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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House rejects Rubio/Senate's 'flawed' bill, will take piecemeal approach to immigration



House Republicans gathered behind closed doors this afternoon to discuss immigration reform, with leaders signaling something must be done, but rejecting the bill designed by Sen. Marco Rubio and others in the upper chamber.

“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system," House leaders said in a statement. The move was not unexpected.

Florida lawmakers endorsed the go-slow, border-first approach.

"I believe that we should approach immigration reform in an incremental fashion, not in a comprehensive bill like the one just passed by the Senate," said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland. "I also believe in earned legal status. We desperately need immigration reform. Forty percent of the people who are in our country illegally are here on expired visas. Addressing border security, visas, guest worker programs, and implementing a mandatory e-verify system will go a long way in reforming our immigration system."

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said: "I'm looking forward to reviewing the House immigration plan as it develops in the weeks and months ahead. I have consistently argued for a solution that strengthens our security and upholds the rule of law without rewarding 11 million illegal immigrants with amnesty.  It is crucial that we secure the border, enforce the laws already on the books and expand employment-based immigration to attract skilled professionals."

A spokesman for Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, said: "He believes the House has an obligation to act in its own right on immigration reform and that bringing the Senate bill to the Floor is an exercise in futility.  He doesn’t support it and it won’t pass.  Border security must come first."

And Rep. Rich Nugent remains opposed to a comprehensive approach. "You might miss out on the fireworks of final passage doing it a piece at a time, but I think you come up with a much better set of reforms," he said in May.

The rest of the GOP statement today read: "The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy.  But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 6:38pm]


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