After walking away from the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform talks, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, released two bills that seek to expand legal immigration and keep temporary workers on the job.
“Our immigrations system isn’t just one big problem; it presents dozens of challenges,” Lee, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, said in a statement. “The good news is that we have bipartisan support for how to fix many of the problems. I don’t believe we should delay progress in these areas just because we have differences in a few others.”
Lee withdrew from the Gang of Eight talks that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., ultimately embraced. “The senator does not see how it’s possible, under this framework, to implement it in a way that doesn’t give incremental benefits to those [illegal immigrants] who are here,” spokesman Brian Phillips told The Washington Examiner today.
This piecemeal approach turns the tables on President Obama by using favorite fiscal cliff negotiation tactic against him. Obama is now in the position of demanding the kind of controversial, comprehensive bill on immigration that he rejected during the tax fight. “Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away,” he said during the State of the Union address last night.