Paul Ryan: Immigration Reform is a Question of 'When' Not 'If'

Posted: Mar 27, 2014 4:08 PM

“To me, it’s not a question of ‘if’ we fix our broken immigration laws,” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said Wednesday, “it’s really a question of ‘when.’” Ryan, who was making the economic case for reforming our nation’s immigration system, was speaking at a breakfast hosted by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan called the nation’s immigration laws “chief” among the problems that are curbing economic growth. Noting the rate of retirement among baby boomers, Ryan said reforming the immigration system is necessary to fill future jobs.

“Please know that we understand the value of immigration,” Ryan told the crowd. “We know its importance; we know its roots, its history here in America; and we have ideas on how to make this go forward and make it work so that we do have the rule of law, so that we do have reform, so that we’re not in the same position 15 years down the road.”

House Republican leaders signaled earlier this year that they were ready to move forward on immigration reform — months after the Democratic-led Senate passed a complete overhaul with a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

But the GOP quickly extinguished the chances that immigration will get done this year, citing skepticism that President Barack Obama will enforce any laws that Congress writes. Republicans are also reluctant to take on a divisive issue such as immigration during an election year in which they will almost certainly retain control of the House and have a good chance at capturing the Senate.

Earlier this month, Ryan said in an interview with his local newspaper that GOP leaders “don’t have the votes right now” to pass immigration reform. “Right now, we’re working hard to find where that consensus lies”