Stewart Tells Utah Legislature Immigration Reform Isn’t Happening

Congressman Chris Stewart speaks to the State Legislature. photo credit: KUER
Congressman Chris Stewart speaks to the State Legislature. photo credit: KUER

Immigration reform seems less than likely according to Republican Congressman Chris Stewart. Stewart addressed the State House and Senate on Tuesday to give a briefing on the status of Congress, and presented a dreary image of the future of immigration reform.

“There has been so much distrust between the executive and Congress now that many of us don’t believe any longer the president will enforce the laws we give him,” Stewart said, echoing a talking point floated by Speaker John Boehner last week, after the Speaker was unable to rally enough Republican votes in Congress to move one direction or another on immigration reform.

Immigration reform has been a hot topic in Congress for the last few years, as the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a fully comprehensive reform bill that creates a decade-long path to citizenship for undocumented workers already living in the United States. House Republicans have been split on the issue, with some demanding deportation measures of all illegal immigrants,while others support the path to citizenship, and still others who support legalizing the immigrants but not letting them obtain full citizenship.

The issue has grown to a near-critical level for congressional Republicans, as Hispanic voters are the fastest growing base of voters nationwide.

But still, says Stewart, that isn’t the only thing he and his colleagues are paying attention to. Stewart says that three significant events of 2013—the October Government Shutdown, the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and the recent budget agreement passed by Congress—are a sign of things to come.  “I think these three things have brought us to a position that will make the Federal government work differently and work better than it has in the over last few years,” said Stewart.

The freshman congressman from Utah’s 2nd district, which extends from Salt Lake City to St. George along the western-border of the state, also took an opportunity to take a shot at Obamacare. “This law is hurting the American people and working families,” said Stewart. He also predicted that President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law will be the primary issue of the midterm elections in 2016.

Stewart said that his priorities in Congress lay in are reducing the debt and balancing the budget. He also said he believes that most decisions should be made in the state, rather than in the halls of Congress, most notably the issue of Utah air quality. “We are the ones who breathe the air, and the assumption should be that we are the one who can make the best decisions,” said Stewart.

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