Republican: 'No problem' for path to legal status

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Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) said Wednesday there would be “no problem” in getting the House to pass legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, adding that a pathway to citizenship is "potentially doable."

“I think there's no problem getting through the House a pathway to legal status. A pathway to citizenship is going to be tougher, but I think it is potentially doable, if we can show the American people that the border is secure,” Farenthold said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” “My constituents feel betrayed by the promise that Reagan made, that if we grant amnesty, we'll then secure the border. We obviously didn't do that.” 

Parents who brought their children to the United States illegally are a “very sympathetic problem” Farenthold added. “We've educated them in our schools, and they become a burden on society if they can't get a job.” 

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The Republican said the border is “relatively secure” but “not secure enough,” given the roughly 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America who have crossed into the U.S. since October.

Asked if the current crisis hurts immigration reform prospects, Farenthold said, “I think, politically, it may,” but he stressed it could be addressed without a comprehensive bill.

“I don't think you'd have any problem getting legislation through the House to have expedited deportation procedures, getting more judges down to prosecute or hear these cases,” said Farenthold, who said it could take years before the children get a hearing otherwise. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told the GOP caucus last week that the House would not hold a vote on immigration reform this year. President Obama announced on Monday that he is taking executive action to fix the system as much as he can himself.

Farenthold suggested he supports the Obama administration’s request for $2 billion in funds to fix the situation at the border, but he said, “We've got to speed up the process.”

On Tuesday, protestors blocked three buses carrying immigrant families to a border patrol processing station in California. Farenthold called protests in response to the crisis “uninformed.”

“This is a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “The whole country needs to step up and help out.”

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