(Photo: Flickr/Jens Schott Knudsen)
Virginia Representative Bob Goodlatte (R) has urged Congress to take up immigration reform, while at the same time expressing disagreement with the existing Senate bill at a town hall on Monday.
Goodlatte told a crowd of 200 that though he admitted it was unlikely that President Barack Obama would sign off the changes the House intends to introduce, it was imperative that Congress address immigration and reform it "the right way to show how it should be done, even if it doesn't go all the way through to be signed by this president."
Goodlatte added, "It doesn't mean we shouldn't at least show the American people that we are interested in solving this very serious problem that we have in our country."
Goodlatte, who as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee sees every immigration bill, also explained that the House intended to break up immigration reform into separate bills that individually addressed components like security, enforcement and workplace verification.
The representative also explained that one of his key disagreements with the Senate bill was its inclusion of "special" pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrations, instead arguing that existing legal channels of citizenship ought to be utilized.
"It is not a bill I can support. That bill gives legal status to people not lawfully here before the enforcement is put in,'' Goodlatte said, adding that the Senate bill failed to include sufficient security measures to keep would-be immigrants out.
He also claimed that groups specifically pushing for a "special" pathway had obstructed the current immigration process.
"The folks who want to have a path to citizenship have held everything else hostage," Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte only indirectly addressed a bill he and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have been working on to address undocumented immigrants who arrived as children by saying that it would be introduced soon and that its political viability was still unclear.