Democratic Rep. John Delaney and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson agree that highly-skilled immigrants are valuable to the U.S. economy—they just disagree on what to do about it.
As Delaney put it: Democrats prioritize finding a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants while Republicans want to first focus on securing the border.
"We all want every American to have the opportunity to build a good life for themselves and their family," Johnson said. "There's wide disparity in terms of how to provide those types of opportunities, how to achieve that prosperity."
Delaney, a member of the Joint Economic Committee, and Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Tuesday keynoted a National Journal event, "Pathways to Reform: A Discussion on High-Skilled Immigration Policy," underwritten by Qualcomm.
"I agree with so much I heard," said Johnson, who spoke after Delaney, "but there's a heavy disagreement in terms of what the federal government really ought to do."
Echoing the positions of their respective parties, Delaney talked about comprehensive reform and Johnson talked about piecemeal, step-by-step change.
Delaney said he thinks there will eventually be a House version of the 2013 immigration bill passed in the Senate; Johnson said he would argue the "comprehensive bill ... wasn't going to work."