Policy: Economy

Bobby Jindal: GOP shouldn't wait to pass immigration reform

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Republicans shouldn't wait to pass immigration reform legislation, says Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's conservative Republican governor and possible 2016 president candidate.

Speaking with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday morning, Jindal argued that the GOP is better off working on an immigration overhaul now, rather than waiting until after the 2014 elections in order to maintain focus on the unpopularity of Obamacare.

Jindal said that "there are folks in the Republican Party that would tell you the president is doing so poorly right now in the polls, especially with the flawed implementation and the design of the Affordable Care Act, of 'Obamacare,' [that] we should just stay out of his way and run 2014 as a referendum on that."

"I'm not one of those people," Jindal added.

Republicans in office were elected to solve problems, he said, and that includes addressing the country's immigration system, which he described as "completely backwards," along with replacing Obamacare and expanding the economy.

If the GOP does have a chance to act on immigration reform, Jindal argued, "I think we should do it because it's the right thing to do for the country" -- not because of political pressures.

Jindal explained that increased legal immigration boosts the economy by allowing the "best and brightest" educated in the U.S. to stay, rather than being kicked out and going on to compete with Americans. He also noted that he is the son of immigrants. His parents came to the U.S. from India.

But the two-term governor also stipulated that "we need to secure the border first" in any overhaul of immigration policy, and faulted President Obama for being unserious about securing the border. That is a major sticking point for many members of the House Republican conference.

"The American people are skeptical. We’ve seen this play before, we remember what happened in the ‘80s," said Jindal, referencing the 1986 reform law that gave legal status to millions of immigrants.

House Republican leadership outlined a plan for reviving the push for immigration reform this year at a GOP retreat in Maryland last week.

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