Sanford: Immigration bill with ‘pathway to citizenship’ likely

cconley@islandpacket.comJuly 16, 2013 

US Rep. Mark Sanford

TOM GRALISH/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — MCT

— U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford thinks Congress ultimately will pass an immigration reform bill that contains a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers already in the United States.

Although the U.S. House likely won’t take up the entire bill that passed the U.S. Senate, Sanford said the House probably will pass “micro bills that are palatable to the body,” dealing with individual provisions such as high-tech workers and agricultural workers.

But once House and Senate members get together to meld the competing bills into one, Sanford said the pathway to citizenship contained in the Senate version likely will remain, regardless of opposition from conservative congressmen.

“Once it leaves the House, I think it will be the Senate side that prevails,” Sanford said Monday, adding he supports a path to citizenship after U.S. borders have been secured.

Sanford, who won a special election for a seat in the U.S. House in May, spoke to reporters outside the weekly meeting of the Sunset Rotary of Hilton Head Island.

During a quick interview outside the event, Sanford said he was optimistic Congress would adopt legislation that reduces the interest rate on student loans from its current 6.8 percent. The rate doubled July 1 after competing proposals to reduce the rate from its current level failed.

The Republican-controlled House’s student-loan fix calls for rates to float based on the 10-year Treasury note. The Democratic-controlled Senate wants rates to be capped for the life of a loan.

“... At the end of the day, I think the Senate and White House perspective prevails, so you will see something locked in in terms of rates,” Sanford said.

He declined to comment on whether a date has been set for a wedding to his fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur, of Argentina. “I am not going to make news here today,” he said.

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