On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, TX Rep. Lamar Smith said the House will take a more deliberate, thoughtful approach to immigration than the Senate. Smith predicted that the House would consider different elements of immigration in separate pieces of legislation, as opposed to one comprehensive bill. Asked if this approach would slow down the process, Smith answered, “I’d rather be slow if that gets it right.”
The call was sponsored by organizers of a new coalition of conservatives opposed to the Senate “Gang of 8″ amnesty bill, currently under consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Smith said it was “inconceivable” to him that the Senate would be considering “a massive amnesty bill that doesn’t ensure the border is secure.”
Smith said the Senate bill contained “no deadlines” for border security and, as such, “is an open invitation for millions to come into this country.” Smith doesn’t believe there will be the 60 votes needed for Senate passage if the border provisions aren’t tightened.
The House Judiciary Committee, of which Smith is a member, is beginning work on several pieces of legislation dealing with individual aspects of the immigration system. Smith said these bills could ultimately be packaged into one bill on the House floor, but the committee’s work will be a piecemeal approach, to ensure each issue is carefully considered.
Asked how competing House and Senate bills would be reconciled if each chamber passed legislation, Smith demurred. “Well, that’s a long way off.”