CHICAGO (CBS) — A year after the U.S. Senate approved a comprehensive immigration reform plan, North Shore Congressman Brad Schneider said it’s unfortunate the bill remains stalled in the House.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Schneider, a Democrat from Deerfield, said the lack of comprehensive immigration reform has been “holding back our economy at a time where we need to be looking to create jobs, and move our economy forward.”
On June 27, 2013, the Senate approved a sweeping immigration reform package by a 68-32 vote. However, the House has yet to take up the plan.
“It’s so unfortunate that the Republican leadership in the House, and maybe even the rank-and-file, many are unwilling to pick up what the senate has done and move forward,” Schneider said.
Under the legislation approved by the Senate, businesses would be required to check the legal status of every job applicant through the government’s E-Verify system. The number of visas for highly-skilled workers would be expanded, a separate program would be established for lower-skilled workers, and farm workers would be admitted under a temporary program.
The measure would double the number of Border Patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000, spend billions on enhanced surveillance equipment for the border, and double the amount of border fences from 350 to 700 miles.
Those measures would have to be in place before undocumented immigrants could get a green card and begin the path to citizenship.
Schneider said there are some House Republicans who would vote to support comprehensive immigration reform if they had a chance, but House Speaker John Boehner has refused to call for a vote.
“I helped introduce a bill in the House that has 200 co-sponsors – including three Republicans. I believe if Speaker Boehner were to allow that bill to come to the House floor for a vote, it would pass,” he said.
Schneider faces former Republican Congressman Bob Dold in his re-election bid in November. Schneider is the guest on this week’s edition of “At Issue,” airing Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.