Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador reacted today to the Senate’s approval Thursday of an immigration reform bill. The Republican congressman who made his living as an immigration attorney before being elected to the House in 2010 says he gives the Senate credit for framing the issue and addressing important aspects of the immigration debate.
But Labrador echoed the sentiments of Senate Republicans who voted against the measure, including Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.
“My concern with the Senate is that they do legalization today and they talk about enforcement later,” he told KBSX in an interview from his Washington office. “I think that’s always been the problem with immigration reform.”
Labrador says that criticism will keep the Senate bill from being considered by the House. He thinks the legislation will be left untouched in the House, or will be voted down by members of the body’s Judiciary Committee.
Labrador says he expects the House to then pass its own legislation that prioritizes enforcement of immigration laws over amnesty. What happens after that, he says, will be up to Senate Democrats.
“I think something meaningful can pass,” he said. “The question is whether the Democrats are going to be willing to meet us halfway. If they want the Senate bill or nothing else, then immigration reform will not happen. If they understand that the Senate is a different body than the House and we can meet each other halfway, then I think immigration reform can happen."
Labrador also took the opportunity to criticize Democratic leadership in Washington. Labrador blamed last week’s farm bill failure on party leaders and their “unwilling(ness) to do anything that is constructive”.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio