U.S. Rep. Ron Kind unveils plan to reopen government, create immigration reform

A Wisconsin congressman has announced his plan to reopen the government. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said it would strengthen border security without using taxpayer money.

On Tuesday, day 32 of the partial government shutdown, Kind unveiled his plan at La Crosse Regional Airport. Kind said his plan would address some of President Donald Trump’s sticking points while creating comprehensive immigration reform.

“We think we’ve put together some good ideas that we’re going to try to sell to leadership on both sides, including the president,” Kind said.

After reopening the government, Kind is calling for a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who do not have a violent criminal record. Those already in the U.S. would be fined $2,000 each, along with other requirements to become a citizen.

“You can raise, just through the fines alone, over $24 billion,” Kind said.

The president’s proposal includes $5.7 billion for a border wall and a three-year extension on protections for DACA recipients.

“To reject this proposal, Democrats would have to prioritize political combat with the president ahead of federal workers, ahead of DACA recipients, ahead of border security and ahead of stable and predictable government funding,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY.

But Kind said the money generated with his plan could also be used to repair and build new parts of the wall while also using technology to secure the border.

“(Such as) machines now that can scan cars and trucks crossing the border for smuggling people and especially drugs,” Kind said.

Through this plan, Representative Kind is also looking to reform the current visa process. According to the nonpartisan think tank Center for Migration Studies, people who overstay their visas accounted for 42 percent of the total undocumented population in 2017. Kind said officials need to do a better job at tracking these visas.

But McConnell says votes will be held this week for President Trump’s latest proposal.

“What the president wants is very clear. He wants an open government and he wants a secure border. His plan does that. We hope they vote on it,” said Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary for the White House.

Kind hopes leaders will instead consider his plan to address not only the budget and a wall but long-term immigration reform. He said Congress is feeling the pressure from constituents to make a deal before funding starts to run out, and might be willing to negotiate.

“We’re trying to find some win-win scenarios by going big on comprehensive immigration reform. We know we have a broken immigration system. We know we’ve needed to fix it for quite some time. We’re trying to touch all the bases to do that in one comprehensive way,” Kind said.

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