(CNSNews.com) - In a speech at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that Congress and the Hispanic community share a commitment to finding a way to fix the country’s broken immigration system.
He said the House will debate and vote on immigration legislation next week.
“Before I begin, I want to talk about a commitment I know we all share, and that is finding a way to fix our broken immigration system. In the House, we have brought together lawmakers from across the spectrum, moderates and conservatives, to find a path forward. As a result, we will have a debate and votes on the House floor next week.
“My goal has always been a lasting solution, to address our security challenges, and to address the DACA program so we don’t have another problem five, 10 years down the line. Next week’s votes are an important step, and I want to thank you for your leadership. Your voice plays a critical role in this discussion,” he said.
Paul’s speech also took place on the one-year anniversary of the shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, where Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was critically injured.
“Now I am also glad that this morning is very different from the morning we had a year ago on this day,” Ryan said. He recalled being on the phone with Scalise’s wife Jennifer at the same time last year.
“Her husband, my dear friend, had just been shot on a ball field across the bridge in Alexandria. That is about as much as we knew. We didn’t know how bad it was yet. We certainly didn’t know that Steve had such a long fight ahead of him,” Ryan said.
“There is one thing from that time I remember so vividly. No matter where I went, the first thing people would say to me was always, ‘How’s Steve Scalise? How’s his family? How are his kids? Please tell them we’re praying for them.’ I know many of those prayers came from the people in this room. I am glad I have this chance to thank you on Steve’s behalf. Our prayers were answered. Thank you,” he said.
Ryan said that tragedy should remind people of what truly matters and make them realize how much they have to be thankful for.
“We have this precious gift of life God has given us. Gatherings like this make us grateful too, grateful for fellowship and compassion. It’s not always easy to be thankful, is it? We tend to wake up thinking about what we don’t have, what we haven’t figured out, but every day we have this beautiful opportunity to give thanks,” the speaker said.
“A grateful heart can do so much. When things are getting away from us, it can slow us down to reflect. At our wit’s end, it can take us back to the start. In the trenches, it can counsel us to respond with kindness instead of in kind. God gives us peace. He gives us a sense of wonder. He gives us the capacity to love unconditionally,” he added.
At the core of the freedom we have in the United States is religious freedom, Ryan said.
“Whether we are Republican or Democrat or independent, it does not matter. We should all want our faith-based organizations to have the maximum freedom to carry out their missions…whether it is changing lives ravaged by opioids, empowering people to find a steady job, or building charter schools so more children can get a decent education,” he said.
Ryan said when he announced his retirement, the media talked about what he what he was giving up instead of what he was gaining, specifically the chance to spend quality time with his kids.