GOP senators differ on bringing up immigration reform this Congress

Two Republican senators Sunday had different takes on bringing up comprehensive immigration reform this Congress.


The issue has quickly been pushed to the forefront because of a controversial new immigration law passed in Arizona this week. Democrats say that the law, which allows state police to check the identification of suspected illegal immigrants, is unfair and highlights the need for comprehensive reform.

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Most Republicans say that the issue of border security needs to be addressed before any discussion about a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. 

The issue has also caused a stir because it has seemed to usurp climate change and energy legislation that was supposed to be brought up in the Senate after the financial reform debate.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" that bringing up immigration reform and climate change legislation is a bad idea because there is limited time to consider the issue.

"I don't see how you could bring either up," Chambliss said. "I'm not sure where you find the time to deal with both of these major issues."

There are about 50 legislative days left in this Congress and Chambliss said the Senate still needs to consider the budget and deficit concerns. 

But Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) echoed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) saying the bill shows that federal authorities have failed to act to secure the border. 

Asked if it is the right time to bring up the bill, Shelby said that it's more important to secure the borders and then consider other measures. He left the door open for supporting an immigration bill but also indicated he could oppose one, saying "I think we'll have to look at the details."

When asked if the measure would come up this year, Shelby was also noncommittal, saying "maybe."

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