BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
As the U.S. House of Representatives continues to debate and structure a counterpart immigration reform bill to the version recently passed by the U.S. Senate with broad support, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe says he is tapping into his district's Hispanic leadership for direction.
Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, told reporters in a news media conference call on Thursday that he is spending considerable time researching the best-possible solutions for the nation's immigrants.
"The immigration bill I see coming out of the House, it will not be the Senate bill," he said, referring to that bill as having been a "1,200-page monstrosity."
Instead, Roe said his recent discussions with constituents and Hispanic leaders (including business people, teachers and entrepreneurs) has led him to seek a short bill that highlights the following needs:
* verifiable border security;
* an electronic verification system;
* a visa tracking system;
* consideration for those who were brought to the country illegally as very young children; and,
* skills requirements.
Roe will hold a telephone conference with the general public, known as a "Tele-Town Hall Meeting," from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, July 23, to take direct questions and hear input concerning this and other issues currently facing Congress.
To participate, call 1-877-229-8493 during the 6 o'clock hour on Tuesday. The identification code is 19641.
Other items currently on the Rep. Roe's radar included:
* a need to delay the Affordable Care Act's (ACA, or Obamacare) individual mandate to purchase health care, following a presidential delay of the mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees to provide affordable health care;
* concerns over a new "20/20 employees" trend resulting from the ACA, in which Roe said employers are offering jobs for only 20 hours per week, resulting in the need for those so employed to hold down two jobs; and,
* upcoming debate on the proposed reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).