Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) said Sunday that Republicans should move forward with passing an immigration bill this year, regardless of what pollsters say.
Last week, House GOP leaders released a set of immigration principles that outlined an approach that would eventually lead to the legalization of many illegal immigrants, once border security is toughened.
“There are a lot of folks in the Republican Party that would tell you the president is doing so poorly right now in the polls, and especially with the flawed implementation and design of the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare — there are a lot of folks that would tell you we should stay out of his way and run 2014 as a referendum on that,” Jindal said. “I’m not one of those people.”
“I think we were elected to solve the problems facing the country. That includes replacing ObamaCare, that includes addressing immigration,” he said on CNN’s "State of the Union."
Jindal did not say during the program that he explicitly supports the House GOP statement of principles.
He said the American people are “compassionate” and would be open to an approach that does not punish children of illegal immigrants, commonly known as Dreamers.
He said that they are “skeptical” of promises of tighter borders, so it would make sense to have border state governors certify once the borders are closed to more illegal immigration before proceeding with other aspects of reform. He also advocated more visas for high-skilled immigrants, saying that would boost the economy.
“Let’s not just do it because a pollster says it's one thing or another,” Jindal said.
During the program, the Louisiana governor reiterated that, while he does not support legalization of marijuana, as has occurred in Colorado, he is open to allowing some medical uses. He also said he agrees with President Obama that penalties for nonviolent use of the drug are often too severe.
— This post was updated at 10:25 a.m.