News Column

Immigration Debate Reaches US Congress

Feb 5, 2013

Debate on the need for immigration reform in the United States reached the Capitol Tuesday, as the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the issue since bipartisan plans for a law became public.

Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the committee said legislators have a lot of questions about why US immigration laws have not always been sufficiently enforced.

"And they have a lot of questions about how a large-scale legalization programme would work, what it would cost and how it would prevent illegal immigration in the future," said Goodlatte.

Bipartisan plans for immigration reform have materialized in recent days in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. How the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the country should be treated is a major hurdle.

The bipartisan proposal that eight senators fielded last week would make legalization conditional on having more border security, which U.S. President Barack Obama rejects.

Both the White House and pro-immigration groups regard legalizing some of the undocumented immigrants in the United States as a precondition for any form of immigration reform.

Hispanics' large and growing electoral weight is regarded as the main driving force behind immigration reform efforts from both Democrats and Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, told a press conference Tuesday before the start of the debate that it would take time to reach consensus.

"This is not about being in a hurry. This is about trying to get it right on behalf of the American people and those who are suffering under an immigration system that doesn't work very well for anybody," he stressed.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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