WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) -- The immigration issue is one of the most talked about and divisive issues in Washington right now. We’ve heard Republicans say the Senate bill is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. Most minority Democrats in the House favpr the Senate bill.
One of them is Wisconsin’s 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind.
Kind says the two sides really need to work together and fix a broken system. “We have an immigration system that’s broken. It needs to be fixed. The Senate has passed a comprehensive approach to it, now all eyes are on the House of Representatives to see what we can come up with, and I hope we’re able to work on this in a bipartisan fashion and fix a lot of the problems that I believe are holding back more economic growth and job creation.”
Congressman Kind says the immigration legislation needs to address high and low-skilled labor needs, especially in agriculture. He says we also need some other tools built into immigration reform. “Yes, we have to have a better tracking system in place for those who even enter legally but sometimes disappear after their visas expire, and I think we need a better e-verify system for our businesses so they can cross reference and check the information that prospective employees are giving them, so these businesses don’t get into trouble, ultimately.”
Border security is being pushed by several members of Congress, especially from the Republican side of the aisle. Kind says he’s concerned about the real value of pouring millions of dollars into border security, as trends show more undocumented people going south instead of north into the U.S. “I just hope we don’t go over the top, and what’s being proposed right now would be an additional 40 billion dollars of spending on the southern border with, I’m afraid, very marginal or minimal gains from that at a time of record budget deficits that have to be addressed.”
Kind is not convinced the Republicans approach to immigration reform in the House is going to work. “Speaker Boehner in the House wants a different approach. He wants to cherry-pick and piecemeal certain parts of immigration reform, and try to move it individually like that. I don’t think that’s going to work very well. Many of these parts are interdependent. They go together. That’s why Senate took a longer, comprehensive approach.”
From the Republican side of the issue, 7th District Congressman Sean Duffy is one that believes the Senate bill is dead on arrival in the House. Duffy is not convinced the border will be secured, either. Both Duffy and Kind agree the e-verify system needs improvements and the work visa program needs reforms that will help the agriculture and other industries.