Ryan: House can make Senate immigration reform measure 'better'

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) laid out the House GOP plan to tackle immigration reform at a town hall Friday, while disowning controversial comments on the matter from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

At a town hall in Racine, Wis., Ryan defended the GOP's approach to overhauling the nation's immigration system to a crowd of immigration activists.

"A lot of people are saying, just pass the Senate bill," he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "That's not what the House is going to do…I think we can make it better."

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As GOP leaders have said in the past, Ryan said the House plans to address immigration reform through a series of smaller bills, as opposed to the single large measure the Senate passed in June. The bills would tackle various issues like border security, workplace verification, and visas for agricultural and skilled workers.

One bill would lay out a pathway for undocumented workers to achieve legal status after 15 years, two years longer than laid out in the Senate plan.

"We want to give people an ability to come out of the shadows and get themselves right with the law," he said.

When asked about recent comments by King, a vocal immigration reform opponent, Ryan was direct in disagreement.

"Representative King's remarks, I disagree with, I disavow, and they're wrong," he said.

King has come under heavy criticism for recent remarks, in which he criticized the idea of allowing undocumented children a pathway to citizenship, accusing many of being involved in illegal activities.

"For every one who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert," he said.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has disavowed King's remarks, calling them "deeply offensive and wrong."


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