Democrats need to come 'halfway' on immigration, Rand Paul says

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said immigration reform legislation could quickly get through Congress, if Democrats are willing to meet Republicans “halfway” on key issues.

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Paul, who voted against the broad Senate bill last year, said that the House is unlikely to pass a measure that has a path to citizenship, which was included in the Senate measure. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that the House will take a more step-by-step approach to immigration policy.

“Are you willing to try to bring the 11 million people who are here, bring them out of the shadows, give them an existence, try to be more humane, and try to get a better situation for them? That could happen tomorrow,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”

"The problem is, is the sticking point going to be we have to have immediate voting privileges for those who came here illegally,” Paul added. “If the Democrats are willing to come halfway, I think we can pass some meaningful reform.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key architect of the Senate bill, said on “This Week” that he believes immigration reform will get done this year, noting that key interests in the GOP back an overhaul and that top Republicans believe immigration is a political problem for them.

Schumer also said that immigration reform would help the economy, and insisted that Boehner’s actions during last year’s budget debate was a good sign for immigration.

“For the first time, Speaker Boehner said he is not going to let the minority of his caucus, Tea Party minority, run the show,” Schumer said. “They’re the people who have been opposed to immigration reform. Many of the mainstream conservatives, just like in the Senate, are for it.” 

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