Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reiterated his support for immigration reform during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, saying that he could vote for the comprehensive reform reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee if lawmakers improved its provisions on border security and expanded the number of work visas available to foreigners.
“I do want to support a bill,” Paul told guest host Martha Raddatz. “I talked to the authors of it. If they’ll work with me on the amendment there’s a very good chance that I could vote for it. But it has to be a better bill.” Paul also said he could support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants:
RADDATZ: And a pathway to citizenship?
PAUL: I would say no new pathway…. My preference would be to change the law that says you can’t simultaneously be in the work visa line and the pathway to come to this country. As long as somebody who has a work visa is treated the same as a new person in Mexico City who wants to get in line tomorrow, I don’t have a problem getting in the normal line. I just don’t want to create a new line or give a new preference to people who are here undocumented. But I’m all in favor of allowing undocumented workers becoming documented workers.
The Senate’s bill would offer “unlimited green cards for foreigners with certain advanced U.S. degrees and a huge increase in visas for highly skilled foreign workers.” The measure also creates W-Visa for foreign residents who can enter the United States to perform lower-skilled labor.
Republicans in the Gang of Eight have also insisted that the bill’s path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants will not disadvantage those who are already in line legally. As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — one of the authors of the bill — told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday, undocumented immigrants living in the United States will apply for temporary legal status, begin working and paying taxes, and apply for lawful permanent resident status though the same merit based system everyone else must use to earn a green card and if all people currently waiting for family and employment green cards have had their priority.
“After that the only thing that happens is you are no longer are prohibited from applying for a green card the same way everybody else does,” Rubio said. “You are not awarded a green card at ten and a half years. No one comes and says here’s your green card. All that happens is you are no longer prohibited from applying for one. You still have to qualify for it. You still have to get in line and do all of those store sorts of things to get it.”
The full Senate is expected to take-up immigration reform next month.