POLITICS

Ranking GOP Lawmaker Says Party Would Support Deal To Boost Foreign Worker Visas

FILE - In this July 10, 2013, file photo House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., speaks with reporters after House Republicans worked on an approach to immigration reform in a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in Washington. A central question is whether the 11 million immigrants already in the US illegally should get a path to citizenship. "We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate," says Goodlatte. He has said that after attaining legal status, immigrants could potentially use the existing avenues toward naturalization, such as family or employment ties. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - In this July 10, 2013, file photo House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., speaks with reporters after House Republicans worked on an approach to immigration reform in a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in Washington. A central question is whether the 11 million immigrants already in the US illegally should get a path to citizenship. "We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate," says Goodlatte. He has said that after attaining legal status, immigrants could potentially use the existing avenues toward naturalization, such as family or employment ties. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (AP PHOTO2013)

The GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says that his party would support expanding foreign worker programs as well as allowing younger undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said that Republicans in the House, where they have a majority, do not trust President Obama with a comprehensive immigration reform measure.

The Daily Caller reported that at a meeting Thursday hosted by the National Journal, Goodlatte said: “Congress legislates, not the executive branch, and [Obama is] attempting to rewrite laws to suit what he perceives to be demand. It’s a mistake.”

He said the GOP caucus felt a “lot of mistrust of the president.”

Goodlatte said that Republicans would be willing to work with the White House on a plan that would tighten border enforcement, raise the number of foreign workers and help some younger immigrants legalize.

In 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform measure that both tightened enforcement and called for a path to legal status for certain undocumented immigrants. But the effort stalled in the House, where Republicans have a majority and where there is resistance to any measure that would provide a path to legalize for undocumented immigrants.

Among the Republicans who are adamant about not granting anyone who is here illegally a chance to legalize is Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who recently said that he would not support allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought as children and who want to join the military an opportunity to become legal residents.

"As soon as they raise their hand and say, 'I'm unlawfully present in the United States,' we're not going take your oath into the military, but we're going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana," he said, according to Breitbart News. "That's the law."

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) assailed the comment.

"This rhetoric is insulting, unacceptable and harmful," she said, according to published reports. "These most recent comments by my Republican colleagues are a new low in Republicans' attempts to insult Hispanics and the immigrant community and derail immigration reform."

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