miles to 700 miles. Currently, about 40 miles of fencing is situated along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate, said that the border amendments to the Senate bill brought the legislation closer to the House’s thinking, but that they’re not enough.
“We want to make sure we get it right,” he said.
The House plan would include “real triggers on the border, real triggers in the e-verify system, which is basically another way of saying, ‘If you’re not here legally, you can’t get a job,’” Ryan said.
“We want to get those things right to make sure this bill works,” he added. “We want immigration reform that works for our country, that works for national security, that’s good for our economy — and we don’t want to be in the same boat 10 years down the road.”
Under the House plan, illegal immigrants would be given probationary status for five years while the border is being secured and the e-verify system is being developed and made operational, Ryan said.
If those “triggers” do not occur, the illegals would lose that status and become ineligible for legal permanent residency, he said.
The verifications would be done by the General Accounting Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, Ryan said.
“We want to make sure that people who didn’t do things the right way make amends with the law, acknowledge that they didn’t follow the law and also get at the back of the line — so that people who did things right, who came here legally in the first place, who waited in line, who paid the fees, get through the system first,” he said.
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