DENVER — Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, one of four Democrats who helped craft a comprehensive immigration reform package that passed the Senate last year, said he’s encouraged by the principles House Republicans put forward on Thursday as part of their commitment on the issue.
Although House Republicans vowed not to ever take up the legislation Bennet helped craft last year, the document they put out Thursday marked a shift in the GOP’s sudden willingness to consider a pathway to legal status for some undocumented immigrants, something the party’s base adamantly opposes.
“People in Colorado and across the country agree that our immigration system is antiquated and outdated,” Bennet said in a statement. “There are few steps Congress can take that would be more helpful to strengthen our economy than to fix this broken system.
“The Senate passed a bill that secures our borders, puts in place a workable guest visa system, reduces our debt and gives families who came to this country for a better a life a chance to earn citizenship and contribute to the economy and society. It won the support of a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats.
“I’m encouraged that House Republicans are beginning to focus their efforts on how to fix our broken immigration system. I look forward to reviewing their principles to better understand their priorities. As they work toward developing legislation, I urge them to consider the bipartisan Senate bill and to pass it or a comparable bill.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of four Republican members of the “Gang of 8″ that drafted the immigration bill last year, also issued a statement Thursday praising the House GOP outline.
“I applaud Speaker Boehner and the GOP leadership team for proposing common sense principles the House Republican conference can agree on to reform our nation’s immigration system and strengthen security along our borders,” McCain said. “The principles introduced today represent a positive step in the right direction. I am hopeful that the House will complete this work over the next few months. As Speaker Boehner has made clear, the House will move at its own pace and work through its own process, a prerogative I respect and support.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues at the appropriate time to move forward on this important issue.”