Ex-Gang of Eight Member: Window Closing For Passing Immigration Bill

By Barbara Hollingsworth | September 9, 2013 | 1:42 PM EDT

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Former Gang of Eight member Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) predicted that unfolding events in Syria and the upcoming debate over the national debt ceiling will force immigration reform off Congress’ priority list this year and possibly next year as well.

“I think we have the situation in Syria, we have the monetary situation, we have the situation with what’s called the debt ceiling, which is the ceiling of the debt that we have in the United States. All these things are now coming forward. They are the things that we have to do immediately, right now.

"And unfortunately, I think that is going to delay the immigration debate a little,” Labrador said in a Spanish-language interview on Univision’s “Al Punto with Jorge Ramos” show Sunday.

When Ramos asked him whether “that means that “immigration reform in 2013 may not happen?” Labrador replied: “…if we don’t do it now, in 2013, it’s not going to be—it’s not going to happen in 2014. And that means that we’re going to have to wait until 2015. So now, that time is—it’s becoming a lot shorter. We don’t know exactly when we’re going to be able to have this debate.

"A lot of us thought that the debate was going to be in October, but now, with the problems that we’re having internationally and also here in this country, I don’t see how we’re going to be able to have this debate until—until November. And I really don’t know if it will be possible to do it in November.”

Labrador added that he doesn’t think the House would pass immigration reform if it comes up before then anyway.

The Latino Republican quit the Gang of Eight in June, he said, because Democrats were not keeping their part of the deal.

“Many of the Democrats started to say that they were not going to comply with the agreements they had [with Republicans] before regarding insurance, medication coverage, for example, and many other things about which they had agreements…”

Labrador added that he supports giving the estimated 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the U.S. “the same opportunity that we now give to any person who enters the States legally.

“If they enter the United States through legal means, they can become citizens by—in two ways: Either through their family, or through their job. And what I would do is that I would give that same opportunity to the 11 million who are here, so that they could work it out through those two paths, but without making a—a special route or a special path for them that wouldn’t be available for other people who enter the United States legally.”