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Tags: Immigration reform | GOP | illegals | border security

Judd Gregg: Here's a 4-Step Immigration Plan to Counter Obama

Judd Gregg: Here's a 4-Step Immigration Plan to Counter Obama
Judd Gregg. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 17 November 2014 10:23 AM EST

Executive action by President Barack Obama on immigration would be an abuse of power and a violation of the rule of law, but Republicans must develop a comprehensive plan to address the issue as soon as the next session of Congress convenes, said Judd Gregg.

In a column for The Hill, the former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire said that the GOP has so far not come up with a solution to the immigration problem, relying instead on rhetoric.

"If the rumors of the president's intentions prove true, the outrage of his opponents would be legitimate. But their proposed responses would amount to the self-immolation of the GOP," Gregg wrote.

"In fact, the entire effort of Republicans on the issue of immigration reform has been fairly self destructive so far, with the exception of the McCain-Schumer bill that passed the Senate in 2013 and then disappeared in the House.

"All we hear from the pundits and shouters is 'No amnesty, No way.' This is not really a policy, more a jingoistic slogan."

Gregg said the GOP should not attempt to pass one large comprehensive bill but instead break it down into parts. He outlines four specific bills the party should pass as an alternative to the president's plans.

The first bill, he says, should focus on securing the borders with more resources and new enforcement powers for border patrol.

"It should have goals that can be measured, thus enabling accountability. Send this to the president, let him veto it if he wants," he wrote.

The second, Gregg says Congress should expand the H-1B program which would welcome more highly skilled immigrants to the country to boost the productivity and competitiveness of the economy.

The third bill should penalize employers who hire and exploit illegal immigrants, he said.

"If the president has by then acted unilaterally and issued an executive order legalizing illegal immigrants, that would be extra-judicial. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would then have every right to bring these three bills to the floor, fill the tree (as outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did so often) and put them through without amendments," Gregg wrote.

"If the president has not acted by then, Senate Republicans should take the bills up anyway and pass them in the regular process. It would be a good way to begin the year."

Gregg said a fourth bill would address the issue of how to handle the immigrants who are in the United States illegally, perhaps the most difficult element to reform.

He said that with estimates of as many as 15 illegal immigrants in the country, it would be impractical to pursue deportation.

"The best way to handle this issue is for the Republican Congress to pass a bill that creates a new status. It cannot be a status which leads to full U.S. citizenship," he said.

Gregg supports an idea that has been floated of giving illegal immigrants a "blue card." To qualify, a person would have to be in the country for at least five years, have a clean criminal record, and not be receiving public entitlements.

Recipients would also need to perform community service for entering the country illegally and also make an effort to learn English.

"This is the politically thoughtful, adult and effective way to deal with the president should he issue such a rogue order," Gregg said. "It is also the best way to deal with the immigration issue, an issue the GOP must put to bed under any scenario."

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Judd Gregg, writing in The Hill, outlines four specific immigration reform bills the Republic Party should pass as an alternative to the president's plans for mass amnesty.
Immigration reform, GOP, illegals, border security
Monday, 17 November 2014 10:23 AM
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