|May 6, 2013
Last week, First District Congressman Paul Ryan held eight listening sessions throughout Southern Wisconsin to talk with local residents about the federal budget, immigration reform, and other pressing issues before Congress. A recap of the sessions follows:
- Channel3000.com: Ryan holds listening sessions with constituents
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was in Rock County on Monday for one of his first appearances since the November election. He spoke to about 100 constituents at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, taking questions about everything from sequester cuts to an Internet privacy bill. Ryan used his trademark Powerpoint presentation to discuss issues with the crowd, which largely included immigration reform.
"What I get out of these listening sessions is what is on the top of the minds of the people I represent," said Ryan. "There were a lot of questions about how does immigration reform work? What do you do about the undocumented? How do you secure the border? And those kind of questions tell me that's what's on the forefront of people's minds."
- Kenosha News: Ryan stresses wide gates, high fences regarding immigration reform
Ryan’s preferred approach is a system in which U.S. borders are sealed to keep out future undocumented immigrants, and those who have already come to make a living — those Ryan calls “economic immigrants” — have a long path to legal status, involving a probationary period that would last years. Coming to America to work hard and make a better life is part of America’s melting pot story, and a part of Ryan’s own family story, the congressman noted.
- Associated Press: Paul Ryan touts immigration reform in series of town halls
Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, said that immigration reform is “long overdue.”
“We want effective, enduring reform so we don’t have another undocumented population 10 years from now,” he told a crowd in Burlington. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has proposed legislation that would give those in the U.S. illegally a 13-year path to citizenship.
Ryan said that deal must secure the border, employ a system to verify a person’s identity when they get hired, create a workable system for legal immigrants, and create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million U.S. residents who don’t currently have legal status.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ryan defends softened approach to immigration
Ryan has plunged into the fray, using his stature with conservatives to promote a sweeping bipartisan compromise in Congress.
In eight "town hall" meetings over four days last week, he took the issue directly to his southern Wisconsin district, carving out large chunks of time to argue for a package of reforms that divides his own party. The most controversial among them: an eventual path to citizenship for many of the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
"They go to the back of the line. They acknowledge that they broke the law. They pay the fine. They learn English," is how Ryan described the policy at one listening session, calling it a "non-amnesty way . . . of getting people out of the shadows."