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Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte Accused Of Trying To Kill Immigration Bill

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A bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill is now going through committee.
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A bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill is now going through committee.

The immigration reform proposal in the U.S. Senate has garnered the most attention of late, but getting a bill through the House may be more difficult.

At 844 pages, the bipartisan immigration reform bill in the Senate is one of those whoppers that's easy to decry on the campaign trail. You won't be seeing anything like that coming out of the House if Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) gets his way. He wants the Judiciary Committee that he chairs to examine immigration one subsection at a time.

"This process can be long, but it allows every representative and senator to have their constituent s voices heard," Goodlatte says. "And by taking a fine tooth comb through each of the individual issues within the larger immigration debate it will help us get a better bill."

Democrats accuse Goodlatte of slowing the bill down in order to kill reform efforts, but he says his members need time.

Many Democrats say they can't support the bill if it doesn't include a special path to citizenship, which Goodlatte opposes. But even a moderate Republican like Virginia's Scott Rigell says he hasn't been convinced yet.

"It's just difficult for me to reconcile the idea of someone who did come here illegally and not through the proper channels. We are a very welcoming and inviting country. We have a very great track record with this, I think stronger than any country in the world by far. But to lead to citizenship and voting is something I'm working through."

And Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) says it's time to pass immigration reform, but he says he's still got a lot of unanswered questions.

"The key is always going to be in the details," Wittman says. "You know, what's the definition of border security? How do you go through a process of assimilation that looks at being fair and thoughtful to the folks that have pursued the process the way they re supposed to? What do we do with the aspect of folks who overstayed their visa or are here illegally?"

With so many House Republicans still wrestling with the nuances of immigration reform, it seems like there s agreement on only one thing in the lower chamber: there s not going to be a speedy resolution anytime soon.

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