By Matthew S.L. Cate
RINGGOLD, Ga. Congressman Nathan Deal said today that federal-level immigration reform will be very difficult to get out of Congress this year unless the U.S. Senate agrees to toughen enforcement along the U.S-Mexico border.
The Georgia Republican said deciding whether to allow illegal immigrants already in the United States any sort of guest worker privileges should come after its proven the tougher enforcement has stopped the surge of new illegal immigrants.
That becomes the starting point, he said in an interview after a speech before about 150 people at a breakfast meeting at the Colonnade here.
The U.S. House passed legislation in December to boost border enforcement and build a 700-mile fence along the nations southern border.
U.S. Representatives refused any consideration of guest worker language, which could impact the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Now the U.S. Senate is considering its own immigration proposal, including provisions to allow illegal residents a path to citizenship.
Congress is in its Easter recess and will return next week.
E-mail Matthew S.L. Cate at firstname.lastname@example.org
See tomorrows Chattanooga Times Free Press for full coverage.