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Labrador on piece-by-piece immigration reform: ‘If we don’t do it this way, it’s never going to get done’

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has his STEM jobs act up for a vote again in the House today, after it failed in a September House vote; he was interviewed by NPR's Renee Montagne about it this morning. The bill would replace the current diversity visa program, which grants 55,000 immigration visas a year through a lottery, with one targeting those completing post-graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or math fields. “The diversity visa doesn't make any sense for the United States for the problems that we have today,” Labrador told Montagne. “We need high-skilled workers.”

Labrador said President Obama has come out against his bill “because it is not part of a comprehensive immigration reform plan.” He said, “If we do a comprehensive package, what you're going to have is a bill that every single member of Congress hates a certain aspect of it, and no one is going to vote for it. Let's start with the easiest thing first. … If we don't do it this way, it's never going to get done.”

Montagne asked Labrador about the Dream Act, which would allow young people brought illegally to the country as children a way to stay legally in certain circumstances, and Labrador said, “That should be the next thing we work on.” You can listen to the interview here, and read more here on today's vote from the Washington Post, which reports that the bill is likely to pass the GOP-controlled House, but not be taken up in the Senate.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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