Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan outlined the Republican strategy to tackle immigration reform during a conversation with members from San Antonio’s four chambers of commerce Thursday.
"We've got to make sure that national security is maintained. We've got to make sure that interior enforcement is maintained, and we've also got to make sure that the person who came and did everything right the first way, we want to respect that person most of all,” Ryan said. “(Both parties) have been trying to fix the immigration laws since 2006 and we've been fighting each other over how to do that.”
Instead of taking up the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, Ryan said Republicans in the House will try to piece reform together through a series of bills.
"It will be a step-by-step approach so that members of Congress know what they're voting on and so the public knows what they’re voting on," the former vice presidential candidate said.
Rep. Joaquin Castro disagrees with that approach, but said Democrats will keep an open mind.
“"We believe that this should all be put into one comprehensive bill because each of the parts affects the other parts," Castro said.
The event was moderated by Texas Tribune Editor Evan Smith and held at the Westin Hotel.
Members from the San Antonio, San Antonio Hispanic, North San Antonio, and South San Antonio Chambers of Commerce were in attendance.
President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Ramiro Cavasos said immigration reform is vital to the city’s economy, and both parties will benefit if a compromise is reached.
“They both need it for their own credibility,” Cavasos said. “This has been working for 30 years and is something that is really long overdue."