Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., is standing firmly against the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill because he believes it forces immigrants to become American citizens against their will.
After a town hall meeting on Friday, Scalise told ThinkProgress in an interview that many immigrants only want to work in the U.S.
“There are a lot of people who come here, just want to work and go back home and not be a legal citizen that the Senate bill would actually force onto an amnesty track,” Scalise said. “If you look at the 1986 law, 40 percent that were eligible for amnesty chose not to go that route because they just wanted to work and go back home. And yet the Senate bill would force them to become American citizens and that’s not even what they want.”
The Senate bill doesn't automatically give 11.7 million undocumented immigrants citizenship. In fact, according to ThinkProgress, the path to citizenship is difficult to navigate.
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Democratic lawmakers have argued not for citizenship but to put an end to mass deportation.
“It's crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) wrote on his Facebook page earlier this month. “They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America.”
Schumer has been at the forefront of immigration reform in the Senate, sponsoring the bill last summer.
“The choice is clear; a reform bill has the support of liberals, moderates, and conservatives and all we need is the courage of the Republican leadership to make the right and obvious choice,” he added.”