April 24, 2014

Latham opposes Senate immigration package

Republican Congressman Tom Latham says he does not support the immigration reform package that cleared the U.S. Senate last week.

“The Senate bill — it certainly would not have any opportunity of passing in the House,” Latham says.

House Republicans will meet in private July 10th to talk about the issue. Many House Republicans are opposed to a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the country today — something the Senate endorsed in its bill. Latham is among the Republicans who say they need proof the border is secure before they’ll even consider granting legal status to those who entered the country illegally.

“I support the House position, that is to move individual bills addressing immigration: talking about border security, about making a verification system work and in place before any kind of change in status for people who have come into the country undocumented,” Latham says. “And that’s really the way we’re going to proceed.”

The Senate folded all immigration-related proposals into one bill. Steve King — Iowa’s other Republican congressman – has long opposed what he calls “amnesty” and he opposes House votes on any part of immigration reform. King and others fear congressional leaders might use any bill that passes the House as a vehicle to forge a compromise immigration reform measure with the Senate.

A chorus of other Republicans, like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Karl Rove — an advisor to former President George W. Bush, have been calling on the House to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes some path to legal status for undocumented people living and working in the U.S. today. They argue the GOP will alienate minority voters if the party doesn’t embrace immigration reform.

Other Republicans say business groups are divided on the issue and granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship rewards lawlessness.