14 June 2012

Senior Republican dismisses US immigration proposals

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Representative Steve King, a senior Republican on US immigration matters, has said he will not support the immigration proposals his party colleagues have suggested.

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Steve King, the Republican Representative from Iowa, doubts whether his party's US immigration proposals can become law.

Reform of the US immigration system is an intensely debated topic at the moment in American politics and, while the Democratic Party's DREAM Act continues to stall in Congress, Republicans have been rushed to suggest their own alternatives.

So far several senators and a governor have suggested their own proposals but it is that of Republican Senator Marco Rubio, widely considered a favourite for presidential nominee Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee, which has attracted the most attention.

While the finer details of Senator Rubio's plan are yet to be released, the Senator has proposed granting children of illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children by their parents a non-immigrant US visa to those who serve in the military.

Senator Rubio's proposal was joined last week by a fellow Floridian Republican, Representative David Rivera, who proposed his own bill, the 'Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act' or STARS, which would allow undocumented students the chance to remain in the country and eventually apply for citizenship.

However, Representative King has dismissed both the STARS Act and Senator Rubio's proposal, saying they reward lawbreakers and 'meet the definition of amnesty'.

"[Senator Rubio and Representative Rivera] say things that tug at our hearts," said Representative King. "They say [immigrants] weren't aware they were breaking the law. But it was their parents that made the poor choices for their children. It's not our moral obligation to make up for the poor decision to bring them illegally from their countries."

In an election year, both parties are attempting to appeal to Hispanic voters, who have obvious vested interests in immigration, without looking soft on immigration.

President Obama has promised to reform the immigration system should he be elected to a second term yet his failure to do so in his first term combined with record levels of deportations have led some to believe his reputation among Hispanics, a demographic who comfortably supported him in 2008, may be damaged.

Meanwhile his opponent Mitt Romney has previously said he would veto the DREAM Act, a law that offers citizenship to children of illegal immigrants who serve in the military or attend college, if he is elected and has previously called Arizona's controversial immigration law which is currently being hear before the Supreme Court a 'model for the nation'.

While both parties attempt to be seen as the best choice for voters, many, including the Speaker of the House and most senior Republican John Boehner have doubted whether an election year's hazardous political landscape is stable enough to pass any immigration legislation, an opinion Representative King agrees with:

"They would have a hard time getting [the immigration bills] through the [House of Representatives] Judiciary Committee. I don't think the votes are there to pass it."

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