Comprehensive immigration reform needs to be done comprehensively, says Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The time is now,” Villaraigosa said on Jansing & Co. “We can’t wait another political season and we can’t do a piecemeal approach.”
President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly on an ambitious immigration system overhaul. According to The New York Times, the White House will propose the changes in one bill rather than breaking up the legislation into four or five smaller bills–an idea supported by Republicans including Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Villaraigosa, the former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has been outspoken in his calls for comprehensive immigration reform. In addition to speaking on the subject at the National Press Club on Monday, he also wrote an opinion piece describing his six pillars to immigration reform for Politico.
“We’ve gotta have a pathway to citizenship,” Villaraigosa said to Chris Jansing. “Yes, you have to get at the end of the line. Yes, you get a background check. Yes, you have to pay taxes and learn English. But at the end you gotta have a pathway that makes you a part of the American fabric and a part of the citizenship of this nation.”
When asked about Sen. Rubio’s criticism that the President’s pre-election policy change to stop the deportation of young immigrants “poisoned the well for people” on immigration reform, Villaraigosa blamed the GOP.
“I don’t want to get partisan here, but if anyone has poisoned the well, it’s been the Republicans who talked for the longest time about the self-deportation of 11 million people,” Villaraigosa said. “I think we’ve gotta get away from the polarizing rhetoric and the blame game. Let’s work together and let’s get this done.”